The Tanager Tradition

Tanager Lodge was established in 1925 by Fay Welch, an experienced naturalist, musician, college professor, and camp director. At the forefront of the movement in the early 20th century both to conserve the wilderness for its intrinsic value and as a source of recreation, he designed Tanager to meet his ideals.

Mr. Welch developed his camp philosophy through experiences with the Native Americans of the southwest and New York State’s Iroquois as well as his close friendship with the writer, artist, and naturalist, Ernest Thompson Seton. Prior to establishing Tanager Lodge, he planned and organized other children’s camps throughout the U.S. and worked on behalf of New York City’s Museum of Natural History and the Dalton School.

For almost 60 years, Mr. Welch was the guiding spirit and hands-on director of Tanager Lodge, and for much of that time he shared his responsibility with his wife, Frances. They oversaw its growth from an initial eight campers and two tents to its present size of 48 campers, 20 tents, and watercraft ranging from the original wood and canvas canoes to kayaks and paddle boards. Today the Tanager tradition continues under the supervision of their son, Tad, and Ali Schultheis Moore.

As one of the oldest, family-owned, continually operated camps in the country, we have remained dedicated to Mr. Welch’s goals of offering a truly wilderness experience, without phone or electricity, for children of all backgrounds. The encroachment of modern technology into almost every aspect of daily life has made the Tanager experience more valuable than ever before.