Canisius Welcomes Author and Educator Robin Wall Kimmerer

February 12, 2024
Robin Wall Kimmerer

Canisius University will welcome Robin Wall Kimmerer to campus on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at 6 pm in the Montante Cultural Center. A scientist, author and educator, Kimmerer is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She will discuss her widely acclaimed book “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.” The event is held under the auspices of the university’s William H. Fitzpatrick Chair of Political Science Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

Kimmerer is a SUNY distinguished teaching professor of environmental biology and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. The center creates programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for shared goals of sustainability. 

As a writer and a scientist, Kimmerer’s interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities but restoration of our relationships to land. She is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. 

Her first book, “Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses,” was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals. In 2022, “Braiding Sweetgrass” was adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith. This new edition reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us.

Kimmerer tours widely and has been featured on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett, and in 2015 addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.” She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2022.

Kimmerer holds a bachelor’s degree in botany from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a master’s degree and PhD in botany from the University of Wisconsin.

The Fitzpatrick Lecture Series at Canisius is part of the larger Fitzpatrick Institute of Public Affairs and Leadership at the university, which provides an array of opportunities for Canisius students to develop leadership potential through close contact with and exposure to those who contribute to American public affairs and societal issues. 

The Institute and the Fitzpatrick Lecture Series are named for William H. Fitzpatrick, a South Buffalo builder and longtime chair of the Erie County Democratic Party. His sons, Paul E. and Walter D. Fitzpatrick, endowed Fitzpatrick programming at Canisius in 1958, in memory of their father. In 1962, the Hon. Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States, inaugurated the Fitzpatrick Lecture Series at Canisius. Each year since, the university has hosted national figures in politics, government, academia and media, including Jane Goodall, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Bernice King, all under the auspices of the Fitzpatrick family.

For further details regarding talk, please contact Richard A. Bailey, PhD, Fitzpatrick professor of history, at (716) 888-2684 or @email.

Canisius was founded in 1870 in Buffalo, NY, and is one of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. Consistently ranked among the top institutions in the Northeast, Canisius offers undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional programs distinguished by close student-faculty collaboration, mentoring and an emphasis on ethical, purpose-driven leadership.