In celebration of the bicentennial of Henry David Thoreau’s birth in 2017, there are a number of collaborative digital projects being developed, including SUNY Geneseo’s Digital Thoreau (both an online community that discusses Walden through annotations and a digitization of the book’s many revisions) and the University of Maine’s digitization of Thoreau’s phenological manuscripts.

“Walden Alive” is an audio-visual dictionary of Walden, and—if you will add your voice—has the potential to be a collaborative experiential learning project.  

Much like Thoreau’s experience living along Walden Pond in the 1840s, the act of reading Walden in the 21st century should also be an experience. The heart of this project consists of what I like to call Walden-show-and-tell: using short videos and photographs taken by collaborators (with absolutely no restrictions on who can collaborate, aside from the ability to record oneself at Walden Pond) to make Walden REAL to its 21st century readers, many of whom may never get the chance to visit Walden Pond.

These crowd-sourced videos and images would allow readers around the world to get a glimpse of Walden Pond while they are reading Thoreau’s Walden.

To get an overview of “Walden Alive,” feel free to Take a Digital Field Trip of Walden Pond, and also see an example of a writing project this audio-visual dictionary can facilitate.  If you’d rather dive right into Thoreau’s text, you can navigate using the drop-down menu under “Digital Field Trip,” or go directly to Ch. 1 “Economy.”

An audio-visual example from Chapter 9: