16th Annual Thoreau Wabanaki Festival 

Wednesday July 20  
Heaven Beneath Our Feet: Mindful Exploration of the Maine Woods
with Naturalist Wendy Weiger, 6:30 pm

North Bay Moosehead Lake

Dr. Wendy Weiger, a naturalist writer and former medical researcher, left
academe for the wilds of northern Maine. In winter she lives solo off the grid in the woods and has logged many years writing about the mountains, woods and waters of the Moosehead Lake region. Her presentation is a guide through all the seasons of the Maine Woods, with a focus on details that are easy to miss to the untrained eye. With a spiritual bend to her outdoor practices, she shares her own experiences of living connected to the natural world.  

Thursday July 21 
* Nature Walk with Wildlands Expert Alexandra Conover Bennett, 9:00 am
* Meet at the Moosehead Cultural Heritage Center, 6 Lakeview St., Greenville
before driving a short distance to a nearby mountain path
Ungava Trek with Alexandra Conover Bennett, 1:00 pm
Alexandra Conover Bennett knows the wildlands intimately, having lived in the woods and on the water most of her life. She is an expert canoe and snowshoe guide, and identifier of birds, plants, and animals.
Her specialty is in how to live, travel, and survive in the northern boreal woods. She made a 350-mile snowshoe trip across the Ungava Peninsula, Québec, refining her skills by living with indigenous friends and learning their traditional ways. Ungava Trek details this extraordinary journey in a northern winter. The morning nature walk with her promises to be an unparalleled stroll into the Maine woods, where participants will see, hear, and remember the woods in an entirely new way.  
Penobscot Sense of Place with Tribal Historian James E. Francis, Sr., 6:30 pm
James Eric Francis, Sr. is the Tribal Historian and Director of the Penobscot Nation Department of Cultural and Historic Preservation. In Sense of Place, come find out first-hand about the legend of Mt. Kineo, and how moose are part of a Penobscot creation story. Mr. Francis traces the origin of Native geographic place names in Maine, including throughout the Moosehead Lake Region, their meaning in Penobscot lore and legend, and their ancient homeland ties to these woods and waterways. A dynamic speaker, at once funny and informative, he also brings to light Thoreau’s life-long relationship to Indian culture, now universally quoted in today’s general public. 

Friday July 22  
Tracing Thoreau’s Trip into the Maine Woods
with Maine Woods Forever Board Member Paul Johnson, 1:00 pm
Paul Johnson is on the Board of Directors of Maine Woods Forever, a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating and protecting the legacy of Maine’s forests and woodlands. He is a retired fishery biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in the Moosehead Lake Region, where he became familiar with the woods and waters visited by Thoreau. Tracing Thoreau shows places that Thoreau visited and the things he observed, many of which can be seen today just as Thoreau saw them more than 165 years ago. He details Thoreau’s three trips into the Maine Woods, two of which were launched from Moosehead Lake with Penobscot guides, whose ways of life influenced Thoreau’s own ideas about nature and conservation.
All About Bees ~ Our Native Pollinators with Bee Botanist Matthew Scott, 4:00 pm
Matthew Scott is a retired Aquatic Biologist for the State of Maine and co-founder of the Maine State Beekeepers Association. His interest in honey bees began as a student, with an introductory course in entomology. After advanced aquatic entomology courses, he decided to become a beekeeper. After 57 years, he’s still doing it, with a particular interest in Bee Botany and Climate Change. All About Bees introduces the life of different bee species and the importance of their distinctive roles as pollinators in our natural world. He maintains five colonies of honey bees and manages a woodlot on his 100-farm in central Maine.

Saturday – Monday, July 23-25   
Last Leg of Thoreau’s Trip with Penobscot Guides

Penobscot Guide Jason Pardilla

Last Leg follows the last section of Thoreau’s 1857 canoe trip on the Penobscot  River, made famous in his book The Maine Woods. Like Thoreau, paddlers will learn under the wing of Penobscot guides about Wabanaki heritage and Penobscot connection to the landscape. 

Saturday and Sunday are spent immersed in cultural activities on the Penobscot’s Sugar Island. Days may include making your own basket, paddling a birch bark canoe, nature & plant exploratory walks, flint knapping, or wood carving; evenings in a talking circle around the campfire, with drumming & singing demonstrations. Meals offer some traditional Penobscot fare. Monday after breakfast, paddlers move downstream from Sugar Island to Indian Island, load out, have lunch together & visit the Penobscot Nation Museum before saying goodbyes. 

Registration is limited, advanced sign-up required. Cost is $325/person; includes all but personal gear. To register,
contact the Moosehead Historical Society

If we listen to the songs of the water 
and the whispers on the wind, 
we will feel the heartbeat of Mother 
Earth, and all creation will continue to breathe

                                  — Wabanaki saying

Festival is made in partnership by the Moosehead Historical Society,
the Penobscot Nation Cultural & Historic Preservation Dept., Maine Woods Forever, MHS Member Donor