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November 19 • 05:38 PM
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"A WALK WITH JOHN BURROUGHS ~ 19th CENTURY NATURE WRITER"


A Springtime Tri-School Arts-in-Education Project


03/30/2012 - "A Walk with John Burroughs" is a unique arts-in-education project which connects students from Margaretville, Andes, and Roxbury Central Schools. Led by teaching artist Richard "Mr. D" Genaro, students will discover their very own local hero: Burroughs, one of the greatest nature writers in American history, was born and raised in Roxbury, Delaware Co.

Working in close collaboration, an eight member teaching team including the teaching artist, classroom teachers, and school librarians will offer the students an opportunity to explore Burroughs' relevance today and to express their own passions about nature and the environment. Following NY State English Language Arts and Theater Arts Learning Standards, class sessions foster genuine excitement about nature and the value of continued reading and research about the natural world. This multi-faceted program will conclude with a staged taping of the students' writings and a class trip to Slabsides, Burroughs' rustic cabin in West Park, Ulster Co.

Concerned citizens of the Catskills, environmental leaders, and educators agree there is a clear need to re-establish interest in Burroughs' legacy. "A Walk with John Burroughs" makes accessible the work of an esteemed environmental leader who has, incredibly, fallen into relative obscurity. Most young people in the area surveyed have limited or no knowledge of John Burroughs and his work.

Genaro has worked closely with Joan Burroughs, the naturalist's great-granddaughter, to craft a very special day for the students upon their class trip to Slabsides. They will tour the cabin, visit Burroughs' beloved celery patches, and observe much other flora and wildlife while hiking one of the many trails found within the approximate 170 acres preserved in his name. One can only imagine that Mr. Burroughs would smile to know that young people, who were among the fans he held most dear in his heart, will be doing exactly what he had in mind when he wrote, "Nature…is only real when you reach out and touch it with your hands."

Genaro says of the project, "When I read Mr. Burroughs' work I find an incredibly entertaining storyteller. He jumps off the page and into my mind and my heart. Many of us often remark of late, with perhaps some reticence, that technology is moving faster and faster. While I value the need, I believe still that among the most sacred moments in life are those of face-to-face human communication. And, I know that the work of John Burroughs is one avenue to such moments. He brings us face-to-face with nature and "A Walk with John Burroughs" will bring all those involved face-to-face with each other."

This program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program administered in Delaware County by The Roxbury Arts Group, Inc.

To learn more about "A Walk with John Burroughs," email richardgenaro@aol.com or phone 845-679-3353; Slabsides, visit www.research.amnh.org/burroughs or phone 845-384-6320 or 212-769-5169; Woodchuck Lodge, visit www.roxburyny.com or phone 845-586-4973.

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