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Led by scholars Alex Chambers and Mary Welz as well as ecologists Ellen Jacquart and Steve Cotter, the discussion will help us further understand Indiana’s biodiversity and why it is worth saving.
How to Survive the Future is a podcast created by Alex Chambers and Allison Quantz in partnership with Indiana Humanities. In How to Survive the Future, everyday people are asked to imagine a world where they have made it through the challenges of the present and faced the pain of the past and then tell us what life is like after that. Farmers, poets, parents, organizers and others imagine how their lives, and the landscapes around them, will be different than they are now—hopefully for the better, though it’s never that simple.
ABOUT THE EPISODE: Ellen retired from her work as an ecologist decades ago, but she still walks in her favorite state park. One spring day, she takes Alex along trails that keep getting wider to search for disappearing spring ephemerals: among others, guyandotte beauty, great waterleaf, and the puttyroot orchid, which can be hard to find.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS:
Alex Chambers: Alex Chambers runs WFIU’s arts desk, and produces and hosts WFIU’s Inner States, a weekly podcast and radio show about arts, culture, and ideas from southern Indiana and beyond. He’s the co-creator of How to Survive the Future, a podcast about the present, produced in partnership with Indiana Humanities. He has a PhD in American Studies, with a dissertation called Climate Violence and the Poetics of Refuge, and a book of poems called Bindings: A Preparation, about domestic life and empire. In his spare time, he teaches audio storytelling at the IU Media School. When he’s not in the woods gathering sound, you might see him out for a run on the streets of Bloomington.
Ellen Jacquart: Ellen spent a career managing natural areas in Indiana, working for the Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy before retiring in 2016. A major focus of her work was to address the threat of invasive plants to forests, prairies, and wetlands. When the Indiana Invasive Species Council created the Invasive Plant Advisory Committee in 2010, she led it until she retired in 2016. She now chairs Monroe County – Identify and Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS) which works to reduce the impact of invasive plants in Monroe County and was president of the Indiana Native Plant Society from 2018 to 2022. She is the winner of the 2022 Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award from the Natural Areas Association.
Mary Welz: Mary is the Education Director for Sycamore Land Trust and member of Monroe County – Identify & Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS). Over the course of her career in conservation, she has worked in environmental education, land stewardship, communications, and the native plant nursery trade. Prior to coming to Sycamore, she served as Regional Specialist for State of Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM) in support of the Indiana Invasives Initiative. She studied Biology at Indiana University and Plant Pathology at the University of Georgia in Athens. Mary is dedicated to the protection of our biodiversity and helping others experience and reconnect with the natural world. In her free-time (albeit limited), Mary enjoys landscaping with native plants, “wrangling” invasive plants, nature illustration, and exploring natural areas, near and far.