In the Presence of Trees at Bushnell Park:
A Community Launch

Schedule of Events July 19, 2022

3:30-7:30 pm

  • View a panel exhibit from Trinity College’s Olmsted Series on ‘Frederick Law Olmsted: Landscapes for the Public Good’ highlighting Olmsted’s life and legacy throughout the country

4:30 pm

  • Tour of notable trees by nationally known International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist Matt “Twig” Largess and Trinity professor of applied science Susan Masino, PhD

4:30-5:30 pm

  • Families can ride the Park's 1914 Carousel in the shade of a giant Turkey Oak

4:30-5:30 pm

  • Tour the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch with volunteer Bushnell guides

6:30-7:15 pm

  • JDPP's Ensemble will present a preview dance theater performance

7:15-8:00 pm

  • A talk back with performers, visual designer, and artistic director will follow the show

When I am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Oliver, Mary. “When I am Among the Trees.” Evidence, Beacon Press, 2009.

Dedicated to the late Renata Dixon (March 6, 1959 - January 6, 2022) who truly shone in her life. Renata told her niece more than once, “When I go, I want to be turned into a tree. That’s the way I want to give back.”

Production Credits

Conceived and Directed by Judy Dworin

Visual Designer: Marcela Oteíza

Dances developed with JDPP Ensemble members Mellissa Craig, Emily Daly, Haley Fabrycki, Alexa Fleury, Juanita Harris, Heidi Klecak, Lisa Matias and Kathy Borteck Gersten

Performed by Mellissa Craig, Emily Daly, Haley Fabrycki, Juanita Harris, Mackenzie Longley, Heidi Klecak, and Lisa Matias

Original Score: Daniel Birch

Sound Direction: Ritz Ubides

Production Coordinator: Robin Cullen

Production Assistant: Aarti Lamberg

Please refrain from photographing or recording the performance.

Production Order

Introduction: Charmaine Craig, “Tree Lady of Hartford”

In the Forest

  • Tree Dialogues
    Messengers of the Mother Tree

In the Field

  • Rooting
    Establishing the Network
    Tree in Need
    Rhythm of Connection
    Creating a Shield Heart of the Mother Tree
    Expanding the Community

Talk Back Following

All music copyright Daniel Birch
(listed in order)

Special Thanks to:

Mary Zeman, Bushnell Park Foundation; Charmaine Craig; Dr. Susan Masino, Professor of Applied Science, Trinity College and her student interns, Eloise Gerryand Jeremias Vazquez; Matt Largess, Largess Forestry; Jack Hale and the Hartford Tree Commission; Heather Dionne, Hartford City Forester; Charles Tracy, former National Park Service Landscape Architect; Dr. Suzanne Simard and Robin Wall Kimmerer for their inspirational research and writing and Joe Lea for gifting their books; and the JDPP Board of Directors for their constant dedication and support.

This event was supported in part by Greater Hartford Arts Council, the City of Hartford, CT DECD Office of the Arts, Trinity College, and friends of JDPP like YOU!


Justice Dance Performance Project:

Judy Dworin, Executive and Artistic Director

Kathy Borteck Gersten, Associate Artistic Director

Robyn Genzano, Director of Operations and Community Engagement

Jennifer Eifrig, Development and Communications Director

Suzi Jensen, Programming Coordinator

Yalines Torres, JDPP Fellow in Marketing and Community Outreach

Aarti Lamberg and Mackenzie Longley, JDPP Summer Interns

The Justice Dance Performance Project (JDPP) is a critically acclaimed dance and multi-arts organization. Its mission is to educate, inspire, and ignite awareness, bridging the boundaries of art and social justice to create a more equitable society in ways that spark individual growth and collective action.

In the Presence of Trees: A Series of Performances 2022/2023

In the Presence of Trees will be a series of outdoor, in-person and virtual dance theater performances presented at various sites in Greater Hartford in 2022-23. The piece explores our relationship to trees and the environment and will illumine the way forests can be models for our own communities. At each location, the audience will enter an imagined world of the tree: slow down their sense of time, feel the movements that emanate from stillness and understand the rhythm of the canopy. There is much we can learn from this journey, most especially the significance of trees in the urban, suburban, rural, and wild landscape and their potential to heal our planet and ourselves. The final piece in the series will be accompanied by an art installation at the Pump House gallery in Bushnell Park that recreates the series on video interfaced with artwork depicting where we now stand with trees and climate change and how we can take action for change.

Live performance of freshly invented portions of In the Presence of Trees will be presented at:

  • - Farmington River Park, Bloomfield | October 16, 2022 (rain date 10/23)
  • - Keney Park, Hartford | February 2023
  • - Hartford Public Library film showing date and time TBD
  • - Bushnell Park, Hartford | April 2023

Also, JDPP’s in-school residencies at Hartford’s Parkville Community School and Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan Elementary will be based on the theme of trees and the children’s book The Wisdom of Trees by Lita Judge. These residencies will culminate in a group performance by the children in the spring, hopefully outdoors. In every case, our educative mission through the arts is primary.

The above events are supported by the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation and CT DEEP Urban Forestry Capacity Building Grants. JDPP receives operating support from the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, CT DECD Office of the Arts, CT Humanities, Diebold Foundation, Greater Hartford Arts Council, and others. A complete list of funders is available at

We invite all audience members to take a brief audience survey. Your feedback will help us to continue to monitor the impact of our programs so we can provide the best experience possible for all.

Link to Audience Survey: