Category Archives: DEIJA

Mass Audubon store front

History, Culture, and Nature: Four Books to Add to Your Bookshelf

Expand your book collection with four empowering nature-based books that highlight different cultural, scientific, and personal relationships with the outdoors. From Indigenous plant botany to reclaiming the joy of nature from the roots of forced labor, here are four books to broaden your nature connection and knowledge. 

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer 

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a New York Times best-selling author, scientist, professor, mother, and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer weaves together centuries-old Indigenous knowledge and western science, pinpointing ways to learn from plants and wildlife. Discover how we can reestablish and support a reciprocal relationship with the natural world in this captivating read.

“There is such a tenderness in braiding the hair of someone you love…When we braid sweetgrass, we are braiding the hair of Mother Earth, showing her our loving attention, our care for her beauty and well-being, in gratitude for all she has given us.” 

– Robin Kimmer, Braiding Sweetgrass 

The Mass Audubon Shop also sells a young adult version of Braiding Sweetgrass

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by Drew Lanham 

Drew Lanham, esteemed ornithologist, professor, and writer, shines a light on the complexity of being Black and enjoying nature on the same land his ancestors were forced into labor. In this memoir, Lanham dives into what it is like working in a historically white field, living in rural, southern United States, and finding freedom in nature.

“I am as much a scientist as I am a black man; my skin defines me no more than my heart does. But somehow my color often casts my love affair with nature in the shadows.”  

– Drew Lanham, The Home Place: Memories of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature

Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science by Jessica Hernandez 

Indigenous communities are among the most affected by climate change, even though many Indigenous peoples have long practiced sustainable and holistic management practices. Environmental scientist Jessica Hernandez pulls from her El Salvadorian and Mexican Indigenous heritage to dissect the issues of western environmental conservation and highlight the depth of Indigenous science.

“I hope this book can help Indigenous scholars, community members, and our relatives see themselves as scientists. I believe every Indigenous person carries their own scientific knowledge; for some of us it just means that we have to reclaim our knowledge that has been lost because of settler colonialism and how it impacted us individually.” 

– Jessica Hernandez, Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science 

The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World, edited by Alison Hawthorne Deming & Lauret Savoy 

This collection of essays features over 30 authors of color who share their relationship with nature through a cultural lens. Adding a new perspective to environmental literature, The Colors of Nature explores the lasting impact of the natural world and different cultural identities.

“Today I feel a sense of liberation…Despite the dark energy that still must pervade Manzanar’s [Japanese American Internment Camp] ruins, I feel only lightness as we drive past on the highway.” (Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Crossing Boundaries) 

– Edited by Alison H. Deming and Lauret E. Savoy, The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World 

Green is for Nature

For over four decades, the rainbow Pride flag has been a symbol of hope and support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Mass Audubon is flying a newer version of the flag, the Progress Pride flag, to celebrate Pride Month at our wildlife sanctuaries. Learn more about the flag, what it means to Mass Audubon, and more ways to celebrate Pride outdoors.

Progress Pride Flag at Broadmoor

Get to Know the Flag

The original rainbow flag dates back to 1978, when it was first used in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Parade. It originally had eight colors (including pink and turquoise) but has since been trimmed down to six colors. Each stripe represents an important value: red is life, orange is healing, yellow is sunlight, blue is harmony, violet is spirit, and green is for nature. 

While the Progress Pride flag, developed by designer Daniel Quasar in 2018, still contains the original colors of the rainbow flag on one half, it also features five new colors that make up a chevron on the other half. The colors in these additional stripes represent gender non-conforming and transgender people (light blue, light pink, and white), People of Color (brown and black), and those living with AIDS (black). The triangle shape suggests forward progress, reflecting how far we have come and where we hope to get to in the future. 

Pride at Mass Audubon 

Nature is truly a place that welcomes everyone with open arms. No matter who you are or how you identify, the natural world offers an opportunity to find inner peace and love. The green stripe on the rainbow flag reminds us to do just that: seek out places that help us grow and prosper.  

Mass Audubon is dedicated to creating inclusive, equitable access to nature for people of all backgrounds and identities and making our wildlife sanctuaries a place of safety and belonging. Flying the Progress Pride flag demonstrates that commitment and acknowledges that Mass Audubon is made up of people with a broad range of identities—those who work at our organization and those who visit and support our efforts every single day. 

Throughout the month of June, Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries across the state are hosting Pride events for members of the LGBTQI2SA+ community. Relax at the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan for an LGBTQIA2S+ Afternoon, explore somewhere new at the Green is for Nature Pride Walk at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, or join a Pride Month Game Night at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. See all upcoming Pride events across our network of sanctuaries here

Celebrating Across Massachusetts 

© Jim Leahy

There are also plenty of other organizations hosting nature-based events for the LGBTQIA2S+ community during Pride Month.

Backpack through the wilderness with leaders from the Venture Out Project, or hike across New England with GayOutdoors. The Chiltern Mountain Club organizes outdoor activities for LGBTQI+ people, including canoeing, biking, camping, and more. 

Share Your Pride 

We hope you will spend time this Pride Month in nature. Tag us in all of your outdoor activities on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! We can’t wait to see how you explore nature and the color green.