Thoreau Bicentennial Series of Events

by Marilyn Castriotta served as Community Engagement Coordinator at Kestrel Land Trust 2017-2018

The Thoreau Bicentennial ignited and shaped the start of my TerraCorps year of national service, as it was the first project that I undertook for Kestrel Land Trust (KLT), my host site. The significance of this commemorative year and nationwide celebration, coupled with the relevance of this great American naturalist, writer, and social reformer to the unprecedented environmental, social, and political upheaval that we are experiencing in America today, made me especially eager to organize a monthly series in Thoreau’s honor.

Tasked, as KLT’s Community Engagement Coordinator, with connecting people to nature with heartfelt, joyful experiences and programs, I wanted to bring Thoreau’s words and legacy alive with events that were engaging and compelling. This included two woods walks in conservation areas (September and October), a presentation at a library in an under-served community (November), and a visit to a replica of Thoreau’s cabin (December). I, myself, have gained a deeper appreciation for Thoreau through the process of organizing, preparing, and facilitating these four events.

His words still inspire and ring true today as we contend with anthropogenic climate change – “what is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”. Through survey comments received, it is my sense that the fifty nine people who participated in the Thoreau Bicentennial series of events feel more attentive to the natural world and more compelled to speak a “word of nature”, much needed in today’s current environmental conditions.