Annual Gathering 2018 Presenters

Peter Alden has led bird and nature tours, cruises and safaris to 100 countries and the 7 seas and continents for 50 years from his base in Concord, Mass. He is the author of 15 nature and travel books with sales over 3 million copies. With Harvard's Dr Edward O. Wilson he organizes major Biodiversity Days every 10 years centered on Walden Pond covering all visible flora and fauna within 5 miles. On two previous events involving several hundred invited field biologists over 2,700 organisms have been identified.

Professor Jay Amaran is an alumnus of three of the finest academic institutions of the world - IIT Madras, IIM Ahmedabad, MIT Boston. In a career spanning 38 years, Jay has been interacting with over 153 countries on projects related to software, consulting, healthcare, genomics, hobbies and education.

Barry M. Andrews is Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock. Currently living with his wife, Linda, on Bainbridge Island, WA, he especially enjoys walking in the island's woods, cooking and writing. Author of a number of books and articles on Transcendentalist writers, his latest book is Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul, published by the U. Mass. Press. He is a long-time member of the Thoreau Society and has served on the Board of Trustees.

John Barthell is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma; he previously served as the Dean of the College of Mathematics and Science on the same campus. He serves an elected role in Council on Undergraduate Research, a national organization that promotes the role of students in undergraduate research. Most of his scientific work relates to the ecological impact of invasive species and includes over a decade of investigations in the Republic of Turkey and Greece. He received his bachelors and doctoral degrees at the University of California at Berkeley in Zoology and Entomology, respectively.

ALBENA BAKRATCHEVA is Professor of American Literature at New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria. She has written various books and essays on nineteenth-century American literature, including The Call of the Green. Thoreau and Place-Sense in American Writing (2009) and Visibility Beyond the Visible. The Poetic Discourse of American Transcendentalism (Rodopi, Amsterdam – NY, 2013), and has translated Thoreau’s and Emerson’s major works in Bulgarian. In 2014 the Thoreau Society gave her the Walter Harding Distinguished Service Award.

Born into the remnants of a 200 year old working farm in Epsom, NH, Leslie Bartlett spent her childhood wandering over its 400 acres, and watched its landscapes of fields, gardens and wood lots slip away. Her adult life has played out in three stages. Firstly, being on stage for over 30 years with the Spectacular Magic Company in Beverly, MA., where she juggled and learned the value of light as an attendant to scenery. Secondly, her 20 years of photographing the abandoned granite quarries of Cape Ann, which allowed her to develop a love for the local history of labor and industry. And thirdly, she has collaborated for the past six years with Susan Quateman (SQ&LB Artist Collaboration) on art projects related to Climate Change, Sea Level Rise, and Resilient Landscapes. Susan Quateman is an environmental planner, who has practiced in both the UK and the USA, and an artist focused on silk painting. She weaves planning and landscape design into paintings and banners on climate change and natural resource conservation. Susan often works collaboratively with photographer Leslie Bartlett. Their artistic work, which includes unique​ montages of silk paintings and photographs, has been shown at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem, MA; at galleries in Marblehead and Gloucester; at the Essex Country Greenbelt Association’s Cox Reservation in Essex, MA, and at the Crane Estate Art Show in Ipswich, MA. Susan is co-Administrator of Ten Pound Studio, a silk painting teaching studio, in Gloucester, MA.

John Bullard lives in Chelsea, Michigan. He is a Mental Health Worker in a local inpatient psychiatric facility. He also is a calligrapher, poet, and mediocre to bad piano player. He hikes often in the nearby woods of Waterloo and Pinckney State Recreation areas, and swims and snorkels in the summer in beautiful Pickerel Lake, the location of which he would rather not reveal.

Adam Burchard is a PhD Student at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on the relationship between the material and the transcendent in the writings of Henry David Thoreau and George Herbert. His most recent work, his MA essay, looked at Thoreau and the concept of individuation in Walden.

Jonathan Butler has published articles on ecocriticism and metarhetoric in several countries over the past decade. He has also taught American Literature in Canada, Taiwan, and the Middle East.

