Transcendentalist Philosophy & Olana: Odes to Nature and Nature Writing

FOR: Grades 9-12

$10 per student; free chaperone/teacher for every 10 youth

While The Hudson River School was the first art movement in the USA, Transcendentalism was the first philosophical moment. Frederic Church read and travelled with Ralph Waldo Emerson, read Thoreau and Wake Robin written by naturalist John Burroughs. Around the same time Church was building Olana, Burroughs returned to the Catskills and his childhood farm to devote his life to writing and gardening. What traits were shared between these nature writers and nature painters? Why did so much of this early art in the United States focus on issues of nature? Why are so many students currently suffering from nature deficit disorder? This field trip offers as many possible answers to these questions as there are students who participate. During the daylong field trip, students will

  1. Tour Olana’s interior and investigate the library, art and photographs,
  2. Receive clipboards and little packets, as well as small notebooks and pencils for sketching and notetaking inside and outside Olana, and
  3. Walk in the landscape and immerse themselves in nature. Finally, students will spend 40 minutes reshaping their notes and impressions into a thesis statement on why nature matters to the artistic endeavor.