Woodstock celebrates the 150th anniversary of “Man and Nature.”

vermontThe October Country Inn provides hospitality and lodging to residents of other states and countries that travel to Vermont for the opportunity to experience and enjoy the unique set of activities and attractions this unusual state has to offer.  It is no accident that Vermont has managed to retain so much of its rural character and natural beauty.  A lot of credit for Vermont’s conservation ethic stems from the work of Vermont native George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882).  Marsh, born in nearby Woodstock, wrote Man and Nature in 1864. He is being honored for this seminal publication by the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Billings Farm & Museum, and the Woodstock Foundation with a November 21 and 22 two-day event entitled Landscapes of Hope: Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Man and Nature.

George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882)

George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882)

Born in the brick building housing the National Historic Park that incorporates his name, Marsh spent his early life in a Vermont that was covered with natural forests. Through his personal involvement with clearing lands, and manufacturing and dealing in lumber, he had occasion to both observe and feel the effects of an injudicious system of managing woodlands and products of the forest.  Educated at Dartmouth College, Marsh had many careers.  He was a lawyer, newspaper editor, sheep farmer, mill owner, lecturer, politician, and diplomat.  Marsh was elected to Congress in 1842 where he was greatly influenced by John Quincy Adams whose foresight and ideas of government’s role in natural resource preservation and management anticipated those of Theodore Roosevelt.  In Man and Nature, Marsh was the first to raise concerns about the destructive impact of human activities on the environment.  No one before him had ever turned to the study of the earth as the home of humankind.

“Man, who even now finds scarce breathing room on this vast globe, cannot retire from the Old World to some yet undiscovered continent, and wait for the slow action of such causes to replace, by a new creation, the Eden he has wasted.” –George Perkins Marsh

Woodstock’s two-day celebration of Man and Nature will explore the impact of Marsh’s work to inspire and engage those who continue the legacy of caring for the land and the communities that it supports.  Following a 5:30 reception and book signing on Friday, November 21, at the Billings Farm Visitor Center in Woodstock, keynote speaker David Lowenthal (author of George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation) will give a talk at 6:00 entitled, Man and Nature at 150: Past, Present and Future, followed by a panel discussion with land-ethic leaders. (RSVP: jo_anne_dolan@nps.gov).  On Saturday, November 22, Conservation Conversations, a dialogue of hope and inspiration for stewardship will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 at the Billings Farm Visitors Center followed by an afternoon of guided hikes and programs exploring the birthplace of George Perkins Marsh and stewardship in practice.