Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Natural History of New England’s Stone Walls

Next week, Robert Thorson (google him) will be speaking at the monthly meeting for the Friends of the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge in Stow, MA.  His books will tell you exactly what you are seeing in your walks through the New England woods.  I'll be there, Lars.

From their website:

Wednesday, November 20, 7:00 PM

November Monthly Meeting with Dr. Robert Thorson talking about The ‘Natural’ History of New England’s Stone Walls

Stone walls lie at the intersection of science and history, which became woven together during the transformation of wilderness into family farms. – Stone by Stone.
Stone walls mean many things to many people. They are pleasant surprises during many a New England ramble. They are the subject of poems and photo essays. To the human ecologist, stone walls associated with late colonial and Yankee farms are part of our "extended phenotype," displaying the history of our human interaction with the land. Professor Thorson will tell the story of their inevitability, of how they simply had to happen when a livestock-tillage economy was superimposed on a buried scatter of glacial stones. He will include a local focus as he discusses Thoreau's love for the iconic stone walls of the greater Concord River watershed and his prescient understanding of the creation story of the Assabet watershed: both topics of Thorson’s newly released book, “Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth Century Science.”
Dr. Thorson’s books will be available for purchase starting at 6:30PM. Proceeds of these sales benefit the Friends of the Assabet River NWR. Books available will include “Exploring Stone Walls,” “Stone By Stone,” “Stone Wall Secrets,” “Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America’s Kettle Lakes and Ponds.”
Robert Thorson is a professor at the University of Connecticut where he holds appointments in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, the Department of Anthropology, and the Center For Integrated Geosciences. Dr. Thorson has brought his enthusiasm for geology to fields as varied as History and Civil Engineering while teaching at universities from Alaska to Chile, where he was a senior Fulbright scholar. He is currently a visiting scholar in the American Studies program at Harvard University. His field work has included the U.S. Geological Survey and agencies ranging from the Japanese Ministry of Culture to the National Geographic Society. In 2002, he published “Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England's Stone Walls,” which became a regional bestseller and won the Connecticut Book Award for nonfiction. This began a decade of advocacy for the preservation of historic landscapes. More recently, Dr. Thorson has expanded his writings to another signature New England landform, kettleponds. Dr. Thorson is also an environmental columnist for the Hartford Courant.

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