Nature-lovers are coming again to Warwick from all over the Northeast for the annual Woodlanders Gathering, a four-day camping, craft and nature-exploration event at The Warwick Center. It starts Thursday, August 22 and closes Sunday, August 25.
“It’s a mix of a family picnic and a summer nature camp ,” says Warwick artist Daniel Mack, who has been organizing these events since 2000. “It’s for people who like to be in nature and make things” About fifty people, of all ages, are expected.
Mack rents the Campgrounds at the Warwick Center on Hoyt Rd and sets up big tents and tables with lots of tools and materials. “But the special draw is discovering other people who share the same deep interest in the natural world. The visiting is probably more important than the making.“
Sharing seems to be an important word for the Woodlanders Gathering. The participants all bring interesting things to swap and share. “There’s a big tarp piled with things people can take and leave.”
Besides the tables of fifteen or more self-guided activities, there are scheduled workshops taught by the people who come. This year Don Moss is teaching Stone casting, Andrea Colman is doing Papermaking, Daniel Mack is doing a Small Chair workshop and there are others in Making Wands, Printing with log ends and Poetry. The poets want to talk about “eco-poetry” and take people on a “Ginko” which is a walk or hike where haiku poetry is composed.
The schedule is just one feature of the Gathering. Like so many things, Mack says, it’s a work-in-progress. “We’ve learned to leave enough time for the spontaneous and accidental happenings.” One year a supposedly short demonstration on making “Bullroarers” went for two hours and last year someone noticed some fox scat near the campfire and that led to an hour of examination and talk. “ We look for those chance moments.”
Lunch and dinner are cooked on an open fire right on the site. Adam Hamer of Wantage, NJ is the chief chef and organizer. His family and people at the Gathering help him out.
This is the 23rd Woodlanders Gathering. It’s happened in Maine, Wisconsin and The Catskills. Mack likes the Warwick Center with its 465-acres of beautiful natural features.
The event is open to casual visitors and is family-friendly. To participate, there is a suggested fee of $50/day or pay what you can. Camping and food costs are extra. For more information and schedule: