2017 Summer Newsletter


Summer 2017

The recent opening of The Farm at Walden Woods for its 10th season means summer has officially arrived! Summer also heralds the beginning of our robust educational  program season. Numerous school groups have visited The Walden Woods Project/Thoreau Institute headquarters in recent weeks. Some have participated in days of service at the farm or in helping eradicate invasive plants on the land we preserve.

In late July, we will host teachers from around the United States for our week-longApproaching Walden professional development program that empowers educators to nurture their students’ sense of place and environmental ethic.We appreciate and rely on your generosity to protect Walden Woods and foster a new generation of environmental stewards.

As we celebrate the Bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth, we hope you will consider making a special Thoreau Bicentennial contribution.  We can think of no better way to honor one of America’s greatest writers than to support the perpetuation of his environmental and social reform legacy and to protect his historic woods for the education and enjoyment of future generations. 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.  A new film about Thoreau, executive produced by Ken Burns, will be shown at the Walden Pond Visitors Center. We are also looking forward to joining the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation in celebrating Thoreau’s 200th birthday at Walden Pond with a broad spectrum of activities for all ages. Lastly, we continue to progress with our bicentennial statewide read!

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



The Walden Woods Project is working with Ewers Brothers Productions on an exciting new film that will be shown at the Walden Pond Visitor Center.  The acclaimed documentary film-maker Ken Burns is the executive producer.  The film will focus on the life and legacy of Henry David Thoreau, his time at Walden and the continuing influence of his writings and philosophy on modern day environmental and social reform issues.  Among those interviewed for the film were Walden Woods Project founder Don Henley, historians David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin and the eminent biologist E.O. Wilson.

The film will premiere at the Walden Pond Visitor Center on August 2nd during a public event celebrating the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth (July 12, 1817).  It will continue to be shown during the hours that the Visitor Center is open to the public.

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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, together with The Walden Woods Project/Friends of Walden Pond,
invite you to

915 Walden Street, Concord, MA 01742

12:00pm-2:00pm, at the Thoreau House Replica near the main parking lot
Henry David Thoreau was known to have grown the finest watermelons in Concord. Every year, he shared his harvest with friends and family. As we continue this tradition, enjoy a slice of melon with historian Richard Smith who will portray Thoreau at the Thoreau house replica.

2:15pm to 3:15pm in the Walden Pond Visitor Center
The flute duets from the Thoreau Family Flute Book were discovered in Orchard House in Concord MA in 1985. The flute books were passed down by the father to his son Henry David Thoreau, and seem to have been used by Henry to press his leaf collection. Please join us in Walden’s new LEED Gold Certified Visitor Center for selections of songs that the Thoreau family played, performed for Henry’s birthday by flutists Judy Braude and Tricia Craig.

3:30pm to 5:00pm on the grass overlooking the pond 
Enjoy a view of Walden Pond as selections from Henry David Thoreau’s timeless classic Walden are read aloud.  Words written in the nineteenth century that many find relevant today, will be heard in the landscape that inspired Thoreau.
Would you like to do a reading?  Each reader will read two pages from the chapters “Where I Lived and What I lived for,” “Winter Animals,” and the last six paragraphs of “Conclusion” in Walden.  Please email Jennifer Ingram at jennifer.ingram@state.ma.us

Open 10:00am to 5:00pm
Visit the new, earth-friendly visitor center at Walden Pond. Hear about the future exhibits featuring the legacy of Henry David Thoreau and get a tour of the energy efficient building from a park interpreter. The building is expected to receive Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold certification, a green building rating program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. View a trailer for the upcoming “Walden” film being executive-produced by Ken Burns, and peruse Henry David Thoreau’s daily journal entry. All ages are welcome! Pop in anytime during the 7-hour window.

10:00am to 12:00 pm
Get a snapshot of the changing times that Henry David Thoreau lived in. View historically accurate American flags on display with the number of stars, representing the states in the union at milestones of Thoreau’s life. 1817 when Thoreau was born, 1845 when Thoreau moved to Walden pond, and 1862 when Thoreau died. Enjoy an ongoing small scale flag making activity for children and families, and learning about American history.

All programs are free and open to the public. There is an $8.00 parking fee for MA plates, $10.00 for non-MA plates.  An adult must accompany children. To protect the resource, the Walden Pond State Reservation has a visitor capacity. Visitors are advised to call ahead (978) 369-3254, or check Twitter at @waldenpondstate before planning a trip or attending a program. 

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The Farm at Walden Woods opened for its tenth season on June 23rd. We enjoyed seeing lots of familiar faces and many new ones on our busiest opening weekend yet!

The spring and early summer brought a lot of rain and cool weather and delayed our start to the farm season. While the rain was a welcomed relief from a long drought, it prevented us from moving forward with tilling and planting on a normal schedule. However, with the help of an energetic crew we are rapidly catching up.  This was the first season we were able to sell our delicious organic strawberries.  We have added new varieties of tomatoes to our roster-more cherry tomatoes and a few smaller heirloom tomatoes. We are excited to be selling local peaches again this year and should have them in stock within two weeks. Stop by the farm stand to try them out!

