By Richard Telford
The Connecticut Audubon Society is now accepting applications for the 2014 Edwin Way Teale Artists-in-Residence at Trail Wood program. Through the program, inaugurated in 2013, CAS invites written word and visual artists chosen through a juried process to spend one week in residence at the former home of Pulitzer Prize-winning naturalist writer Edwin Way Teale. The home is situated in the 168-acre Edwin Way Teale Memorial Sanctuary, which Yankee Magazine in 2013 named as one of Connecticut’s two best nature sanctuaries.
The sanctuary still contains the trails cut by Edwin and Nellie Teale, for which they named the site Trail Wood, and these continue to be maintained by CAS. Edwin’s site observations, as well as some of Nellie’s, are thoroughly documented in the two books he wrote about Trail Wood, A Naturalist Buys an Old Farm and A Walk Through the Year. Prospective applicants are encouraged to read one or both of these works in order to more fully understand the intent of this program. The sanctuary is open to the public but generally experiences low visitorship, allowing a solitary and contemplative experience conducive to the creative process.
While in residence, artists are encouraged to practice their craft in a way that is contextualized both by the natural dynamics of the site and by its role in American natural history writing. Edwin’s writing study is still preserved exactly as it was at the time of his death in 1980. The home’s caretaker can provide visiting artists with access to the study.Presently, residencies are scheduled for the summer months.
With planned further restoration of the Teale home, an 1801 center-chimney Cape Cod, CAS hopes to expand the residency offerings to a year-round schedule.
After the completion of the residency, participating writers and visual artists will be invited to attend a follow-up event, Trail Wood Under the Harvest Moon, held annually on-site in October. At this event, each resident artist is expected to read and/or present a sampling of work completed during the residency. This work can be in process. The residency application can be found here. It provides a much fuller explanation of the program.
Should you have further questions, you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I presently serve as the program’s Coordinator. If you are looking to learn more about Edwin Way Teale, I have posted several essays on this site on or related to him, and these may serve as a starting point for a fuller inquiry.