Connecting with the World Around Us

Eastern bluebird on bluebird nesting box

Eastern bluebird on bluebird nesting box

Growing out of a desire to maintain connections between volunteers and the Arboretum throughout the pandemic, I began writing a weekly newsletter. Initially, I shared brief operations and program updates, highlighted at-home citizen science possibilities, and offered “teachable moments” of natural history information.

As time passed and the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the pandemics of racism and inequity exploded into wider consciousness once again, and the weekly newsletter also became a vehicle for exploring intersections of the Arboretum’s work with what was happening in the country, especially work for justice, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

I began to share suggestions of books, websites, podcasts, and organizations that tie together environmental and social issues. At the same time, I tried to provide some context for the current struggles for a clean healthy planet and communities free from racism, fear, and injustice. Many people and organizations provided resources that were included in the volunteer updates, and I am grateful for all that has been made available.

To help arbNews readers on their learning journeys, so you too can act for the well-being of all members of our human community, I share some of the resources offered in the volunteer newsletter. Explore what interests you here, and even more important, keep seeking out more. Please share with me resources that have helped you learn and act.


  • The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality, by Anna-Lisa Cox
  • The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity and the Natural World by A.H. Deming and L. Savoy
  • Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, Camille Dungy
  • Black Faces, White Spaces, Carolyn Finney
  • As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock Hardcover by Dina Gilio-Whitaker
  • Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage and To Love the Wind and the Rain: African Americans and Environmental History, Dianne Glave
  • Home Place, J. Drew Lanham
  • Adventure Gap, James Edward Mills
  • Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, and Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin, by Patty Loew
  • Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, by Monica White

Articles and webpages

Radio programs and podcasts


—Judy Kingsbury, volunteer coordinator