Dec 7th 2022

Our next reading group gathering is Wednesday, December 7 at 7 PM. Among other things, we will be discussing Chapter 10: Camp Sites, Fires, and Cud-Chewers; or How Upland Forest Changes, Illinois to Wisconsin

Join us for an evolving reading group, named after our seed text ‘Reading the Landscape’ by May Theilgaard Watts. The 1957 edition of this work carried the subtitle: ‘An Adventure in Ecology’ and this is what we wish our group reading and discussion to be – purposefully following where the text/landscape takes us. You do not have to read a particular book to join or participate in this group. With ‘Reading the Landscape’ as a starting prompt, we will chart and document the unpredictable path of ourselves reading, as the group spreads out to follow individual curiosities, and gathers together to share what they have learned. Broad themes under discussion are related to Chicagoland, Ecology, and Art – and we have started a small give-a-book, take-a-book library in Berger Park Culture Center to reflect and share related texts.

May Theilgaard Watts was a naturalist at The Morton Arboretum, and many of the ecologies examined in ‘Reading the Landscape’ are in close proximity to the City, including the Indiana Dunes, Rock River, Wisconsin lakes and forests, Wheatland prairie, Chicagoland highways, and elsewhere.

Roman Susan will aim to have a handful of copies of ‘Reading the Landscape’ we can loan to anyone who would like to participate. Right now we are reading the second edition of this work, ‘Reading the Landscape of America’ which was published 18 years after the first publication. This edition includes postscripts to chapters that revisit landscapes described decades earlier. You can start wherever you want – first version, revised, or something else entirely, in the spirit of ‘An Adventure in Ecology’ – let us know what you find!

For additional biographical information about May Theilgaard Watts, and to view samples of the diagrammatic and botanical drawing style which are found throughout her published texts, please visit The Morton Arboretum online archive:

This event is being shared at Berger Park Cultural Center as part of Movement Studies – a programming series investigating social and environmental transitions.



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