Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is an American Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology as well as the director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment — both at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in botany as well as a doctorate in plant ecology, must of her academic research focusing on mosses. As a Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member and descendant of the Vieux and Johnson families, Kimmerer believes an Indigenous approach and knowledge set applies and can lead the hard sciences to solve  global problems, such as climate change.

In 2013, she released her second novel, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, which became a New York Times best seller.

“It’s like a storyteller’s dream come true when the story seems to activate people toward thinking in a new way and imagining a different future, and when that future is informed by Indigenous teachings, by our really ancient ways, that’s really gratifying as well,” she said. “And that’s why I think of it as kind of an act of remembering. It’s a collective kind of remembering of who we could be and who we should be in relationship to the land.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Plant Ecologist, Educator, and Writer, 2022 MacArthur Fellow, Syracuse, NY (Photo courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation)

Kimmerer also named a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation in 2022.

She discussed the decade anniversary of the book’s publication, future plans in light of her most recent honor, and the inspirations and aspirations surrounding her work, including Potawatomi culture and her CPN ancestry.

Find out more about Dr. Kimmerer’s work and purchase her books Braiding Sweetgrass and Gathering Moss at robinwallkimmerer.com.

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