John I. Clapp is the author of A Tale of Two Cabins: Comparative Stories of Thoreau’s Cabin, Nature, and Life, an excerpt of which appeared in the Thoreau Society Bulletin, and The Lost Village of Roberts Meadow: Northampton’s Forgotten Settlement. He leads hikes in nature for a variety of organization and gives tours of the sites found in The Lost Village of Roberts Meadow, and has lectured at Historic Northampton and presented to classes at UMass Amherst. John lives simply on a solar powered farm in Western Massachusetts with his wife and son.

Cherrie Corey, Gowing Swamp, and Thoreau came together in 1977 and have been moving into a deeper communion ever since. A long-time naturalist (with a special affection for plants), educator, and photographer, she has also served as executive director of Harvard University's Museum of Cultural and Natural History, the New England Wild Flower Society’s first education director, and as a board member for the Massachusetts Environmental Education Society in its formative years. Over the past ten years, her Sense of Place - Concord programs and website have helped to inspire thousands of individuals and the community toward deepening their own connection to place and stewardship for Concord’s beautiful and historically significant landscapes. Cherrie's archive of some 200,000 photographs of Concord document its floral diversity and significant natural history landscapes. She has been a leading voice and advocate for the preservation of Gowing’s Swamp/Thoreau’s Bog, Concord’s wetlands, and numerous other significant open spaces in the town. In 2017, she received the town’s River Stewardship Award. In 2017, after 40 years of residing in Concord's East Quarter, Cherrie and her family moved back to Southern Vermont where she continues to work on her Concord archives while re-engaging with the rich mountain landscapes where her botanical passions first took root.

Desiree Demski-Hamelin represents Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, which encompasses forty-five communities in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, including Concord. Throughout 2017, Desiree was a Community Assistance Fellow in the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program. In this role, Desiree worked with Freedom’s Way to develop the Thoreau Trail, a walking experience designed in the spirit of Thoreau's essay, “A Walk to Wachusett." Desiree graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s dual master’s program in regional planning, and public policy and administration with a focus on land use and cultural landscape management this past May.  

Evan Edwards is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago. He currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI with his wife and son, where he is completing his dissertation and acting as assistant editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin.

Cristie Ellis is Associate Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. Her research focuses on histories of science, particularly environmental and racial science, in nineteenth century American literature. She is the author of Antebellum Posthuman: Race and Materiality in the Mid-Nineteenth Century (Fordham University Press, 2018)

David Faflik is associate professor of English at the University of Rhode Island. The author of Boarding Out: Inhabiting the American Urban Literary Imagination, 1840-1860 (Northwestern Univ. Press, 2012), he also recently completed a volume for the Routledge book series Nineteenth-Century Literature, titled Melville and the Question of Meaning (2018). Professor Faflik is currently completing two additional book projects. One of these examines formally oriented reading practices in the nineteenth-century city. The other treats the relation between New England transcendentalism and religious unbelief.

Farong Farong (朱法荣), Professor of Shandong Agricultural University(SDAU), China; Dean of Institute of Foreign Literature and Culture Study, SDAU; 2017-2018 Fulbright Visiting Scholar of City University of New York. She has taught American literature for more than a decade with the Distinguished Teaching Award of SDAU in 2014. She is head of the first MOOCs teaching team of Lectures on English and American Literature (2014), in which she contributed 4 video lectures on Thoreau and Emerson. She is also the member of the International Association for Ethical Literary Criticism and member of the Agricultural History Associate of Shandong Province. Her main articles and publications include: 1) “The Last Resource”: the Ethical Construction of the Flappers in Save me the Waltz, English and American Literary Studies, 2016(Fall):214-226; 2) The Deformed Pearl and the Jade of Spiritual Understanding: A Baroque Reading on A Dream of Red Mansions, Chinese Comparative Literature, 2016(03):65-75; 3) The Last Fisherman: A New Analysis of The Old Man and the Sea, Foreign Literature Studies, 2003(06):36-39; 4) Three Versions of Odor of Chrysanthemums and Its Dramatization (ISBN:978-7-5607-5445-1), trans. Jinan: Shandong University Press, 2015; 5) Save me the Waltz (ISBN:978-7-02-010553-3), trans. Beijing: People’s Literature Publishing House, 2014; 6) The Book of Tea Culture(ISBN:978-7-5100-8493-5), Xi'an: World Book Publishing Company, 2015.

