“In me, there is the red of miry clay, the brown of spring floods, the gold of ripening tobacco. I am, in the deepest sense, colored.” So writes Dr. J. Drew Lanham, our final guest of the 2018-2019 GME Canandaigua Forum series, in his book, The Home Place – Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.
Naturalist, songbird ecology expert, black man, Audubon Society Board member, Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Biology at Clemson University, Dr. Lanham is a person of great scientific skill, wondrous passion regarding the benefits of conservation, and sharp cutting wit. “There are essential tools for birding. There are your binoculars, your spotting scope, your field guide, and if you’re black – you’re going to need probably two or three forms of ID!”
Active on a number of conservation boards, particularly in his native South Carolina, Dr. Lanham’s research originally focused on how forest management and other human activities impacted species such as songbirds, small mammals and butterflies. But his interests have now broadened beyond classical science to investigations of how ethnicity, especially for black Americans, relates to wildlife and other conservation issues, and how birders and hunters (he is both) might bridge philosophical gaps to the ultimate benefit of conservation goals. His is a completely original voice.
When you revel in birdsong, do you hear jazz or folk? Maybe it doesn’t matter, as long as you color the conservation conversation.
The Forum is pleased to welcome FLCC Professor of Environmental Conservation John Van Niel, who will join Dr. Lanham as moderator of this program.