The Kelly Adirondack Center, which works with Union to gain understanding and help preserve the nature of the Adirondack mountains, invited Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY to give the lecture “Lessons from Sweetgrass: Indigenous Stewardship of Adirondack Plants” as part of the Living with the Land lecture and exhibition series.

The Nott packed with people from the public and campus community to hear Dr. Wall Kimmerer

Dr. Wall Kimmerer, a plant ecologist, gave the lecture heavy in indigenous lessons, speaking about the history of indigenous management of the Adirondack region in order to maintain food security and biodiversity.  She contextualized the importance of appreciating and integrating indigenous practices of land management into the present day, making special distinction between the terms natural “resource” and “gift” in order to fix the consumerist and Anthropogenic relationship between humans and the land.  She redefined the term “sustainability” not to mean that which humans can do to make sure that the earth keeps giving humans resources, but rather to mean that which a person can give back to the land in reciprocity to the gifts the earth gives humans.


Although not what I expected, the talk was entertaining and insightful.  I admire the center’s dedication to connecting the campus community and the public to the regional natural world.  After this event and the enlightening events at Adirondack Week last year, also run by the center, I look forward to what more the center will do for the campus community.