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An Unquiet Botany: Reconciling Plants and People with Story and Image with Dr. Lyn Baldwin

Goertzen Hall
Room 21
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About the event

Few deny that the terrestrial world relies upon plants for food, fodder, pharmaceuticals, fibre and fuel. Yet it’s also clear that the last 500 years of colonial violence has distorted many people’s understanding of and relationship with plants. Botanists warn about the increasing prevalence of ‘plant blindness’ even as we struggle with our discipline’s history as a colonial science. We know that plants matter; in today’s climate crisis, cultivating a new understanding of them as both animate teachers and our most important allies will be a critical step in creating a liveable future. But what in botany can reimagine relationship? Illustrated field journals have complicated relations with both plants and peoples. Certainly, they were important tools in the European project to name and claim the world’s botany. However, as a practice, field journals are known to have challenged early naturalists’ worldviews. This talk—illustrated with excerpts from Lyn’s art exhibits and recently published book, Drawing Botany Home: A Rooted Life—will report on a botanist’s attempts to learn not just about but from plants with field journals’ story and line, art and science.

About the presenter

Dr. Lyn Baldwin is an award-winning educator and plant conservation biologist who uses art and science to help mitigate society’s extinction of experience with the botanical world. From her home in the sagebrush-steppe and coniferous forest of the South Thompson Valley, Lyn teaches botany, ecology and creative writing at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. For more than two decades, she has worked to cultivate care between the people and plants of place by sharing the stories she finds with her field journals in art galleries and science museums, and within the pages of many regional and national publications.

For more info about Lyn, see

This lecture is made possible by the following WSU Programs: Art, Landscape Architecture, English, Horticulture and the School of Environment.


Jolie Kaytes