J. Drew Lanham
Program Title: Coloring the Conservation Conversation
Dr. Lanham is a writer, poet, ecologist, and an extraordinary birder. He is a Distinguished Alumni Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University, a National Audubon board member, and a contributor to Bird Note on NPR. His focus is on the ecology of songbirds and the intersections of race, place and conservation with wild birds as the conduit for understanding.
His book, "The Home Place, Memoirs of a Colored Mans's Love Affair with Nature" transforms our cultural perceptions of the conservation community and the impacts of race relationships in growing awareness and opportunities of working together as a species to help to enjoy and protect the natural world.
In his BON21 keynote address, Dr. Lanham discusses what it means to embrace the full breadth of his African-American heritage and his deep kinship to nature and the adoration of birds. The convergence of ornithologist, college professor, poet, author, and conservation activist blends to bring our awareness of the natural world and our moral responsibility for it forward in new ways. Candid by nature-and because of it-Lanham will examine how conservation must be a rigorous science and evocative art, inviting diversity and race to play active roles in celebrating our natural world.
Social justice and race have been a fundamental focus of our culture. In the past few years the Black Lives Matters movement emerged as a reaction to both generations of racism, and the rise of American politics since 2016. J. Drew Lanham is a leader in the social justice movement and has given voice to raising awareness and conscience as it relates to being an African American man and a profoundly important conservationist.