Green Mountains of Vermont during the fall.The 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.  That is to say, 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 two-day event entitled Landscapes of Hope: Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Man and Nature.

Marsh was born in Woodstock, Vermont.

George Perkins Marsh.

George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882)

He was born in the brick building housing the National Historic Park that incorporates his name. Marsh spent his early life in a Vermont covered with natural forests. He had personal involvement with clearing lands, and manufacturing and dealing in lumber.  He observed and felt the effects of an injudicious system for managing woodlands and forest products of the forest.

Educated at Dartmouth College, Marsh had many careers.  Marsh was a lawyer, and a newspaper editor.  He was also a sheep farmer, mill owner, lecturer, politician, and diplomat.  Marsh was elected to Congress in 1842.   He was greatly influenced by John Quincy Adams. Adams’ foresight and ideas of government’s role in natural resource preservation and management anticipated those of Theodore Roosevelt.  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.

Marsh founded conservation ethics.

The earth in your hands.

“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 explores the impact of Marsh’s work. Above all, to inspire and engage those who continue caring for the land and communities that it supports.  The Billings Farm Visitor Center in Woodstock will hold a reception and book signing.  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.  Aa panel discussion entitled Conservation Conversations follows.  It is a dialogue of hope and inspiration for stewardship.  Followed, also at the Billings Farm Visitors Center, by an afternoon of guided hikes and programs exploring the birthplace of George Perkins Marsh and stewardship in practice.

It’s up to us.