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J.R. McDowell Speaker • Drew Lanham

April 11 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist, Drew Lanham, will be the Spring 2024 J.R. McDowell speaker.  Free, general admission tickets will be available at the Transylvania County Library beginning Monday, March 11.

Sponsored by the Transylvania County Library Foundation in partnership with Brevard College, the speaker series is designed to present a wide array of viewpoints on challenging and thought-provoking topics.  His talk, “Coloring the Conservation Conversation,” will be held on Thursday, April 11th beginning at 7:00 pm at the Porter Center at Brevard College.    Highland Books will be on site with copies of his most recent books for sale and signing following the program.

In his talk, Lanham will discuss what it means to embrace the full breadth of his African-American heritage and his deep kinship to nature and adoration of birds. The convergence of ornithologist, college professor, poet, author and conservation activist blend to bring an awareness of the natural world and a moral responsibility for it forward in new ways. Candid by nature — and because of it — Lanham will examine how conservation must be a rigorous science and evocative art, inviting diversity and race to play active roles in celebrating our natural world.

A native of Edgefield, South Carolina, Lanham is the author of “The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature,” 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. For centuries, Edgefield County, South Carolina—a place “easy to pass by on the way to somewhere else”—has been home to generations of Lanhams. In “The Home Place,” readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity”—to find joy and freedom in the same land his ancestors were tied to by forced labor, and then to be a black man in a profoundly white field.

Lanham has published essays and poetry in publications including “Orion,” “Audubon,” “Flycatcher,” and “Wilderness,” and in several anthologies, including “The Colors of Nature,” “State of the Heart,” “Bartram’s Living Legacy,” and “Carolina Writers at Home.”

An Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in the Upstate of South Carolina, a soaring hawk’s downhill glide from the southern Appalachian escarpment that the Cherokee once called the Blue Wall.

This program is made possible by the Transylvania County Library Foundation in partnership with Brevard College.


April 11
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Paul Porter Center for Performing Arts, Brevard College
1 Brevard College Dr.
Brevard, NC 28712 United States
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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712