Thornton Burgess was a master at telling charming stories of well-dressed loveable creatures that captivated little boys and girls, but there is a very real and authentic tone to his works. He was an avid supporter of wildlife preservation and protection programs. For instance the Green Meadow Clubs and the Radio Nature League, a popular weekly radio show he started in 1924, was aimed at educating and creating awareness of animal and environmental issues that are just as relevant today. In 1925 he moved to Hampden, Massachusetts. He was awarded an Honorary doctorate in Literature on 20 June 1938 from Northeastern University. The Boston Museum of Science bestowed upon him a special gold medal "for leading children down the path to the wide wonderful world of the outdoors." His last publication was Now I Remember (1960), a memoir focusing on his early days in Sandwich and his life as a writer. He died on 5 June 1965 at the age of 91. He is buried in the Springfield Cemetery in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, alongside his first wife Nina.
The Thornton W. Burgess Society in Sandwich, Massachusetts was founded in 1976. The non-profit educational organization is "to inspire reverence for wildlife and a concern for the natural environment" which Burgess devoted his life to. The Green Briar Nature Centre is located in Sandwich, Massachusetts. Burgess's home in Hampden was purchased by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which owns and operates it as the Laughing Brook Education Centre and Wildlife Sanctuary.
"To the most beautiful of our four-footed friends in the green forest, with the hope that this little volume may, in some degree, aid in the protection of the innocent and helpless."--conservationist and extraordinary children's author Thornton W. Burgess, from his dedication to Lightfoot the Deer (1921)
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