2017 Spring Newsletter



Spring 2017

The snow currently blanketing Walden Woods makes it hard to believe that Spring is here. As we end another season and prepare for the next we want to thank our dedicated friends and supporters for helping our organization continue to reach key milestones in the protection and preservation of Thoreau’s land and legacy. We appreciate and rely on your generosity to protect Walden Woods and educate a new generation of environmental stewards. If you are interested in making a contribution, please go to our website.

As we move forward in Thoreau’s Bicentennial year, The Walden Woods Project is offering a number of commemorative programs and events.  These include a statewide reading of Thoreau’s works and the presentation of Clear Sky, Pure Light, a one man play about Thoreau that will be performed by Christopher Childs this coming May.  Tickets to the play are available now at the early bird discounted rate.  Details about the performance and purchasing tickets can be found HERE.

In addition to information about our Bicentennial activities, the newsletter includes content about some of our current activities:

  • Later this month, we will be welcoming a group of students from Germany to our campus in Walden Woods;
  • We have begun the process of transitioning to renewable energy for our headquarters

in Lincoln, MA;

  • We recently completed a successful fundraising campaign with the Charity Network.

We look forward to providing you with periodic updates on our initiatives. Thank you for your interest and support.


The Walden Woods Project


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The Walden Woods Project preserves the land, literature and legacy of Henry David Thoreau to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Join our mailing list and get all the latest information, as well as invitations to our important events


This year marks the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth. The Walden Woods Project is celebrating his Bicentennial with a variety of special programs, performances, lectures, outings, and collaborations throughout the year, and we hope that you find some opportunities to commemorate this important event with us.

Thoreau’s Bicentennial encourages us to reflect on the many ways in which he inspires us in our daily lives, and the ways in which his philosophy and writing helped shape thinking around the world on topics ranging from environmental protection and our relationship to the natural world, to social justice and reform. Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond became a model of deliberate and ethical living, and today inspires millions who seek solutions to critical environmental and societal challenges.

The new Visitor Center at Walden Pond State Reservation will open its exhibit space this summer and we are excited to be contributing a welcome video that was executive-produced by Ken Burns. Our interactive exhibit “Where’s Your Walden?” will engage visitors in identifying and sharing their own personal Waldens, wherever they may be in the world.

The Walden Woods Project is offering many opportunities, in Lincoln and beyond, to celebrate Thoreau’s Bicentennial. A full listing of programs is available at walden.org/bicentennial. We are also working with more than a dozen Concord-area organizations to coordinate a Thoreau Bicentennial website (thoreaubicentennial.org). Here, organizations and individuals can post Bicentennial-related events, and find resources about Thoreau, his life and his work.

We hope that you will connect with us on line or in person throughout the year, and enjoy celebrating the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau!

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It is our honor to welcome actor, author and activist Christopher Childs back to the Concord area to reprise his one-man, two-act play Clear Sky, Pure Light: An Evening with Henry David Thoreau.

Childs, who portrays Henry David Thoreau in the play, will offer two performances of Clear Sky, Pure Light as a benefit for The Walden Woods Project (Saturday, May 20, at 7 PM and Sunday, May 21, at 2 PM at The Walden Woods Project). Early Bird tickets are just $20 through March 31! Starting April 1, tickets will be $25. VIP tickets that include a wine and cheese reception with Childs after the show are also available for $40.

The show opened in Concord in July 1975 — three months into the nation’s Bicentennial celebration. The response to Childs’ dramatic portrait was immediate and enthusiastic: Concord critic Rebecca Ruggles acclaimed it as “a thoughtful and dignified production” that seemed less a performance than “an intimate talk.” It was, she concluded, “as if Thoreau had come back for a day to tell us a few of the things he thought most important.” The May performances will mark the first time in just over twenty years that Childs has presented the play in its entirety and with full costume and makeup.

Drawn from Thoreau’s books, Journal and personal correspondence, the show presents Thoreau as a multifaceted individualist. It captures him in light moments as well as serious ones, and is revelatory of the private as well as the public man.

About reviving the production, Childs said, “After twenty years, Clear Sky, Pure Light still seems to have its own special corner of my memory banks. I’ve been enjoying bringing Thoreau’s words back to the front of my mind; reprising the extensive original makeup may be more of a challenge than remembering the lines. It feels quite wonderful to have the chance to speak those passages again.”

We hope you will join us to welcome Childs back to the stage and, with him, our beloved Henry.

To find out more and to purchase tickets, visit walden.org/bicentennial/clear-sky- pure-light.

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The United States Postal Service ® has announced that it will release a Henry David Thoreau Commemorative Forever ® Stamp in 2017 to celebrate the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth.

The following statement from the USPS accompanied the public notification about the Thoreau stamp:

With his personal example of simple living, his criticism of materialism and the questions he raises about the place of the individual in society and humanity’s role in the natural world, Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) continues to inspire readers. For 26 months,Thoreau lived in a one-room house on a lake just outside his hometown of Concord, MA, writing prolifically while farming, reading, thinking, taking long walks and observing nature around him. Walden, the 1854 book he wrote about his experience, still holds the attention of readers by blending elements of numerous genres to create a complex, eclectic and unique work. Art director Greg Breeding designed this stamp with original art by Sam Weber.

The Walden Woods Project is delighted with this recognition of Thoreau’s literary and philosophical contributions and their relevance to key issues of our time.

