Last autumn, at our first writers conference, we set up a table featuring 10 different brands of maple syrup from around New England, New York, and Quebec and encouraged people to pick their favorites. Picture the scene: a too-small table, teetering stacks of paper cups, spilled syrup, and a crowd of happy, sugar-buzzed, smack-talking partisans from different states. In other words, a mess – but a happy mess. We came to no conclusions about which part of the Northeast makes the best syrup, but we did score a photo of the Northern Woodland’s crew and staff alumnus Chuck Wooster, posed with a bottle of Log Cabin’s finest.
This year’s conference will take place over the weekend of October 16-18. The Trust for Public Land is once again our sponsor, and the Aloha Foundation’s Hulbert Outdoor Center is our co-organizer and host. We’ll have some great speakers, including plenary talks by Peter Forbes, David Macaulay, and Bernd Heinrich. The schedule encompasses a range of interests: there will be writing workshops and discussions, a bark identification walk, presentations on black bears and cougars, an outdoor illustration class, a children’s book workshop, and an educator’s panel discussion led by David Sobel. Also on the agenda are good meals, cozy cabins, and s’mores by the fire. Teacher professional development certificates are available. Heck, there’s even an open mic session.
All of this is a lot of fun, but there’s a serious purpose behind it – to encourage more people to talk, write, create art, and otherwise share their interest in forests. I’m inspired by The Trust for Public Land’s “Parks for People” vision, which imagines “a park or natural area within 10 minutes of every person in the country.” Riffing on that language, how great would it be if every person in the Northeast was never more than a couple of hours or a turn of the page away from some expression of why someone cares about forests, and maybe they should, too. You can learn more about the conference by clicking here. And while you’re there, skim through the bears, hawks, and bobcats in our readers’ photo gallery archive. This is a project that we started last December, and it has been steadily growing. Again, the purpose is to connect with a broader audience than we reach with the magazine.
Finally, speaking of galleries, I encourage you to check out the advertisement on page 51 of this issue. Subscribers of this magazine know Adelaide Tyrol as our Outdoor Palette columnist and the illustrator of Virginia Barlow’s articles. She has also, for the past 13 years, contributed illustrations for our weekly Outside Story article series, supported by the Wellborn Ecology Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. Her fall shows include some of that work, as well as her fine art paintings.