We are continuing to grow organic beets, carrots, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, leeks, garlic, peppers, eggplant, peas, kale, chard, lettuce, and much more. We will also continue to sell local honey, cheese, eggs, milk, maple syrup, jams, pickles and beef jerky. You can find us on Route 2 eastbound in Concord after the Sudbury Road lights. We are open Wednesdays – Fridays 11:00 am – 7:00 pm and Saturdays – Sundays 10:00 am – 6:00 pm until the end of October. We will also be open on all Monday holidays from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you!

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On Tuesday, May 23, 2017 the United States Postal Service held the Henry David Thoreau Commemorative Forever ® Stamp First-Day-of-Issue Dedication Ceremony at the Walden Pond State Reservation Visitor Center. Walden Woods Project Board Member Ed Begley Jr was one of the speakers at the event, as well as Thomas J. Marshall, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of the United States Postal Service, and Matthew A Beaton, Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Special guests included Mark Thoreau, a distant cousin of Henry David Thoreau, as well as students from the Thoreau School in Concord, MA.

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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On May 20 and 21, Christopher Childs reprised his role as Henry David Thoreau in his one-man play Clear Sky, Pure Light.  Childs received high acclaim from a full audience for both performances.


The Walden Woods Project has teamed up with Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area (Devens, MA), University of Massachusetts Lowell Honors College (Lowell, MA), and Massachusetts Center for the Book (Boston, MA) to plan the Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read, taking place across the state throughout 2017. Our goal is 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.  This is the first Statewide Read in the Commonwealth that will focus on one particular author.

Currently, over 70% of the 351 towns/cities in Massachusetts have either completed their events or have plans in the works.  In most participating towns, the public libraries have been our enthusiastic partners. Additionally, the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation is hosting Read events at some of their state parks with connections to Thoreau (Walden Pond State Reservation, Nickerson State Park, and Mt. Wachusett). Barnes & Noble is hosting Read events in six towns (Bellingham, Braintree, Framingham, Hingham, Saugus, and Walpole), where the events are part of a Bookfair. The proceeds will go to support the work of The Walden Woods Project (see here for more details).  Land Trust organizations, schools (K-12 and college) and other non-profits are also helping to bring Thoreau’s words and ideas to Massachusetts for the Read.

In the spirit of self-determination championed by Thoreau, the coordinators of each town/city’s Read event can choose when in 2017 they want to carry out their Read; how they want to implement their Read (book group, public recitation, lecture, multi-generational activities, etc.); and which Thoreau piece they will read. With that said, to facilitate some shared experience among participants across the state, organizers will provide a brief excerpt from Walden for all participants to read, providing a connecting thread between all Read events across the state.

For more information about the Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read or to learn more about planning a Read event in your community, contact The Walden Woods Project at education@walden.org or visit https://www.walden.org/bicentennial/read.

As Thoreau Bicentennial Read events are confirmed in each town or city, they will be listed—along with other Bicentennial events taking place around the world—here: www.thoreaubicentennial.org.  The Thoreau Bicentennial website is a collaborative effort between more than a dozen organizations and individuals in and around Concord, MA, with an interest in promoting the legacy of Henry David Thoreau.

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The Walden Woods Project recently acquired a draft manuscript leaf from Thoreau’s lecture on “Moonlight.”  Delivered in Leyden Hall in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on October 8th, 1854, it was his first lecture following the publication of Walden earlier that year.

Thoreau had been considering a “Course of Lectures” on the subject, working his way methodically through his journals for relevant passages on the moon, moonlight, and night-walking that he would revise for his lectures. A portion of these draft passages formed the lecture he gave in Plymouth.  Revisiting the idea briefly a few times, he eventually abandoned the project. Extant fragments from this project were posthumously published in 1863 as “Night and Moonlight” and again, edited differently, in 1927 as “The Moon.” Unlike more recent editions of Thoreau’s unfinished projects, such as Faith in a Seed or Wild Fruits, there are not enough extant fragments to understand or re-create with any authority Thoreau’s unfinished projected course of lectures. We must be satisfied with the collection of fragments he left.

On The Walden Woods Project’s leaf Thoreau wrote of his “fear that I have not put duskiness enough into my night & moonlight walks,” going on to say, “Every sentence should contain some twilight or night… The peculiar dusky serenity of the sentences must not allow the hearer to forget that it is evening or night, though I do not warn him of the darkness. Otherwise he will of course presume a daylight atmosphere.”

The uniqueness of the manuscript consists in particular with the note Thoreau wrote to himself on the back, indicating that giving a lecture was something greater than the words read. It was a dramatic performance. He wrote, “If my pages were written in a larger character I would extinguish these lamps and standing by a window read them by the light of the moon alone.”

To see and hear Thoreau read about the moon by the light of the moon – now that would be something! You can view the manuscript at The Walden Woods Project Thoreau Institute Library – e-mail curator@walden.org to set up an appointment!

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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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