Edward J. Renehan Jr. Opens Our 2024 Wild Saturday Series

Burroughs biographer Ed Renehan kicked off our 2024 season of Wild Saturday programming with a talk on Burroughs, friend Jay Gould, and mentor Walt Whitman.

Renehan spoke to an audience at the Catskill Watershed Corporation's beautiful Arkville auditorium on May 4, 2024.

This talk also launched our brand new YouTube channel, where we hope to publish more talks and bits of Burroughs history from the Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury!

Wild Saturday with Heather Bruegl, Oneida Nation

by Dr. Julianne Lutz Warren

The July 2, 2002 Wild Saturday speaker at John Burroughs’s Woodchuck Lodge was Heather Bruegl. Bruegl is a historian-activist, lecturer, museum consultant and citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and first-line descendent Stockbridge-Munsee who remain connected with this site as part of their cultural area with contemporary relevance.

Some twenty attendees sat shaded under a pavilion-tent on the lawn of the historic Roxbury farmhouse. Here, writer Burroughs (1837-1921) spent his last summers. Dr. Julianne Lutz Warren – former president, vice president, long time board member, and a niece of Burroughs – introduced Bruegl. Warren acknowledged how the Burroughs family and other settler-colonizers did not establish their town of Roxbury in an “empty” country but in Lands inhabited for time immemorial by sovereign Indigenous Nations.

Bruegl began by alerting attendees that her presentation might make some listeners uncomfortable. She encouraged this gathering as a safe space to learn about relevant consequences of historic and ongoing Indigenous removals while unlearning a cultural habit of looking away. Truth is truth, not an offense.

Bruegl, a riveting story-teller, covered a lot of ground. She shared about everyday Indigenous life whether urban and/or on reservation. She discussed historic and ongoing colonialist forces of Indigenous assimilation into dominating culture and relegation off their Lands undermining Indigenous sovereignty. Bruegl touched the U.S. legacy of broken treaties, the American Indian Movement, and ongoing Lakota (Sioux) resistance to the desecration of He Sapa so-called Mount Rushmore. She spotlighted the living history of Indigenous children interned in English-only boarding schools, away from home, wrenching apart bodies, lands and cultures with intergenerational consequences. Bruegl also shared stories and statistics pertaining to Missing and/or Murdered Indigenous Women (#MMIW).

Bruegl stressed, for instance, how pipelines produce not only climate-wrecking oil and gas but also men in worker camp conditions brutalizing women. This underscores how, for better or worse, as Burroughs understood, relations between Land and Humans are of a whole. After confirming that most of those gathered knew the name of Gabby Petito a non-Indigenous woman missing and murdered in Bridger-Teton, Wyoming Bruegl shared a statistic that felt all the more brutal: In the same state, between 2011 and 2020, seven-hundred-and-ten Indigenous persons became missing and/or murdered–710. No one gathered knew any of their names. Why is that?

Bruegl ended her talk with the recent announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case involving the U.S. 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. This case again threatens to undermine Indigenous sovereignty. Bruegl expertly made Indigenous Land removal history consequential throughout her talk.

Burroughs writes about people whose “sharp eyes” were “commissioned” to find “Indian relics…in every field.” Bruegl helps commission settlers’ to see Indigenous persons and Nations – Stockbridge-Munsee, Mohican and Oneida – who were and are still here and to take responsibility toward justice. She encouraged listening for how to be better relations with entangled histories, geographies, and desired futures. What happens when Burroughs’s legacy, for instance, becomes part of rather than the center of a place-based story?

The Wild Saturday Program continues at John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge, June 5th, 2021, with “The Beauty of Survival” with Russ Walker

© J.N. Urbanski

Russ Walker introduces us to reptiles and amphibians, with an emphasis on the Catskill Mountains. Through photos, biofacts (skins, shells and skeletons) and live animals, we explore the natural history and some survival strategies of these incredible, but often misunderstood and feared animals. Russ is the co-founder of the East Texas Herpetological Society, with a life-long interest and passion for all wildlife.

The presentation begins at 1pm on June 5th, 2021. This event is free and takes place at Woodchuck Lodge, 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road, Roxbury, NY 12474. All are welcome. Bring a lawn chair.

We request that you wear a mask or face covering while in attendance.

The Wild Saturday Program begins at John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge, May 1st, 2021, with A Presentation on The Pepacton Reservoir

© J.N. Urbanski Taken on Christmas Day 2015 from the “Daily Catskills” archive at Upstate Dispatch

Adam Bosch & Brett Barry’s presentation focuses on the history of the Pepacton Reservoir, the latest technology for monitoring water quality, and the interstate considerations that went into the construction and operation of the reservoir.

Adam is the Director of Public Affairs of the NYC Water Supply.

Brett Barry of Silver Hollow Audio follows up with a reading from John Burroughs’ Pepacton, A Summer Voyage. Brett is an audiobook narrator and audio producer based in the Catskills, and teaches Digital Media and Journalism at SUNY New Paltz.

