How to Grow Poets and Philosophers

“A township where one primitive forest waves above and another primitive forest rots below – such a town is fitted to raise not only corn and potatoes, but poets and philosophers for the coming ages.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walking

It is not too late for us. True, children are the future and we need to begin nature education early, but if we want to raise young naturalists and a future generation to save the planet, we must become naturalists ourselves. And that, my friends, means becoming a poet and a philosospher!

Good naturalists are good poets and philosophers as well as good ecologists. Loving and saving nature comes down to what we see in her and what she means to us. These are poetic and philosophical questions! Is the natural world a vast source of raw material to bend and use for our needs and amusement, or is it vital and mysterious presence that demands her own dignity and respect?

We see nature for who she is in wild places. For Thoreau that meant the woods and swamps around 19th- century Concord, Massachusetts. For us, it means the few remaining wild places that still remain close to where we live.

One wild place that is suitable for raising naturalists and poets and philosophers is Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa (near Omaha). On Saturday morning, September 13th, we will gather for a Saunter in the spirit of Thoreau’s Walking. I’ve missed our summer Saunters as many of us have – so we shall saunter again. Gather at the Hitchcock barn (not the lodge) at 7:30 am. We will finish by 10:00. Prepare for a hike and a discussion of Walking ( available at this link: Please let me know if we can expect you at .

And please note these upcoming New Tree School events:

Seeking Nature and Planting Trees, Friday October 3rd, Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, Prairie City, Iowa (contact Jack for more information).

A Day with Mark Hirsch and That Tree: a morning Saunter and afternoon nature photography workshop, Saturday October 11, Hitchcock Nature Center (see posts below).