Yesterday marked the beginning of Brunswick's sixth annual Longfellow Days, an event that celebrates the nineteenth-century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The theme of this year's program, "Longfellow and the Landscape: Earth, Sea, and Sky," aims to promote appreciation of the natural world and a message of environmental activism.

Longfellow Days is the work of the Brunswick Downtown Association and Bowdoin College, sponsored by the Nathaniel Davis Fund, the Senter Fund and the Association of Bowdoin Friends.

Longfellow Days 2010, which will run through February 25, features poetry readings, art exhibitions and presentations by local authors and community members, all designed to honor one of Bowdoin's most illustrious alumni. Longfellow was a member of the Class of 1825.

According to Katie McCormick of Frontier Café, where Longfellow Days kicked-off last evening, "The programs scheduled for this year's Longfellow Days highlight the importance of sustainability in the environment, storytelling and a sense of community."

"In Longfellow's writings, one can gather how much the writer respected and cared for his surroundings in nature," she said.

Frontier Café hosted two events last night to mark the beginning of this yearly festival. The first gave members of the Brunswick community the opportunity to meet artist Evelyn Dunphy whose "stunning artwork captures the beauty in Maine's natural surroundings," said McCormick.

"She depicts in her artwork much of what Longfellow noted in his writings." said McCormick.

Dunphy's work will be on display at Frontier Café throughout the month of February.

The Café also hosted renowned gardeners Robin Robinson, Jocelyn Hubbell and Steven Palmer who shared with guests "the art of gardening" and "our connection with our landscapes and their natural beauty," she added.

Yesterday's "Gardens Galore" is not the only gardening event planned for this year's program. Fred Horch will give audience members tips on creating the perfect garden during "Seed Saturday," held on Thursday, February 11 at 7 p.m. The event will be held at F.W. Horch Sustainable Goods on Maine Street.

Food will also play an important role in this year's event.

An oral historian will interview farmers, bakers and cheese makers at Fort Andross's winter farmers' market for "Certified Organic Fun" on February 13 at 11 a.m.

The College will host "Very Nourish: A Locavore Dinner" on Wednesday, February 10. The evening will feature a dinner buffet that will include food supplied by local farmers and dairymen as well as presentations by members of the College community involved in sustainability efforts.

Poetry and prose presentations are, of course, on the agenda for this year's Longfellow Days. A three-part "Poets in the Community" series will be held at the Curtis Memorial Library on February 7, 14 and 21 at 1 p.m., during which time local poets will read their works.

Students from Morse, Mount Ararat and Brunswick High Schools will also read their prize-winning stories to audiences at The Theater Project on Saturday, February 20 at 7 p.m for "Environmental Songs and Stories." The students will be joined by performers Kat Logan, Jim Loney and Grace Lewis McLaren, as well as storyteller Pat Gerdiner for an entertaining evening of environmental advocacy through literature.

The program will come to a close on February 25 with "Behind the Landscapes at the Museum," a guided tour of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art's two exhibitions, "Learning to Paint: American Artists and European Art, 1876-1893" and "Grounded: Two Centuries of American Landscape."

Led by Museum Director Kevin Salatino, the tour will focus on works that celebrate the natural world.

A complete list of events, many of which are free, can be found at