On Sunday September 9th the Bronck Museum near Coxsackie will be offering “Beavers and Others Beasts”, the final program in the Bronck Family in the Wilderness series exploring the elements of the natural world that shaped the lives of early European settlers like the Broncks.
It may be hard to make the case that any single animal in the Dutch colonie of New Netherland was of greater importance than Castor Canadensis, the North American beaver. It might even be possible to argue that without the beaver the colonie would never have developed at all. That said the beaver was one of many beasts large and small, furry, scaly, slimy, or feathered that shaped the day to day life of the colonists of New Netherland. The indigenous animals of the dense forests of the Hudson Valley were, from the point of view of the first Europeans unfamiliar and threatening. Europeans even considered the possibility that the deep dark forests of North America might be home to the curly tailed unicorn an animal, that as everyone knew, disappeared from Europe millennia ago. European settlers brought a considerable number of what we have come to understand as invasive species to North America including, cattle, swine and horses. And there were other European animals like the cat and the rat that came unbidden and were not welcomed upon arrival. The introduction and eventual proliferation of European animals combined with manmade alterations to the natural environment had wide ranging implications for the indigenous human and animal populations of New Netherland.
Please plan to join Bronck Museum Curator, Shelby Mattice, as she explores the encounters of early Dutch settlers with “Beavers and Other Beasts”. The program begins at 2:30pm on Sunday September 9th in the reading room of the Vedder Research Library on the grounds of the Bronck Museum.