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Robin Wall Kimmerer to give 2021 Spencer Lecture for The Commons

Mon, 01/25/2021

LAWRENCE — Acclaimed writer, professor and scientist Robin Wall Kimmerer will give the 2021 Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture at 7 p.m. April 1. The event will be broadcast live.

A member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer is known for the universal teachings offered in her 2015 book, "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants." She is an SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, where she is the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs that draw on the wisdom of indigenous and scientific knowledge to offer lessons for humanity. Kimmerer’s first book, "Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses," was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and it explores systems and communities of different moss species, sharing observations of these tiny creatures that can teach humans about their own positions in the world.

Kimmerer holds a bachelor's degree in botany from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, a master's degree and doctorate 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. She lives in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.

The Kenneth A. Spencer Lecture is hosted by The Commons annually to invite leading thinkers, whose work applies across disciplines, to address the University of Kansas and regional communities. In recent years, the lecture series has featured architectural biologist Jessica Green, comedian Andy Borowitz, writer/activist Margaret Atwood, writer/historian Rebecca Solnit, poet/scholar/artist Eve Ewing, activist/writer Jose Antonio Vargas and author/illustrator/screenwriter Jonny Sun.

Anyone needing special accommodations may contact The Commons staff for assistance via email.

Photo credit: Dale Kakkak



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