Forest historian Michael Kudish to speak on John Burroughs

On Saturday, Apr. 11 at 2 PM, Dr. Michael Kudish will present an illustrated lecture, "John Burroughs and the Catskill Forest: A Contemporary Botanist Looks Back” at the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (the Erpf House) in Arkville.

This free program is presented by John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge. A reception will follow the lecture

Dr. Kudish’s presentation is the Second Annual Spring Burroughs Lecture which brings serious Burroughs scholarship to the great naturalist’s home turf, upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains. Dr. Daniel Payne, of SUNY Oneonta, was last year’s honored presenter.

John Burroughs’ essays and journals provide some of the only existing recorded observations of the 19th-century Catskill forest. He was not a scientist, but Burroughs’ observant eye and precise pen have proven valuable to today’s researchers, one of them being Dr. Kudish.

Dr. Kudish is a botanist and dendrologist dedicated to ongoing daily study of the Catskill forest. He is the author of The Catskill Forest: A History (2000, Purple Mountain Press), a seminal work based on 30 years of research.

Professor Emeritus at Paul Smith’s College, Dr. Kudish taught in the Forestry Department there from 1971 to 2005. He holds a B.S. from City College of New York, an M.S. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from New York College of Forestry at Syracuse.

John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge is now a membership organization, and the April 11 Burroughs Lecture marks the public launch of the 2015 membership drive. Annual membership costs as little as $10.

Charter Membership is available until April 10. To add your name to the exclusive group of initial members of John Burroughs’ Woodchuck Lodge, visit Charter members will be eligible for special prizes, among them a night’s stay for two at La Basse Cour Bed & Breakfast in South Kortright.

The very first audio book of Burroughs essays – “Pepacton Voyage” about his raft trip down the East Branch of the Delaware River in 1879, and “In the Heart of the Southern Catskills” about his tramps on and about Slide Mountain – will be available for sale at the lecture. The CD was produced by Silver Hollow Audio, with support from the O’Connor Foundation. Sales will help support historic Woodchuck Lodge, where Burroughs spent summers during the last ten years of his life.

Visit to see the calendar of Wild Saturdays events planned for 2015. For more information, call Bill Birns, 845-254-6025.

Dr. Michael Kudish takes a closer look at a woodland violet.

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