Judy Fichtenbaum has been in the education/interpretation department of the Concord Museum for over 20 years.

Michael Frederick has been the Executive Director of the Thoreau Society since 2006. He holds a BS in Finance from Suffolk University, an ALM in History from Harvard University, and a certificate in non-profit management from Northwestern, Kellogg School of Management. His field of study includes Thoreau’s social philosophy and ethics as well as an interest in Transcendentalism as it developed among European philosophers and writers. He served as assistant editor of Henry David Thoreau’s Wild Fruits and of a collection of essays on the Maine Woods entitled, Wildness within, Wildness Without. He has worked with several non-profit Boards, including the Thoreau Farm Trust and the Walden Pond Advisory Board.

Jason Giannetti, a.k.a. Shouzan Dai Kou, facilitates Eshoji East, a Zen Buddhist meditation center at Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA, and he has written numerous works on religion, philosophy, and education. He has presented at various academic conferences and has lectured at numerous organizations on topics ranging from comparative philosophy and religion to juris prudence. Giannetti has also taught at various colleges and universities, including: Binghamton University, Brandeis University, MassBay Community College, Framingham State University, Regis College, and Stonehill College. Most recently he taught two courses on law at Wheaton College. Among his published works are: Naked Zen, Modern Art in Context, and The Adventures of Layman P’ang. In addition to being an author, religion scholar, and Zen practitioner, Jason Giannetti is also an attorney and the owner of The Law Offices of Jason Giannetti, Esq., a boutique immigration firm.

Ed Gillin is a professor of English at the State University of New York at Geneseo. For a number of years he has directed the Thoreau-Harding Project at Geneseo.

Jayne Gordon has spent over four decades as a public historian connecting local history, landmarks, and literature through programs, classes, workshops, walking tours, lectures and other activities. She has been the Director of Education and Public Programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Concord Museum and the Walden Woods Project, and the Executive Director of the Thoreau Society, and Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House. Now “retired”, she consults on historical projects throughout New England. A resident of Concord, Massachusetts, Jayne is happiest when she is immersing folks in the surroundings and stories of a particular place - helping them to see the rich layers of history in the landscapes.

Charmion Gustke teaches a variety of literature courses at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Her scholarly interests include transatlantic literary studies, South African literature, American Romanticism, and the work of Willa Cather. She is committed to community engagement and employs her service-learning classes to connect students to non-profit organizations in her continued support of sustainable food practices, social advocacy, and the liberal arts.

In spring of 1950 at age ten, Bernd Heinrich landed with his family in rural Maine. They had spent six years prior living in a woods cabin in Northern Germany after fleeing the Soviet army. His parents left he and his sister in a school for indigent children, from which he proceeded to run away twice to live in the woods. He found his way to University of Maine where he studied forestry and zoology, and later received his Ph.D from UCLA. Bernd has been honored with many awards, including the Burroughs Writing Award, the PEN New England Thoreau Prize and is in the Maine Running Hall of Fame.  He is the author of numerous essays and books, including The Snoring Bird, Ravens in Winter and Winter World. He is an ornithologist, entomologist, ethologist, physiologist and ecologist, as well as a runner and woodsman, and permanently lives in a cabin on a 600 acre parcel of land in the Maine woods. He is deeply concerned about our political situations, because he is scared of what is happening to our mutual home, wild nature, our one and only home-ever.

Dr. Brandon Hernsberger teaches English at Houston Community College. He teaches courses in American Literature (courses that are laced with we really don't have to talk about Emerson, honestly, so let's not), rhetoric and pop culture. Dr. Hernsberger received his PhD from the University of Houston and is presently co-editing a collection of essays on TV and neoliberalism.

Jacob Hundt is a Board member and co-initiator of the project to establish Thoreau College. He grew up on a dairy farm in the Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin and studied and gathered inspiration for transformation in higher education at Deep Springs College, the American University in Bulgaria, and the University of Chicago Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, earning a BA in History and an MA in Social Sciences. Since 2004, he has worked as a trained Waldorf high school teacher and guidance counselor at the Youth Initiative High School and was a founding board member and instructor of theDriftless Folk School. Jacob is passionate about the importance of the liberal arts for our civilization and motivated to create a model that enables students to freely choose a post-secondary education dedicated to the cultivation of thinking, feeling, and willing.

