Wild Connection: The Podcast

In the Thicket with J Drew Lanham

October 24, 2021

This week I’m thrilled to introduce you to a spectacular scientist, author, poet, and well...human. J Drew Lanham is a professor of cultural and conservation ornithology at Clemsen University, he’s a poet laureate of his home county Edgefield, and the author of two books The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature and Sparrow Envy: Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts

Check out this link to order his books and to read some of his poetry. 
To keep up with Drew on Twitter follow him @wildandincolor

Drew grew up in rural South Carolina where his parents, biology teachers, and his grandmother brimming with ecological knowledge nurtured his passion and curiosity about wildlife and nature. Although he has an unbridled passion for birds, his love of wildlife extends beyond birds. In this episode we talk about everything from how living a mediocre life doesn't serve us (or the world) to the challenges and risk he's faced as a black man out in nature. He uses his work and writings to invite people into the thicket, to see the world and other animals from a different perspective, and in doing so, expand ones empathy for those that are seemingly different.

We wind our way through to how honoring places and landscapes should include all the people, all the history. He expresses so eloquently how without recognition there cannot be reconciliation and without reconciliation there cannot be a rebirth into a new dawn.

Our conversation turns toward how our aggression towards certain species is rooted in cultural narratives, including racism. We revile some species and revere others simply for the way they look. This reveals something about who we are, where we are, and how far from where we need to go to create meaningful change on this planet. Change in how we treat each other and change in how we treat other animals. 

Tune in next week as I pick up this thread and welcome you to revise your perception of some of the most "frightening" "freakish", "ghoulish" animals out there and unpack the history behind how they got their bad reputations. 

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