The presentation begins at 1pm on May 1st, 2021. This event is free and takes place at Woodchuck Lodge, 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road, Roxbury, NY 12474. All are welcome.

We request that you please wear a mask or face covering while in attendance.

Spring Newsletter from Board of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge

Spring, 2021

© J.N. Urbanski

Dear Friends of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge,

One hundred years ago –– March 29, 1921 –– on a train from California to New York, John Burroughs asked his traveling companion, “How far are we from home?” He died before Clara Barrus could answer.  

If Burroughs were to return to his beloved Woodchuck Lodge in 2021, he’d find it lovingly cared for and comfortingly familiar. 

Despite this past year’s many challenges, our board of trustees and dedicated volunteers have maintained a rigorous agenda, checking off many important boxes on the perpetual to-do list that keeps Woodchuck Lodge looking and feeling like “Uncle John’s” rustic Catskills retreat.

Were Burroughs to return, he’d find his apple orchard pruned (and expanded) with heirloom trees, the surrounding brush cleared, and wildflowers blanketing the hillside. A new “poet’s path” wends through the orchard and a selection of his own literary quotes dot the trail. We hope he’d be happy to discover new stone benches, a sundial, and a small pond!

He’d note that the woodshed he built held up remarkably well; almost toowell. Just don’t tell Mr. Burroughs that his version finally rotted and collapsed. We carefully replaced it 100 years later, and we invested in restoration of the stone wall that runs behind it.

“I always feel that I have missed some good fortune if I am away from home when my bees swarm,” wrote Burroughs. Mr. Burroughs, your bees are still very much in residence. But we’ve added a small sign to warn visitors who may not appreciate your love of the buzzing colonists. We also added a 2021-compliant address marker on your garage, and a small parking area across the road that your friend Henry Ford would surely have appreciated.

Continue reading “Spring Newsletter from Board of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge”

The Delaware County Diggers

© J.N. Urbanski

The Delaware County Diggers is a group of metal detecting enthusiasts with a passion for history and preservation. We joined them at the John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury, NY, where they beeped and dug their way to an eclectic assortment of 19th- and 20th-century treasures. Come along with us for an archaeological treasure hunt just beneath the surface of John Burroughs’ property at the historic Woodchuck Lodge! 

Click here to listen to the podcast.

The Beauty of Survival

© J.N. Urbanski

July 26th at 11:00 a.m. online — THE BEAUTY OF SURVIVAL: Join the John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge for a free online talk by Russ Walker on reptiles, with an emphasis on the Catskill Mountains. Through photos, biofacts (skins, shells and skeletons) and live animals, we will explore the natural history and some survival strategies of these incredible, but often misunderstood and feared animals. Russ has a BS in Biology and Environmental Science. He is the co-founder of the East Texas Herpetological Society which started in 1988.  He has a life-long interest and passion for all wildlife. Sign up here.

An Update From Woodchuck Lodge

© J.N. Urbanski

Happy Spring from all the board members of Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury, New York.

Due to the ongoing Pandemic, to ensure the health and safety of all members and friends of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge, the Board of Trustees of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge have closed the lodge for the season. All events will happen online.

Please watch this space for news of our upcoming You Tube channel where we will post video for our JBWL fans.

Geocaching at Woodchuck Lodge

© J.N. Urbanski

John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge has entered the world of geocaching: just like JB’s chipmunks squirreling away their booty, trinkets and treasure await for those inclined to explore the world of Mr. Burroughs.  We invite you to come and take a leisurely walk;  enjoy the landscape; sit for a spell.  

We are certain that Mr. Burroughs would be charmed by your presence and may just join you. Listen for the rustle in the leaves, it could be JB playing with you!

Woodchuck Lodge’s Final Wild Saturday takes place on October 5th, 2019 at 1pm “Exploring the Natural World” with Justin Wexler

© J.N. Urbanski

On Saturday October 5th, 2019 at 1pm, join us for a leisurely walk with Justin Wexler of Wild Hudson Valley, who grew up exploring the eastern Catskills and reading John Burroughs. He is an ethnoecologist, studying the relationship between local native peoples and their lands. Join us for this nature walk to explore the natural world as understood by the indigenous peoples of the Northeast. Topics range from folklore related, to the autumn songbird migration, to the medicinal and edible properties of various fruits, fall hunting tactics and more.

This free event takes place at Woodchuck Lodge, located at 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road, Roxbury, NY 12474. For more information or images visit www.jbwoodchucklodge.org.

Woodchuck Lodge’s Wild Saturdays have been hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. This will be the last Wild Saturday program of the 2019 season. 

On the first weekend of every month, May until October, Woodchuck Lodge is open to the public from 11am to 3pm with docents to guide visitors. For the last time in 2019, Woodchuck Lodge will be open to the public on October 5th & 6th, 2019. 

John Burroughs Woodchuck Lodge thanks the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) for their Public Education Grant Funding, which supports our Wild Saturday programming, the collaborative goal of heightening our awareness as Catskill Mountain stewards, global neighbors and dear friends to John Burroughs’ legacy.