Songscape: Great Mountain Forest

July 11-14, 2016

Released: September 13, 2017

Our Green Roster member, Jake Klar, participated in a Songscape songwriting retreat at Great Mountain Forest in Connecticut last summer.

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 100 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 experienced 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.”



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 "Tallyman", a song inspired by his Songscape: Great Mountain Forest experience and the generations or foresters sustained by GMF. You can watch it in the music video at the top of the page. The song was professionally recorded, and has been donated to GMF to use in their marketing materials. Please purchase the song HERE as song sales help support Sustain, GMF, and Klar’s music.

Further Reading

Check out our announcement blog posts here and here.

 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.