Monday, September 22, 2014

Bertha Rogers, Planting Wilderness: Hanford Hills Museum

     The interdisciplinary exhibit, Planting Wildness: Finding Roots in Delaware County, by  Bertha Rogers is now on view in the Museum's Power House through October 4th. The exhibit includes mixed media artworks, photographs, an accompanying video by Rogers and Jack Schluep (on view in Horace Hanford's Retirement Office), and logging artifacts from the Hanford Mills Museum collection.  
     Rogers's 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 was established in 1902, the first in the nation, and major planting programs were begun. By the 1920s, forests were being replanted throughout the state, bringing back woodland to Delaware County and the State. Rogers shows how the land has changed since the Europeans settled in Delaware County. 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
Interdisciplinary Artist & Poet Bertha Rogers
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 exhibit is on view during the Museum's regular hours, 10 am - 5 pm, Wednesdays through Sundays.
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. The reading and reception on October 4 is funded by Poets & Writers, Inc. and Hanford Mills Museum, and will include a discussion about Rogers's 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 and in several collections, including Heart Turned Back, The Fourth Beast, and Sleeper, You Wake. Her translation of the Anglo-Saxon Epic poem Beowulf was published in 2000, and her translation of the riddles from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book is forthcoming. 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.gister now!

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