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As Massachusetts considers Henry David Thoreau to be one of its own homegrown heroes, it’s only right that we get the entire state involved in the celebration of his 200th birthday. And we mean the entire state.

The Walden Woods Project is working with the University of Massachusetts Lowell Honors College, the Mass Center for the Book, and the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area to present the Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read. We hope to have every town or city in Massachusetts participate by coordinating at least one event in 2017 that brings community members together to read a work by Thoreau.

In the spirit of self-determination championed by Thoreau, the coordinators of each event can choose when in 2017 they want to carry out their Read; how they want to implement it; and which Thoreau piece they will read. Over 60% of Massachusetts’ towns currently have events either confirmed or in-progress. It has been wonderful to work with libraries, non-profit organizations, schools, parks (including the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation), bookstores and other community-based organizations across the state that want to honor the many facets of Thoreau’s legacy.

The first Read event was in our own town of Lincoln at the Lincoln Public Library on January 26, and featured a discussion of Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” by our Curator of Collections, Jeffrey Cramer, followed by a presentation from Jason and Jessica Packineau (Lincoln residents) about their involvement with the Standing Rock water protectors.

To find out what is happening in your community for the Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read or if you are interested in planning an event, please contact our Director of Education, Whitney Retallic, at education@walden.org. You can also visit walden.org/bicentennial/read to learn more and to access Toolkits (one version for libraries and another for schools and other organizations), which provide organizers with a wide range of tools and resources!

The Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read is funded in part by support from the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area.

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The Walden Woods Project has begun its conversion to renewable energy as a power source for its headquarters in Lincoln, MA.

We are purchasing approximately 32,000 kWh that is generated by solar systems on the roofs of moderate and low income residences located in Dedham, Waltham, and Boston, MA. The homeowners are paid a portion of the electricity generated by the project for hosting the solar systems, which covers about 25% to 50% of their electricity bills.

In addition, The Walden Woods Project saves about $750/year on its electricity bill and the 32,000 kWh of solar is the equivalent of offsetting about 25 metric tons/ year of carbon or the carbon sequestered by 23 acres of U.S. Forest: https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator.

The solar systems were installed by local firms, funded by Sunwealth’s community of investors, and are managed by Sunwealth (www.sunwealth.com)

The Walden Woods Project is pursuing options to secure additional renewable energy sources for its headquarters in Walden Woods.

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The Walden Woods Project and Charity Network’s platforms had another successful collaboration last year by raising over $70,000. Charity Network is comprised of Charitybuzz (the leader in online charity auctions) and Prizeo (which provides sweepstakes and unique experience opportunities to its donors) as well as Chideo, whose name combines charity and video.

Prizeo offered meet and greets with Don Henley during his 2016 North America tour, as well as a number of rare items, such as autographed guitars, drumsticks, and a newly designed t-shirt and hat. The limited-edition shirt and hat are now available to Walden Woods Project donors at https://www.walden.org/donate/!

The grand-prize was a walk around Walden Pond with Don Henley. Prizeo’s winning bidder, Charles H. and his son accompanied Don Henley in September 2016 for a walk around the pond to the site where Thoreau’s cabin used to stand.

Charitybuzz auctioned a trip to one of Don Henley’s concerts. Jeanne W. of Florida, was the winner. We welcomed the opportunity to show her around The Walden Woods Project’s headquarters when she happened to be in our area.

A big thank you to the many donors who made these special promotions so successful! We also express our appreciation to Charity Network platforms. Learn more about the Charity Network at www.charitynetwork.com.

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In 2015, we were visited by Dr. Caroline Rosenthal from the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität in Jena, Germany. After learning about our summer teacher institute, Approaching Walden, she wondered whether a similar program could be designed for her graduate-level students. Working with Whitney Retallic, our Director of Education, and Jeffrey Cramer, our Curator of Collections, a program for international students was created. The group (including Dr. Rosenthal and her co-instructor, Dr. Peter Braun, and twelve Master’s and PhD students) will be with us from March 27-31.

Dr. Rosenthal explained her interest this way: “Jena, and the nearby town of Weimar, are the cradle of romantic literature and philosophical thought in Germany. I have been teaching American literature in Jena since 2009. I also grew increasingly interested in transnational relations and in romanticism as a traveling concept. I taught a course on transatlantic romanticism in 2013. In that seminar, we added a practical dimension and let students experience nature not only in texts but in guided field trips, nature tours, walking meditations, and mindfulness exercises. This is when the idea was born to visit The Walden Woods Project with a group of students for a spring school that would deepen their reading experience and knowledge of Thoreau’s ideas, combined with field trips of Walden Woods and landmarks of Concord. The outcome is a reading- and writing-intense week of getting to know Thoreau’s nature writing coupled with experiences of place and space.”

We look forward to hosting Dr. Rosenthal and her students, and will share more about the experience in the future.

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The Walden Woods Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving the land, literature, and legacy of Henry David Thoreau through conservation, education, research and advocacy. Founded by recording artist Don Henley, the Project uses the land it has protected in Walden Woods to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility, both cornerstones of Thoreau’s philosophy. We are located in the heart of Walden Woods.

The Walden Woods Project
44 Baker Farm
Lincoln, MA 01773

We invite you to contact us at (781) 259-4700 or send us an e-mail using our Contact form.

Please consider supporting our mission. Thank you.

The Walden Woods Project
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