“Our Connections to the Land Run Deep”: Belonging and Kinship with Nature

December Dialogues December 1, 2021, 5:00 - 6:15pm ET
  • Date(s):

    December 1, 2021

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December 1, 2021, 5:00 – 6:15pm ET

All social change, large or small, is ultimately about people. In a rapidly changing world, where environmental news is so often bleak, how can individuals and communities recognize and deepen their connections to the natural world? What forms can these relationships take, and how do they relate to physical, mental and spiritual well-being? What historical and contemporary barriers to engagement must be acknowledged and addressed, so that natural spaces and efforts to enjoy and conserve them are inclusive and accessible?

Join a conversation with award-winning author J. Drew Lanham and the executive director of Green Muslims, Sevim Kalyoncu, about personal engagement with nature and deepening humanity’s relationship to the natural world. We will also explore how diverse faith groups, other community organizations, and individuals can support and sustain positive change- whether at the scale of their cities, towns and neighborhoods, within their families, or for themselves.

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Headshot of man with glasses and beard

J. Drew Lanham, author and professor, Clemson University

Dr. J. Drew Lanham is a native of Edgefield, South Carolina and the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (2017), which received the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Southern Book Prize, and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal. He is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist who has published essays and poetry in publications including Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher, and Wilderness, and in several anthologies. An Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in the Upstate of South Carolina.


Headshot of woman in glasses wearing a hijab. Trees and bushes in the backgroundSevim Kalyoncu, executive director, Green Muslims

Sevim Kalyoncu is the executive director of Green Muslims, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization working to help connect the American Muslim community with nature and climate action. As a naturalist instructor, Sevim leads classes and programs for general youth audiences as well as Green Muslims’ Our Deen (“Faith”) is Green! youth outdoor education program, which takes children out into nature and teaches them about its delicate balance, humans’ impact on it, and Islamic teachings concerning the human relationship with it.


Dr. Katy HinmanModerator: Katy Hinman, associate program director, AAAS DoSER

Dr. Katy Hinman (moderator) is the Associate Program Director for the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program. Originally from Decatur, Georgia, she is both an evolutionary biologist and an ordained Methodist pastor. Prior to joining the AAAS DoSER program, she served as the Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power & Light, a nonprofit that works with faith communities on environmental issues, and as the pastor at College Park First United Methodist Church in College Park, Georgia.