David Ingram is a Licensed Land Surveyor in three states, having been first Licensed in West Virginia in 1975 and later that year in Virginia. Maryland registration was granted in 1981. He is a 1978 graduate of James Madison University holding degrees in Economics and Business Administration. Mr. Ingram is an active member of several state and national professional associations including the Virginia Association of Surveyors, West Virginia Society of Professional Surveyors, Maryland Society of Surveyors, and Surveyors Historical Society.
Mr. Ingram has held numerous positions in these organizations including Secretary / Treasurer of the National Society of Professional Surveyors for three terms, two terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, multiple terms and past Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Surveyors Historical Society, Chapter President and member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Association of Surveyors, and he has served as chairman of the Ethics Committee of NSPS for several years; served as a member of the ACSM Ethics Committee for several years. He has served as the ACSM TAC of ABET Commissioner and a program evaluator for the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology (ABET).

Rochelle Johnson teaches American literature and the environmental humanities at College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. She has published on Susan Fenimore Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau, and early American nature writing. She is a past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) and has been on the boards of the James Fenimore Cooper Society and the Thoreau Society. She is currently writing a biography of Thoreau’s contemporary, Susan Fenimore Cooper--an early advocate for environmental thought in the United States.

Joseph M. Johnson is Director of Writing Programs at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He is currently working on a book-length manuscript, tentatively titled Thoreau’s Liberal Education: Transcendental Higher Learning for the Twenty-First Century. Joe was awarded the Walter Harding Memorial Fellowship at the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering in 2016. He earned his Ph.D. in English from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

John Kaag is professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is the author of Idealism, Pragmatism, and Feminism and Thinking through the Imagination: Aesthetics in Human Cognition. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other publications.

Michael Kellett, executive director of the nonprofit RESTORE: The North Woods, has more than 30 years of experience advocating for national parks, wilderness, and endangered wildlife. During that time, he has been active in efforts to safeguard Thoreau Country, including development of the first proposal for a 3.2 million-acre Maine Woods National Park & Preserve, and initiatives to protect Walden Woods, the Thoreau birthplace, Estabrook Woods, Mount Wachusett, and the White Mountains. He has visited more than 250 National Park System units across America.

Until her retirement last year, Janet Kemper Beck taught English at Appalachian State University in the Student Support Services Program for low-income, first-generation college students. She is a long-time member of the Thoreau Society.

Geoffrey Kirsch is a Ph.D. candidate in the Harvard University Department of English, where he specializes in 19th century American literature, law and literature, and ecocriticism. He earned a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College in 2009 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2012, and practiced law for four years before returning to academia.

John J. Kucich is a professor of English at Bridgewater State University. He serves as the editor of The Concord Saunterer, the journal of the Thoreau Society. He is the author of Ghostly Communion: Cross-Cultural Spiritualism in 19th Century American Literature (Dartmouth, 2004) and several recent essays on the intersections between Native and European American cultures in the 18th and 19th centuries. He is currently editing an essay collection on Thoreau’s The Maine Woods.

David K. Leff is an essayist, Pushcart Prize nominated poet and former deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He is the author of nine books. Among them are Deep Travel: In Thoreau's Wake on the Concord and Merrimack and Canoeing Maine’s Legendary Allagash: Thoreau, Romance, and Survival of the Wild. In 2016-2017 he was appointed by the National Park Service as the poet-in-residence for the New England National Scenic Trail (NET).

Richard Leu is a Licensed Land Surveyor in the state of Iowa. He is a member of the Board of Directors and past-president of the Society of Land Surveyors of Iowa and is a recipient of that organization’s John J. Reineke Service Award and John S. Dodds Journalism Award. He is also the Iowa representative to the Board of Directors of the National Society of Professional Surveyors, President of the Great Lakes Regional Council of Surveyors, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Iowa Professional Surveyors Foundation, a member of the advisory board for the Des Moines Area Community College Land Survey program and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Surveyors Historical Society. Since his retirement in 2002 he has focused his activities on providing opportunities for other surveyors to obtain the continuing education credits they are required to accrue to maintain professional licensure and preserving and promoting the rich history of the surveying profession.

