Songscape: Great Mountain Forest

July 11-14, 2016

Our Green Roster member, Jake Klar, went out for a Songscape songwriting retreat this summer at Great Mountain Forest in Connecticut.


Great Mountain Forest, a nonprofit based in the northwest corner of Connecticut, has been doing conservation work for a LONG time. In 1909, as the Conservation movement was just getting its legs, two New York businessmen established a reserve to protect dwindling forests that were ecologically impoverished by the unsustainable production of charcoal for the local iron industry. Beginning with 400 acres, Great Mountain Forest now covers over 6,000, and thanks to  a hundred years of conservation, wildlife have rebounded and the forest is once again healthy. Great Mountain Forest is recognized across the Northeast for its sustainable forest management, education programs, and commitment to forest research.

Great Mountain Forest is also a working forest- meaning they actively harvest forest products, such as lumber (some of which is used in Ukelele necks by a local luthier), pine boughs for holiday wreaths, and maple syrup. It's an aspect that Jake Klar will get to experience first hand during the Songscape retreat.


Klar, based out of Northampton, MA, creates honest songs with a gritty, bluesy feel. As Lynne Bertrand writes, “His music seeks to turn a simple tune into something that connects us to both the stories and emotions that make our experiences worth remembering.” It’ll be exciting to see how Klar turns his experiences at Great Mountain Forest into his signature style of music.


As a Green Roster member, Klar cares deeply about the environment and has taken steps to reduce his environmental impact by hand-printing CD packaging on reused materials, keeping waste to a minimum and supporting local food production. This year, he is also recycling all of his used guitar strings and keeping them out of landfills. Klar also deeply appreciates natural places and public lands. He recently spent three weeks hiking and camping around Big Bend National Park in far west Texas.

On July 11th, Great Mountain Forest welcomed Jake Klar for a 4-day Songscape retreat. Klar spent time exploring the area, learning about the land’s history, participated in forestry first hand, and lived off-the-grid in a lakeside cabin. Klar has composed a song inspired by his Songscape: Great Mountain Forest experience, and we have top notch footage for a music video. The song was professionally recorded at Dirt Floor on November 7th, and will be donated to GMF to use in their marketing materials. Once Klar’s song is released, song sales will help support Sustain, GMF, and Klar’s music.


Check out our announcement blog post here.


Klar has finished his residency and written a song! Music video footage is currently under editing mode, and we'll keep you posted about anticipated release dates! 

Klar at the cabin by Tobey Pond in Great Mountain Forest.

Klar at the cabin by Tobey Pond in Great Mountain Forest.

Jake Klar out in the meadows of Great Mountain Forest.

Jake Klar out in the meadows of Great Mountain Forest.