East Meredith, N.Y. - The interdisciplinary exhibit, "Planting Wildness: Finding Roots in Delaware County," by Bertha Rogers is on view at Hanford Mills Museum through October 4th. The exhibit includes mixed media artworks, photographs, an accompanying video by Rogers and Jack Schluep, and logging artifacts from the Hanford Mills Museum collection.
Rogers' exhibit explains, through words and images, New York's Reforestation Program, which was started in the early 20th century to ensure New York State continued to have timber and forested lands. New York's State Nursery, the first in the nation, started major planting programs as soon as it was established in 1902.
By the 1920s, forests were being replanted throughout the state, bringing back woodland to Delaware County and the State. The exhibit aims to inform, by documenting her tree planting and that of others as well as the responsible harvesting and milling of the trees at places like Hanford Mills, the value of trees on the land and the changing of Delaware County's ecology.
Rogers moved to a few acres on an old farm in Delaware County in 1989. In the spring of 1990 she, with her family and friends, planted 1,000 Norway spruce seedlings on the advice of the Department of Environmental Conservation She also planted a grove of black walnuts, hackberries, Shagbark hickories, Catalpas, white and red pines, maples, birches, green ashes, hybrid poplars, pin and white oaks, larches, willows, Eastern red cedars, apples, cherries, disease-resistant American elms, and crab apples as well as Rugosa roses, Red Twig dogwoods, High Bush cranberries, Autumn Olives, honeysuckle, and raspberries.
The land has been transformed into a habitat for wildlife, including foxes, forest and field birds, turkeys, grouse, coydogs, groundhogs, weasels, deer, rabbits, an occasional bear, porcupines, opossums, and even a fisher cat.
There will be a reception and reading by Bertha Rogers from 2 - 5 pm on Saturday, October 4, during the Museum's Woodsmen's Festival. The installation is funded in part by the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered in Delaware County by the Roxbury Arts Group. Rogers's reading on October 4 is funded by Poets & Writers, Inc. and Hanford Mills Museum, and will include a discussion about Rogers' artistic and poetic processes.
Rogers has received grants and awards, including fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, Hawthornden International Writers Retreat in Scotland, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and Hedgebrook. She was given the NYS Association of Teaching Artists Distinguished Service to the Field Award for her work in arts education, the Ludwig Vogelstein Grant, and several Delaware County NYSCA Decentralization Grants for interdisciplinary exhibits. More than 600 of her poems have been published in literary magazines and journals. Her art has been shown throughout New York and the nation and is collected by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin and in many private collections. She co-founded, with her husband, Ernest M. Fishman, Bright Hill Press & Literary Center in Treadwell.
About Hanford Mills Museum
Hanford Mills Museum is located at 51 County Hwy. 12, at the intersection of Delaware County Routes 10 and 12, in East Meredith, NY, 10 miles from Oneonta and 15 miles from Delhi. Children 12 and under are admitted free, as are Museum members. The Museum is open Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 am - 5 pm until October 15.
As one of only a handful of operating water-powered mills, Hanford Mills Museum has earned a place on both the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places. The mission of Hanford Mills Museum is to inspire audiences of all ages to explore connections between energy, technology, natural resources and entrepreneurship in rural communities with a focus on sustainable choices.
For more information, visit www.hanfordmills.org or call 607.278.5744.