Kathryn Aalto

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Overview

Exeter, England

Kathryn Aalto is a master storyteller. A landscape historian, garden designer, public speaker & New York Times bestselling author of three books: Nature and Human Intervention (2011), The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh (2015) & Writing Wild (2020).

w: Kathryn Aalto Landscapes

e: kathryn@kathrynaalto.com

Additional Information

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Description

See Kathryn Aalto's website for updates speaking events around the USA at www.kathrynaalto.com.

Kathryn is a contributor to publications such as Sierra, Outside magazine, and the Children and Nature Network. She has appeared on many radio and television programs including NPR's "All Things Considered" and a Channel 4 special with English garden presenter Alan Titchmarsh. Her second book, The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood, was a New York Times Best Seller, a People magazine Best New Pick in Nonfiction, and has been reviewed in newspapers, magazine, radio and television throughout the world.

She is an international public speaker who has given presentations at more than 200 diverse venues including garden clubs, universities, libraries, museums, book festivals, bookstores, botanic gardens, and schools. These include Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, the New York Public Library, Cambridge University, the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Garden Club of Houston, and the Louisiana Book Festival. Book reviews, speaking testimonials, and a full listing of venues can be found below and in her press kit: www.kathrynaalto.com/presskit

 

Audience Testimonials

“Kathryn is a lively, fluid and engaging speaker. She held our audience of 350 for over an hour with a remarkable rendition of the Hundred Acre Woods and many questions thereafter. I noted that a number of us felt as though we wanted to immediately get on a plane and go there, because she made it so personal and real. Kathryn sold dozens of her books, which is always a positive indication of people’s enthusiasm, and a number of people came up just to thank her for taking them back in their mind to a place they very much loved." — Charlotte Burgess Vice President and Dean of Student Life, University of Redlands

 

“Not only was Ms. Aalto thoroughly prepared and professional in her presentation, she was completely charming and engaging to our audience. As a rule, we have a very smart crowd. Ms. Aalto left the crowd delighted and satisfied with their evening out, something that does not always happen with an author presentation! We would gladly have her back for future programs…in fact it cannot be soon enough!” Jacques Lamarre, Director of Communications, The Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT

 

"The Modesto Garden Club is the largest garden club in the United States. Kathryn was one of the best speakers we have ever had. We loved her. It will be difficult to top her."  — Cindy Ott, Events Coordinator, Modesto Garden Club

 

"Kathryn Aalto's event at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina drew a packed house and ranks as one of our Top 5 in 34 years. Her talk about The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh was very informative and at times laugh out loud funny.  Her slides kept the audience interested.  She discussed the real Hundred Acre Wood, A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin, and E. H. Shepard's illustrations.  The audience had fun and lots of folks thanked us for having her here.  And we sold lots of books!" Helen Stewart, Floor Manager, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, North Carolina

 

"I directed Kathryn for a short ‘taster’ film for a pitch of the documentary version of her book ‘The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh’ for BBC Four. I couldn’t have asked for more from a presenter – she was extremely well prepared with excellent, engaging delivery and the ability to take direction and think on her feet. I very much hope we get to work together in the future." Jake Hayes, BBC producer

 

"Kathryn spoke to a large crowd, thoroughly engaging the audience in the details of Ashdown Forest, A.A. Milne’s life, and that of Christopher Robin. Kathryn’s presentation style was direct, warm, and intimate supported by a strong dose of nostalgia from the audience—a winning combination." Pam Thompson, Manager of Adult Education, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

 

“I’ve conducted many on-air interviews throughout the last 20 years. You don’t always know what you’re going to get until you’re actually into the interview. Within 10 seconds of my first question with Kathryn, I knew my audience was in for a real treat. Kathryn was engaging, informative, very much at ease, and immediately sucked me into Winnie-the-Pooh’s world. I now have this penchant to play Poohsticks, and I’ve updated my bucket list to include a visit to Ashdown Forest.”  Bryan Earl, Host of the Zesty Garden, Utah Public Radio

 

"We were honored to welcome Kathryn Aalto to the Hudson Library & Historical Society for a truly memorable evening. Kathryn knows how to engage an audience with the right amount of warmth, insight and humor. Her well-researched multimedia presentation, full of beautiful photographs and even the sounds of nature, captured the delight of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories and the beauty of Ashdown Forest. I know many of us left inspired to revisit the stories as well as embark on our own explorations of nature." Polly Reynolds, Hudson Library & Historical Society, Ohio

 

"Laughter, nostalgia and love of nature were shared during the presentation by Kathryn Aalto at the Modesto Garden Club. Kathryn instantly connected with the large group by divulging memories of her childhood in rural California and recent experiences as an expat living in England. Sharing her love of nature and classic literature, Kathryn's presentation was warm, humorous and erudite and inspired people to dust off their childhood copies of A. A. Milne's classics." — Deborah Thrasher, attendee, Modesto Garden Club

Topics

Each talk weaves together art, history, and nature in engaging, humorous, and visually-rich journeys. The talks are 45 minutes with 15-minutes Q&A. Contact Kathryn with your questions and inquiries: kathryn@kathrynaalto.com. 

