This coming year will mark the 50th spring since Ken Norris started the first natural history field course at UC Santa Cruz. To commemorate this remarkable milestone, the Norris Center is planning a series of events this year: 50 Years of Wonder, Celebrating the First Half Century of Natural History at UC Santa Cruz. At this first of four events, we will make a brief announcement/invitation to all our students/alumni to join us at our series of events over the next six months. These events will culminate in a large in-person gathering on June 3–5, 2022.
At this first virtual event, we have invited author and wildlife biologist Dr. J. Drew Lanham to speak to the UC Santa Cruz natural history community about the convergence of the environmental and social justice movements. In many ways, we at UC Santa Cruz are a developing example of the convergence of what these two movements look like at the university level. For example, we have two of our themed residential colleges named after luminaries in both movements: Rachel Carson College and our recently named John Lewis College. With this background in mind, we have asked Dr. Lanham to speak to us about this and other related ideas in his recent essay “A Convergent Imagining.”
We encourage everyone attending this talk to first read Dr. Lanham’s essay. Dr. Lanham will first talk more about how these two movements can positively influence the other, how we might better teach natural history to include and inspire future naturalists from all backgrounds, and what he thinks the next 50 years of natural history/environmentalism will look like. After his talk, there will be a short question and answer session.
This event is co-sponsored by the Norris Center for Natural History, the Institute for Social Transformation, Rachel Carson College, and John Lewis College.
Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department, Clemson University
J. Drew Lanham is a native of Edgefield and Aiken, South Carolina. In his twenty years as Clemson University faculty he’s worked to understand how forest management impacts wildlife and how human beings think about nature. Dr. Lanham holds an endowed chair as an Alumni Distinguished Professor and was named an Alumni Master Teacher in 2012. In his teaching, research, and outreach roles, Drew seeks to translate conservation science to make it relevant to others in ways that are evocative and understandable. As a Black American he’s intrigued with how culture and ethnic prisms can bend perceptions of nature and its care.
Drew strongly believes that conservation must be a blending of head and heart; rigorous science and evocative art. He is active on a number of conservation boards including the SC Wildlife Federation. South Carolina Audubon, Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote and the American Birding Association. He is an inaugural Fellow of the Audubon-Toyota Together Green initiative and is a member of the advisory board for the North American Association of Environmental Education. Drew is a Fellow of the Clemson University Institute for Parks and was named a 2016 Brandwein Fellow for his work in Environmental Education.
Dr. Lanham is a widely published author and award-nominated poet, writing about his experiences as a birder, hunter and wild, wandering soul. His first solo work, The Home Place-Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature was published in 2016-17.