Burroughs documentary to be shown at Roxbury Library's Tuesday Forum


By Diane Galusha
A new documentary detailing the life and work of nature writer John Burroughs will be screened Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. at the regular meeting of Tuesday Forum at Roxbury Library.
Joe Farleigh, a Burroughs fan and member of the Woodchuck Lodge Inc. Board of Directors, will introduce the video, “John Burroughs: A Naturalist in the Industrial Age” and will be available to take questions afterwards.
The 40-minute film was produced by Lynn Spangler, a professor at SUNY New Paltz, with an education grant from the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC). The video was created with middle-school students in mind, but it is suitable for all ages.
The documentary examines Burroughs’ life and work and his impact on the environmental movement. The film features interviews with the naturalist’s descendants and a number of Burroughs scholars, along with excerpts from his essays and stunning footage of birds and other wildlife.
Farleigh is a retired science teacher with a special interest in environmental studies. A Roxbury resident, he has been president of the Roxbury Burroughs Club, and has served with many other local organizations. He has written articles on John Burroughs and on fly-fishing for Kaatskill Life magazine, and was editor of John Burroughs: Voice of the Catskills, copies of which will be available for purchase to benefit Woodchuck Lodge.
The Lodge, a simple farmhouse built in the early 1860s by John’s brother Curtis, was the literary naturalist’s summer home from 1910 to 1920. Here he sat on the rustic front porch he built, observing the birds, animals and plants all around him. He did much of his writing from the door of a nearby hay barn. His 26 books sold more than a million copies in his lifetime, and his work influenced everyday Amer-icans as well as notable industrialists and politicians such as Henry Ford and Teddy Roosevelt.
Burroughs was born in 1837 on his family’s homestead just up the road from Woodchuck Lodge. He died in 1921, and was buried on his 84th birthday in what is now John Burroughs Memorial Field State Historic Site maintained by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).
The Lodge, which has been undergoing restoration in recent years, is open for tours the first weekend of the month from May through October. To be placed on a mailing list to receive information about the 2008 season and John Burroughs Community Day in June, call Diane Galusha, 845 586-4973.