Last week, our Director of Science Education and Research, Molly Steinwald, delivered the keynote address of the winter symposium at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. A crowd of 2,000 listened to Molly talk about the importance of connecting people to nature; more specifically, connecting people to the local nature of their communities and backyards. Molly believes that focusing people on the nature in their own neighborhoods might be more effective than images of rain forests and mountains. She shared her background growing up in rural New Hampshire; as young person, environmentalism sounded elitist, not accessible. She was turned on to science by a caring teacher and has a passion to share her message with others. Molly also spoke about the need for environmentalists to understand that their work is not just about preserving ecosystems, but connecting with the people who live in them. She advocates for focusing on attainable goals when introducing people to the environment.
In a recent interview with Radish magazine, Molly notes: [It's important not to lose sight of the fact that] “society is made up of a wide variety of people with different backgrounds, stresses, motivations, needs; and that in order to create a truly sustainable society, environmentalists need to spend time understanding their audiences, appreciating them, and meeting them where they’re at.”
The above photo was taken by Ben Filio.