The Teachings of Plants: Finding Common Ground Between Traditional and Scientific Knowledge

Event time: 
Monday, February 13, 2017 - 4:00pm
Whitney Humanities Center, Auditorium See map
53 Wall Street
New Haven 06510
Event description: 

Drawing on her life as an indigenous plant scientist, a teacher, a writer and a mother, Professor Kimmerer will lecture on topics found in her award-winning book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, in which she shows how plants—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.  In traditional ecological knowledge, plants are regarded not only as persons, but as among our oldest teachers.  If plants are our teachers, what are they teaching us and how can we be better students?  In a rich braid of ecological science, indigenous philosophy and literary reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she explores and celebrates the material and cultural gifts of plants and our responsibilities for reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.

She holds a B.S. in botany from SUNY ESF, an M.S. and Ph.D. in botany from the University of Wisconsin, and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology.  As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land.  She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.