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Lanham to speak March 24 for Tyson Family Lecture

Clemson professor to discuss ‘Color of the Land: Sand County to Carolina Clay’

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Dr. J. Drew Lanham, Clemson University

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Dr. J. Drew Lanham, a professor and master teacher at Clemson University, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at Wofford College in the fourth annual Tyson Family Lecture on Restoring and Preserving Southern Ecosystems.

Lanham’s talk, “The Color of the Land: Sand County to Carolina Clay,” will be held in the Olin Teaching Theater in the Franklin W. Olin Building on campus. It is free and open to the public.

Lanham, the Distinguished Alumni Professor and Alumni Master Teacher in Clemson’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, “speaks of the land as if it were an extension of self and soul,” says John Lane, Wofford professor of environmental studies and English and director of the Goodall Environmental Studies Center at Glendale.

“In his upcoming Tyson Lecture, ‘The Color of the Land,’ Dr. Lanham will speak to the importance of considering ethnicity and race as critical factors in the conservation and care of nature,” Lane continues. “He will attempt to connect the dots and ‘color the conservation conversation’ as he links place, nature and culture in a range expanding journey of personal story, history, science and social media that span the Southern eco-psyco-social landscape to bring land ethic home from Aldo Leopold’s sand county to our Carolina Piedmont clay.”

Leopold wrote that “conservation is a state of harmony between men [people] and land.” While Leopold, a white Midwesterner, came to ideas of the “land ethic” from travels in the American Southwest and in the idyll of restoring an old farm and a weekend cabin in Wisconsin, black southerners were less than 100 years removed from the bonds of chattel slavery and mired in discrimination that ultimately has led to loss of land/nature connection. With these losses has come a lack of participation by black Americans in conservation-related occupations and activities at extraordinarily low levels.

Lanham’s lecture will address ethnically hued land ethic issues visited by both his research and creative writing, providing a forum for discussion and exchange.

“Dr. Lanham is a writer, poet, birder and hunter-conservationist who seeks to connect culture to conservation in evocative ways,” Lane adds.