 

1. The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest that Inspired the Hundred Acre Wood   A New York Times Bestseller! Join Kathryn Aalto for a nostalgic, visually-rich journey into one of the most iconic settings in children’s literature: the Hundred Acre Wood, a real place in East Sussex, England called Ashdown Forest.  This is where A. A. Milne lived and set the tender adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and his band of friends. Learn about Milne’s extraordinary childhood in the natural world and how he and illustrator E. H. Shepard became the Lennon-McCartney of children’s literature. Discover the fascinating places that inspired the stories as well as rare flora and fauna of the forest. Part travelogue, biography and natural history, the book and talk weaves history and humor as Kathryn grounds the topic in her own move to England in 2007.  Gardeners can play an important role in the development of children as Christopher Robins of the 21st century need their own Hundred Acre Wood. Leave with a new understanding of how the Winnie-the-Pooh books are now, more than ever, field guides for the free range child, hymns to those days of Doing nothing — yet learning everything.  Lecture can be accompanied by workshop on designing landscapes for children.

 

2. Writing Wild: 25 Women Who Shaped the Way We Read the Natural World — Publication date: April 8, 2020. This talk is another engaging, visually-rich, and first-person narrative exploring the intersection of women, history, and nature.  The book and lecture celebrate the Centenary of the Nineteenth Amendement (women's right to vote) and Women's History Month in March each year. Unlike a traditional nature writing anthology, this is nature writing about nature writing, and Kathryn's lecture and book take people on imaginative and memorable journeys over 200 years into the landscapes and literature that inspired classic, overlooked, and new women nature writers over 200 years.  These include gardener and Sissinghurst creator Vita Sackville-West, America's most beloved poet Mary Oliver, conservationist Rachel Carson, the overlooked Dorothy Wordsworth who climbed mountains, the Indiana maverick Gene Stratton-Porter (the J. K. Rowling of the early 20th century), and many other inspiring and influential poets, gardeners, mavericks, scientists, and ramblers who should be common household names. People will laugh and cry through Kathryn's lively lecture while understanding key women who have shaped how we read the natural world. People will begin to understand how women may perceive and write differently about nature than men, how environmentalism can be seen as privilege, and how women of color experience the natural world from a different historical background. Why do we need contact with the natural world through gardens, walking, and wild places? Writing Wild helps people understand why through 25 voices.  Can be accompanied by the following writing workshop.


Your Place in the World/The American Literature of Nature and Place. One of the most distinctive genres in American literature, nature writing is also one of its oldest traditions yet receiving great critical attention. Join Kathryn as she introduces you to the best American nature writing and ways it differs from British nature writing. She discusses the diverse voices and concerns of nature writers citing Thoreau, Burroughs, Muir, Leopold, Carson, Eiseley, Bass, Beston and others. A practical aspect of the seminar can be added for those who want to begin the art and practice of writing about nature called “Your Place in the World.” Full-day, half-day or 2 hour workshop to begin to help people consider their places in the world.

Locations

Based in Devon, England, Kathryn speaks throughout the United States and United Kingdom.

Photo Gallery

Aalto

Audience Reviews

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Engaging guide thru 100 Acre Wood

Anne E. O'Keefe from Rockford, IL - 05/20/2019 16:01:37

Kathryn Aalto is an enchanting story teller and preservationist of the work of A.A. Milne and the nature that inspired his beloved books. The audience was so excited to follow her on her walk thru the Hundred Acre Wood during the “Botanica Luncheon” for Klehm Arboretum & Botanica Gardens. The Rockford Public Library was delighted to have her sign books and talk with guests the evening before at a showing of the movie “Christopher Robin.” She is an engaging and endearing speaker. She wanted to learn all she could about Rockford during her short visit and we would welcome her back anytime. We have so much to learn from her!

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Fantastic, Warm, Engaging Speaker!

Alexander Mills from Rockford - 05/13/2019 08:39:31

Kathryn Aalto recently spoke at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden's annual spring fundraiser ("Botanica: A Gardener's Luncheon") and was so very engaging, warm, personable and knowledgeable that we received compliments many times over on her presentation and the event. We could not have asked for a better person to showcase at our event, and she is highly recommended to any individual or organization seeking a speaker that will provide an outstanding, interesting and highly enjoyable program.

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Speaker Review

Christey Robinson from Oyster Bay - 04/17/2019 12:11:33

Kathryn Aalto spoke on April 11, 2019 at Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island. Her lecture was co-hosted by Old Westbury Gardens, North Country Garden Club and Three Harbors Garden Club, both members of the Garden Club of America. Kathryn's lecture and slide presentation was a wonderful combination of history, horticulture, literature and charm. She is an engaging speaker and delighted her audience with her extensive knowledge of A.A.Milne and the forest that inspired the magical Hundred Acre Wood.