For seven years, Diana Lorence lived in an unelectrified, twelve-foot square house she built herself, hidden away in the coastal mountains of California, in a world lit only by fire. Diana Lorence's Innermost House publications are now visited by readers from over a hundred nations. Since her emergence from the woods four years ago with a talk at the Thoreau Farm, her writings and photographs have been featured in Fine Homebuilding, House Beautiful, Design Anthology, The Oregonian, Mother Earth Living, Green Style, The Examiner, Furniture and Home Fashion, Yahoo AOL Homepages, Tiny House Blog, Fair Companies, and hundreds of websites and newspapers around the world. Its record has been translated into languages from Spanish, French and Italian, to Turkish and Pakistani, to Japanese and Chinese. Innermost House is a living exercise in classical “Primitive Hut” architecture, and has been judged the "World's Favorite Small House," the "Most Beautiful Tiny House in the World," and the "Most Inspiring Small House Ever."

Michael Lorence has been reading the American founding documents and the writings of the Transcendentalists with men and women of industry for thirty years, serving as a guide and mentor to educated readers who have chosen to pursue careers in industry and the professions rather than scholarship. Thirteen years ago, Michael and Diana Lorence built a retreat in the mountains of Northern California. “Innermost House” was home for seven years to a practice which became known simply as “the Conversation,” an informal, fireside meeting of leaders in industry seeking to transcend the boundaries of specialized knowledge and practice through contemplative discourse. Mr. Lorence currently serves on the board of the Thoreau Society and as president of the Innermost House Foundation, a non-profit, public benefit fellowship of writers, artists, craftsmen, scholars, environmentalists and enthusiasts united in conversation to seek the transcendental spirit at the heart of the American experience.

David A. Mark is an amateur historian and newspaper columnist in Maynard, MA, author of "Hidden History of Maynard.” Maynard did not exist at the time of Thoreau's amble; what was to become Maynard was still part of the towns of Sudbury and Stow.

John Matteson is Distinguished Professor of English at John Jay College, CUNY. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Eden's Outcasts;The Lives of Margaret Fuller; and The Annotated Little Women.

Jake McGinnis is a doctoral student in English at the University of Notre Dame and the managing editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. He specializes in United States literature and environmental thought, especially in the Antebellum period. His current work explores Cape Cod The Maine Woods to chart the creative, intellectual, and affective development of Thoreau’s environmental thinking in response to a profound sense of loss. These and similar texts, he argues, operate historically and contextually, but also speak directly to new modes of creative, intellectual, and social engagement across periods.

Jessica Medenbach is a video and media designer, filmmaker, editor and producer. She is currently a Video and Media Design MFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and holds a BFA in Film from Bard College. Her projects range from documentary, music videos and video installation to media for live events, theater & opera. She has worked in the US and Europe and her work has been written about in The New York Times and The Creators Project.

Dr. Richard A. Michelfelder is clinical associate professor of finance at Rutgers University, School of Business – Camden. During his "spare" time, he is President of EXP 1, LLC, a water, sewer, electricity and natural gas public utility consulting firm. He has testified before state and federal regulatory agencies on economic and financial issues related to water, sewer, electricity and natural gas public utilities and well as on conservation and efficiency in the use of these water and energy resources. He is also an advisor to some of the largest (and smallest) public utilities in the world as well as advisor to many county, state and federal governments. He is a volunteer advisor to a US Congressman, a member of a Federal Reserve Bank Board, Rutgers University - Camden and the Camden Shipbuilding and Maritime Museum. He has published numerous articles in economics, finance, entrepreneurship, and the economics of utilities in the Journal of Regulatory Economics, the Journal of Economics and Business, the Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment, Multinational Finance Journal, Quantitative Finance, Journal of Mathematical Finance, The Electricity Journal, Managerial Finance, as well as book chapter articles. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Fordham University. Richard has been an on-and-off member of the Thoreau Society since the early 1980’s.

Andrew Menard is an artist and writer.  His essays and articles have appeared in the Antioch Review, Artforum, ESQ, Georgia Review, Journal of American Studies, The New England Quarterly, Oxford Art Journal, Studio International, Western American Literature, and others.  He is the author of "Sight Unseen: How Frémont's First Expedition Changed the American Landscape" (2012; paperback edition 2018) and "Learning from Thoreau" (2018). 
 
Karin Murray-Bergquist is a recent Master of Arts in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies from the University of Iceland. During her undergraduate studies in social anthropology, at Dalhousie University, she I became familiar with Thoreau's work through the local library and the writing of her honours thesis. Although originally from Winnipeg, she has lived in many cities in Canada, as well as Iceland and Denmark, and is currently based in Montreal. 

Former Director of Sierra Club's Southeastern Pennsylvania Group and founder of the Delaware Valley Greens, Richard Myers has a long experience with many environmental groups and issues. He has spoken widely on the environment from Moscow to Vancouver and especially in his home bioregion, the Delaware Valley. He has also been an educator of gifted high school students and at the University of Pennsylvania. His special interest is the nexus where social change, personal transformation, and the natural world connect, a topic he wrote a monthly column on for thirteen years. 

John M. (Jack) Nevison is President of New Leaf Project Management and lives within a half-mile of Walden Pond. He is the author of six books and numerous articles on computing and management. His first simulation model, about a watershed ecosystem, was published in 1974. His most recent white paper features a dynamic model of how increased staffing can recover a troubled project. During the course of his business career, Nevison has built and sold two businesses, managed projects, managed project managers, and served as both an internal and external consultant to Fortune 100 companies. He is past president of the Mass Bay Chapter of the Project Management Institute and a past president of the Greater Boston Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
 
Dennis Noson is an acoustical and environmental consultant in Seattle.  His earlier PhD studies revealed how singers perceive their own voice in a variety of spaces.  These two experiences, practical and theoretical, have helped him better imagine Thoreau's experiences as a poet, flutist, singer, and naturalist in the multi-sensory world around Walden and Concord.  Dr. Noson has presented several talks at Annual Gatherings: on his use of local place names (there are over 2,200 unique places named by Thoreau!), and on Thoreau's special methods for mapping the real shapes of shorelines and brooks.  And lately he has completed a full transcription of Thoreau's notebook manuscript, "Field Notes of Surveys".
 
Michiko Ono has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Thoreau Society of Japan since 2000. She holds her PhD from Tohoku University in American Literature, her MA in TESOL from Columbia University, and a certificate for interpreting at international conferences. Her field of study includes Thoreau’s educational philosophy and views on nature as well as his ideas on various subjects as compared with other writers’ and philosophers’. She is the author of Henry David Thoreau: His Educational Philosophy and Observation of Nature. She has published many papers on Thoreau, and four are included in the books of academic works published by the Society in 1999, 2004, 2012 and 2017. Also, she translated Kenji Miyazawa’s stories into English, which came out as five books, including three picture books.    
 
   
An economist by training, Henrik Otterberg leads a technical firm affiliated with the Chalmers Science Park in Gothenburg, Sweden, since 2014. In 2008 he published a lengthy study of the cultural history of animals in pre-modern Scandinavia, entitled Bernströms Bestiarium, and in 2014 submitted his doctoral dissertation on Thoreau's aesthetics at the University of Gothenburg, entitled Alma Natura, Ars Severa: Expanses; Limits of Craft in Henry David Thoreau. Contributing regularly with articles in the Concord Saunterer and Thoreau Society Bulletin, he assists as the latter's bibliographer and editorial assistant. Since 2017, he also serves on the Standing and Program Committees of the Thoreau Society Board of Directors. In the spring of 2018, Otterberg has hosted an international scholarly symposium on Thoreau at the University of Gothenburg, and is currently planning for a follow-up academic event at Rejkholt, Iceland, in 2020.
 
Tom Potter served as President of the Thoreau Society for 6 years. After his term, he was awarded the Thoreau Society Medal. In 1990 he was the keynote speaker for the Annual Gathering, his topic being, Thoreau’s Greatest Essay—His Life. Since that time, he has presented annually both individually and on panels at the Gathering. His topics included a variety of Thoreau related subjects; Thoreau and Darwin, Thoreau’s Natural History, and the relevance of Walden and Thoreau’s Essays on today’s world. Tom has participated on panels at the Rachel Carson annual Symposium and other opportunities around the nation. He has been leading a comprehensive study and review of most of Thoreau’s literature for people in Indiana, many of whom consequently have attended the Annual Gathering.
 
Jym St. Pierre, Maine director of RESTORE: The North Woods, has worked for four decades to preserve wild nature. Since 1995, he has been at the forefront of efforts to protect Thoreau’s Maine Woods from destructive resource extraction and misplaced development. This includes leadership in campaigning for a Maine Woods National Park & Preserve, which laid the groundwork for President Obama’s designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and battling misplaced development around Moosehead Lake and other places along Thoreau’s travels in Maine. He has visited dozens of National Parks across four continents.
 
 
Donna Marie Przybojewski is a Thoreau Bicentennial Ambassador who planned a school year celebration at St. Benedict Catholic School in Garfield Heights, Ohio, where she is a junior high Language Arts teacher.  By “Sauntering the Year with Henry David Thoreau,” Donna Marie dedicated each month with a specific activity which focused on this American author.  These activities crossed all disciplines and grade levels.  She helped to inspire the students to develop a relationship with Henry that enabled them to grow creatively, academically, and intellectually. Donna Marie is the author and illustrator of two coloring discussion books on Henry David Thoreau:  Henry David Thoreau: A Discussion Starter Coloring Book, which was used as Thoreau curriculum in grades K -3 at St. Benedict Catholic School in Garfield Heights, Ohio during the 2016-2017 school year and Born in the Nick of Time, which was utilized in grades K through 8 during the 2017-2018 academic year to further teach students about the author.  She wrote and illustrated an A,B,C, book on the author, Henry David Thoreau, Who Can He Be? which was used during the Thoreau Bicentennial as a storybook walk for children at Walden Pond State Reservation.  Also, she is the author and illustrator of Henry David Thoreau Loved the Seasons of the Year. These were all created to introduce Thoreau to children.Donna Marie lives in Ohio with her husband, Frank and two children, Ruth Rachel and David.  Her love of the outdoors takes her to many of the national parks in the U.S. especially those of the Southwest where she hikes with her family.
 
Brent Ranalli is an environmental policy professional and educator and an independent scholar with the Ronin Institute. He co-edits Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology for Yale University Press and as of 2018 serves as the editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin. This is Brent’s seventh Thoreau Society presentation.
 
Christina Root is Professor of English and Director of the Humanities Center at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont. She teaches courses in Transatlantic Romanticism as well as in nineteenth and twentieth century fiction and nature writing. She has written most recently on Thoreau, Goethe, and E.M Forster, with essays appearing in JanusHead, Journal of Modern Literature, and Papers on Language and Literature. Her most recent essay on Thoreau appeared in the special issue of Nineteenth Century Prose for Thoreau's bicentennial (2017).
 
Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom is an author, mystic, theologian, entrepreneur, investor, company creator, venture capitalist, spiritual seeker, and laughing Buddha. He holds a BA from Yale, an MBA from Harvard, and Master and Doctor of Divinity degrees from Andover Newton Theological School. His first book, SPIRITUAL AUDACITY: Six Disciplines of Human Flourishing describes his business career and spiritual disciplines. His second book SPIRITUAL PILGRIM is under development.
 
Michael Stoneham is the Chair of Humanities and Associate Professor of Literature at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown. Michael teaches a variety of literature courses in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Literature. He also writes and regularly presents on Thoreau and contemporary culture; his most recent project is focused upon the way in which Thoreau’s works might be effectively employed to compel people to adopt more eco-centric perspectives in their lives and to commit to a healthy relationship with Nature. Fascinated by the transcendentalists engagement with contemporary revloutionaries, particularly Thoreau and Emerson, Michael published Literary Confrontation in the Era of John Brown, a critical evaluation of the way in which radical abolitionist, freedom-fighter, and terrorist John Brown inspired literary America to confrontation during his short but dramatic career as public figure in ante-bellum America in 2009. Michael serves as a member of the Thoreau Society Board of Directors and is keenly interested in helping the society reach more audiences in America and in the international community.
 
