Mark Baldwin Speaks at the Marvin House

The August Marvin House membership luncheon featured Mark Baldwin, director of education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

His visual presentation focused on the life of Roger Tory Peterson, the son of Swedish and German immigrants. Peterson was born and raised in Jamestown and grew up on Bowen Street. Photos of many area locations that were important in Peterson’s life were shown and discussed.

Peterson was inspired by his seventh grade science teacher at Washington Junior High School, Blanche Hornbeck, who encouraged students to belong to the Junior Audubon Club. The nature in the local forest areas was used to help teach writing, art, and science. While hiking in the Swede Hill area, Peterson’s experience of witnessing a Northern Flicker fly away from a seemingly lifeless form, changed his life. He later stated, “Like a resurrection. I came to believe birds are the most vivid reflection of life. It made me aware of the world in which we live.”

A summer job painting furniture at the Union National Furniture Company gave Peterson the confidence and encouragement to go to art school. He continued working for several years and then attended art school in New York City and later worked in Boston as a teacher. Several of his paintings had been on display and drew considerable attention. In 1933, Peterson published a new type of guidebook, A Field Guide to the Birds. Today, more than 7 million copies have been sold, with 52 field guides making up the Peterson Field Guide Series.

For the past 20 years, Baldwin has worked with teachers throughout the United States to infuse their curriculum with the outdoors and the natural world. He has a special interest in keeping personal nature journals to observe and record natural events and teaching the discipline to others. Since 1990, he has taught his craft to more than 3,000 students, teachers, and amateur naturalists. Baldwin also has a longtime interested in place-based education, especially creating maps and using them as tools for evoking a sense of place in both children and adults.

Baldwin was born in Jamestown, received a bachelor’s degree in biology and secondary education from the State University at Fredonia and a masters degree in teaching from Antioch University. He has taught middle school and high school science in Alaska, Vermont and New York. He lives in Jamestown with his wife, Ardy. They have two daughters, Kristin and Kelly.

RTPI is a national, nonprofit nature-education organization with its headquarters in Jamestown. Dedicated to preserving the collections and legacy of Dr. Peterson, RTPI’s mission is to create passion for and knowledge of the natural world in the hearts and minds of children by inspiring and guiding the study of nature. The mission reflects the belief that people who develop awareness and passion for the natural world will become committed to its preservation. Roger Tory Peterson saw himself first as a teacher, and he used his exquisite skills in painting, photography, and writing to bring the wonders of nature to everyone.

Beth Trosper, Marvin House president, welcomed everyone and gave an invocation relating to geese. She thanked the volunteers who assisted at the luncheon, including Sue Schifano who served as cashier, and Jan Gibson who was the greeter. Bird themed door prizes were awarded to Mark Baldwin, Faye Patterson, and Donnell Wiltsie. The July and August birthdays were celebrated by Eleanor Carr, Maureen Dimas, Jan Gibson, Sue Schifano, Donnell Wiltsie and Jane Winter. Each received a special birthday cupcake and decorative candle. Guests included Dorothy Galati as well as two visitors from Sweden, Catarina Granborn and Sofia Granborn.

The Sept. 19 meeting will feature Capt. Todd Isaacson of the Jamestown Police Department. His presentation will be “Situational Awareness for Women.” To make reservations or for more information about membership, call 488-6206 by Monday, Sept. 16.

The Marvin Community House was left to the women of Jamestown in 1951 by Elizabeth Warner Marvin. The home was opened to women’s groups whose purpose is the moral and mental improvement of women in literary, musical, educational, patriotic, scientific and historical fields. You may learn more by visiting The Marvin Community House on Facebook or on the web :