The History of Marblehead’s Conservation Efforts: An “Appetizer” for the Postponed April 2020 Exhibit!

One of the Abbot Public Library’s most prized spaces is our Virginia A. Carten Gallery, named for the local artist whose bequest made the creation of this community treasure possible. Each year, a series of varied month-long exhibits is presented in the Gallery, featuring the work of area artists and other displays of interest.

A special exhibit, prepared by the Marblehead Conservancy, on the history of Marblehead’s conservation efforts was planned for April 2020. The exhibit uses aerial photographs, maps, and a video to tell the story of natural open space conservation during the development of Marblehead.

Although the Library’s closure, due to COVID-19, has required the postponement of this show, we would like to give you a small taste of its content. 

Watch this two-minute animation, produced for the April exhibit, showing how Marblehead grew and filled in, starting in 1636 and ending in 2018. As the town began to fill, far-sighted individuals started a conservation movement to set aside natural open space for future generations. The video highlights each of the Town’s natural open spaces and shows the date that conservation efforts for a particular area began.

1954 Aerial photos of Marblehead showing conservation areas on a current map of Marblehead. Courtesy of the Marblehead Conservancy.


Aerial photos overlaid on a map highlight several conservation areas. See if you can spot Hawthorn Pond (pictured in the post header), Robinson and Jermyn Farms, Turner Woods, and a corner of Seaside Park.

When the exhibit takes place, images like this will be displayed as 4 ft. wide by 3 ft. high prints. Viewers also will see detailed historical information on all the publicly accessible natural open space conservation areas of the town, showing how the areas were obtained, when, and from whom. It’s a fascinating journey through time and space — a different perspective on Marblehead’s history!

Highlighting Poet Wendell Berry In Celebration of National Poetry Month and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

The Peace of Wild Things
By Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Critics and scholars have acknowledged Wendell Berry as a master of many literary genres, but whether he is writing poetry, fiction, or essays, his message is essentially the same: humans must learn to live in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth or perish (The Poetry Foundation).

One good place to find “The Peace of Wild Things” and other poetry by Wendell Berry is in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry.
The 100 poems in this collection were chosen by the author, selected from nine collections of his poetry, published between 1957 and 1996. Showing the  development of Berry’s work over a period of four decades, the themes remain consistent — land and nature, family and community, and tradition as the foundation for life and culture. 

The Selected Poems and more than 50 other works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by Berry are available on hoopla, which are available free to Marblehead residents with a library card. If you don’t have a card, find out how you can get one on the FAQ page

Learn more about the history of Earth Day and how the celebration is going digital for 2020.

On the occasion of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, we also recognize the Marblehead Conservancy’s commitment to protect and preserve spaces throughout the town where wild nature can be experienced and enjoyed by all of us.

Share your favorite nature photos on the Abbot Public Library’s Facebook page!