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PRESS RELEASE: Simsbury Free Library Announces “Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters” Author Talk and Other April Events



March 9, 2017 | Simsbury, CT – The Simsbury Free Library is excited to announce a special event with professional landscape architect and author Bibi Gaston as well as its regular and popular Drop In Book Club and Genealogy programs.

Author Talk: Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters

Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

Bibi Gaston returns to the Simsbury Free Library to discuss her new book, Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters: The Untold Story of the Brave Men and Women Who Launched the American Conservation Movement. Gaston came across her great granduncle Gifford Pinchot’s collection of letters, over 5,000 pages, from his first class of foresters while researching her last book.


In her new book, author Bibi Gaston crafts a heart-felt narrative for challenging times, chronicling the early days of the American conservation movement while suggesting a service-based approach to environmental issues similar to the one that was created one hundred years ago when her great-granduncle, Gifford Pinchot, was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to run the newly created U.S. Forest Service. Having studied 5,000 pages of previously unpublished letters exchanged by Pinchot and the men and women who worked with him, Gaston has an excellent grasp of the significant challenges the early forest officers faced in tackling environmental problems while preserving and protecting public resources as Pinchot said, to serve the “greatest good for the greatest number in the long run.” Gaston says, “In the letters, we find that environmental issues were addressed through organization, careful listening, planning, education, and negotiation. That was the job of Pinchot’s forest officers, and it was no easy job.”

Gaston says, “Kindness, courtesy, and listening to one another went a long way, for example, in dealing with problems and conditions on the range, water conservation and wildfire suppression. Forest officers went above and beyond the call of duty to make peace, so did Pinchot, whose presence at various cattlemen’s meetings was said to have turned rancor to understanding.”

The event is free to members and teachers; $5 for non-members. To make a reservation or for more information, please call 860-408-1336 or email Books will be available for purchase ($22.95 each) and author signing following the program.

About the Author

A nationally recognized and fully licensed professional landscape architect, Bibi Gaston has provided landscape architecture, site planning and design services for public and private clients throughout the United States since 1986. Also an author, Gaston had her first book, “The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries and Her Granddaughter’s Search for Home,” published by William Morrow/ Harper Collins in hardback in 2008 and by Harper Perennial in a paperback edition in 2009.

Drop In Book Club – A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 11:15 a.m.

From Amazon: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.”

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

New members in search of great book discussions and even better company are always welcome at the SFL’s Drop In Book Club. Readers are welcome any time they are interested in the SFL’s monthly book. Past book discussions have included The Boys in the Boat, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and One Thousand White Women. Free. No reservation needed. For more information, call (860) 408-1336 or email

Drop In Genealogy

Saturdays, April 8 and 22, 2017 from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.; Thursdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Researching your family tree and don’t know where else to look to find missing ancestors? Bring any information you have and let genealogist Marilyn Giese help. Giese has over 40 years of experience. She specializes in researching vital records and land records, as well as immigration and colonial records. She has particular expertise in New England, Canada, Scotland, England, and Ireland. Free to members and teachers; $5 for non-members. To make a reservation or for more information, call (860) 408-1336 or email

About the Simsbury Free Library

The Simsbury Free Library (the Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library) opened on the second floor of the Hopmeadow District School in 1874. In 1890, the Library’s collection was moved to its present location at 749 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. Today the Simsbury Free Library (SFL) seeks to promote interest in genealogy and history by providing access to research material and expertise, artifacts, and educational and cultural programs. It seeks to help patrons connect with the past and to learn from and be inspired by those who have gone before them. The SFL provides a relaxed setting in which people can pursue family research history at their own pace. For everyone from seasoned genealogy veterans to beginners, the SFL has the staff and resources necessary to help visitors develop the skills required to create family trees, search local histories, look up census records, explore vital records, etc.

The Simsbury Free Library – the Gracious Yellow Lady – is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. as well as by appointment. To RSVP or for more information, visit or call (860) 408-1336.

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