Corinne H. Smith first encountered Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience," and Walden as a high school student in the suburbs of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Westward I Go Free: Tracing Thoreau's Last Journey, and Thoreau for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 21 Activities. She serves as an occasional docent at Thoreau Farm, his birthplace, and maintains a blog, “Travels with Thoreau."
 
Paul Turano is a visual artist working in film, video and new media. He has exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and locally at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Harvard Film Archive and Peabody Essex Museum. His work explores of our relationship to natural environments in both local and global ways. He is an Associate Professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College.Charles Tracy is a National Park Service landscape architect who guides community trail and regional landscape conservation initiatives in New England. Tracy is superintendent of the New England National Scenic Trail and national lead for NPS artist-in-residence programs and art partnerships. He holds master’s degrees in landscape architecture from the University of Massachusetts and in classics from the University of Texas.

Dr. Daniel Vollaro is an assistant professor of English at Georgia Gwinnett College. A scholar who is interested in the relationships between literature and power, Vollaro has published articles on Harriet Beecher Stowe’s meeting with Abraham Lincoln, Briton Hammon’s Narrative, the Transcendentalist publication The Dial, and utopian communities in Nineteenth Century America, and Anarchists' appropriations of Thoreau. He was one of the scholars appearing in the recent BBC radio documentary "The Battle for Henry David Thoreau." In addition to his Ph.D in English from Georgia State University, he holds an M.A. in Jewish-Christian Studies from Seton Hall University and has taught a wide variety of humanities subjects, including American and world literature, religious studies, ethics and philosophy.

Leslie Perrin Wilson is Curator of the William Munroe Special Collections at the Concord Free Public Library, and a writer on local literary and historical topics. Her publications include Picturing Emerson: An Iconography (a collaboration with Joel Myerson).

Diane Whitley-Grote is Professor of English at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. A doctoral student at Texas, she has co-directed NEH summer programs on transcendentalism. Her current work concerns student autonomy as a contemporary measure of care theory.

Geoff Wisner is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Quarterly Conversation, Transition Warscapes, Wild Earth, and Words Without Borders. He is the editor of two books drawn from Thoreau’s Journal and published by Yale University Press: Thoreau’s Wildflowers (2016) and Thoreau’s Animals (2017). His other books are A Basket of Leaves: 99 Books That Capture the Spirit of Africa (2007) and African Lives: An Anthology of Memoirs and Autobiographies (2013).

Stuart-Sinclair Weeks is a native son of Concord and founder of The Center for American Studies which takes up Thoreau's vision of the "village university." In this capacity Stuart has hosted programs for wide range of audiences, including over 500 international leaders from 68 nations.In 2017, Stuart completed a testament of 33 years: "'Says I to Myself,' Thoreau's Seminal Science of the Spirit."

David Wood has been curator of the Concord Museum since 1985. He is the author of An Observant Eye: The Thoreau Collection at the Concord Museum and worked with Christine Nelson of the Morgan Library on the organization and presentation of the collaborative exhibition This Ever New Self: Henry Thoreau and his Journal (2017). Mr. Wood is the author of numerous articles on the craft community of 18th and 19th century Concord.

J. William T. Youngs is a professor of history at Eastern Washington University. He has given numerous presentations at the Annual Gatherings and most recently delivered a paper on Thoreau, Muir, and Humboldt at the John Muir Symposium in Stockton, California. Each fall he teaches an on-line on-the-road course on, alternatively, The History of the American Wilderness and The History of National Parks. Thanks to digital cameras and the internet he has taught recently from such places as the deserts of Jordan, the Norwegian Arctic, and a native village in Alaska. Wherever he travels, Thoreau’s writings go with him!

Laura Zebuhr is Assistant Professor of English at the University of St Thomas in St Paul Minnesota. Her most recent work on Thoreau, an interpretation of his concept of enchantment, appeared in New Literary Criticism last fall. Her current project is about the figure of eros in Thoreau’s philosophy.