Next Tuesday, April 12, the SUST Program at Roosevelt University hosts a special event about nature in Chicago entitled, “City Creatures: Urban Biodiversity in Chicago,” at 3:30 p.m. in Roosevelt’s LEED-Gold Wabash Building, Room 1214. Dr. Gavin Van Horn of the Center for Humans and Nature and Roosevelt Sustainability Studies professor Mike Bryson will discuss the new book, City Creatures: Animal Encounters in the Chicago Wilderness (University of Chicago Press), published in November 2015.
Dr. Gavin Van Horn is the co-editor of the book and is the Director of Cultures of Conservation at the Center for Humans and Nature, as well as editor of their City Creatures blog. His work focuses particularly on how place-based values are developed and strengthened in dialogue with local landscapes. He continues to explore cultural perceptions of wildlife; place-based ethics; endangered species recovery, ethics, and policy; and the values involved in ecological restoration projects, community gardening, and wildlife management.
Professor Mike Bryson is a City Creatures blog contributor whose essay on the Chicago River is among those published in the book. He co-founded the Sustainability Studies program at Roosevelt in the Evelyn T. Stone College of Professional Studies during the 2009-2010 academic year, and currently directs the program from within its new home in RU’s College of Arts and Sciences. A Professor of Humanities and Sustainability Studies at Roosevelt, Bryson’s courses include SUST 210 Sustainable Future, 220 Water, 240 Waste, 340 Policy Law & Ethics, 350 Service & Sustainability, 390 Sustainable Campus, and 395 Sustainability Internship.
This special event is free and open to the public, and is hosted by students in SUST 340 Policy, Law, & Ethics. Refreshments will be provided, and a limited number of signed copies will be available for purchase.
We usually think of cities as the domain of humans—but we are just one of thousands of species that call the urban landscape home. Chicago residents knowingly move among familiar creatures like squirrels, pigeons, and dogs, but might be surprised to learn about all the leafhoppers and water bears, black-crowned night herons and bison, beavers and massasauga rattlesnakes that are living alongside them. City Creatures introduces readers to an astonishing diversity of urban wildlife with a unique and accessible mix of essays, poetry, paintings, and photographs.
The contributors bring a story-based approach to this urban safari, taking readers on birding expeditions to the Magic Hedge at Montrose Harbor on the North Side, canoe trips down the South Fork of the Chicago River (better known as Bubbly Creek), and insect-collecting forays or restoration work days in the suburban forest preserves.
The book is organized into six sections, each highlighting one type of place in which people might encounter animals in the city and suburbs. For example, schoolyard chickens and warrior wasps populate “Backyard Diversity,” live giraffes loom at the zoo and taxidermy-in-progress pheasants fascinate museum-goers in “Animals on Display,” and a chorus of deep-freeze frogs awaits in “Water Worlds.”
Although the book is rooted in Chicago’s landscape, nature lovers from cities around the globe will find a wealth of urban animal encounters that will open their senses to a new world that has been there all along. Its powerful combination of insightful narratives, numinous poetry, and full-color art throughout will help readers see the city—and the creatures who share it with us—in an entirely new light.
For more information or to RSVP to this event, please contact Prof. Mike Bryson at email@example.com.