“Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer as the Common Read selection for the 2021-2022 academic year. Described by Elizabeth Gilbert as “a hymn of love to the world,” “Braiding Sweetgrass” has reached hundreds of thousands of readers who have embraced the book’s message of how to reimagine our relationship to the natural world for a more loving, fruitful, sustainable and generous future.
A botanist, teacher, mother, grandmother and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Robin writes from a place of deep scientific and spiritual knowledge. Her richly informed account of the gifts and lessons we receive from plants and animals, and from the forces of wind, rain and sunlight, sets the path to return us to ecological balance with the living world while giving us the knowledge to understand and celebrate our place in it.
“I’m very excited for students to begin their discovery of ‘Braiding Sweetgrass,’” says creative writing professor Carrie Brown. “Our students are deeply interested in issues of sustainability and deeply aware of their role in stewarding our rich natural resources and wild companions — plant and animal — at Sweet Briar, and I know the book will resonate with them, as it has resonated with so many readers.”
“Like many members of our campus community, I am thrilled at the choice of ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ as our 2021-2022 Common Read,” says Reesa Artz ’22. “The message of the book works very well with the ventures that Sweet Briar is already exploring and is a wonderful opportunity for students to have a deeper understanding about our connection to nature. As a member of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe, I have always recognized and seen the importance of acknowledging how much our earth gives to us, and how when we work in harmony with her, we can be the most healthy and happy versions of ourselves.”
Robin will visit campus on March 23, 2022. Between now and then, we invite you to dive into this marvelous book and share your responses with one another through both an online platform and at events this coming fall. Incoming students will meet in small groups during orientation for discussion, and all students will be invited later in the fall to a special supper gathering when we can share the harvest produced from Sweet Briar soil and consider how best to deepen our connection to this place that sustains us.
“Sweet Briar is blessed with acres of fields and forest and is also a liberal arts institution committed to sustainability and equity,” notes Carrie. “As such, ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ is the perfect book for our time and place.”