Kimberly Ruffin | 2022 May/August
Kimberly Ruffin is an educator (Associate Professor of English, Roosevelt University), trained nature and forest therapy guide, and Outdoor Afro volunteer leader. She believes that 21st century Earthlings need the dynamic combination of ecological ethics and experiences that are the legacy of Aldo and Estella Leopold. She’s drawn to Leopold’s work because of its compelling, artful message; it underscores humans’ maladaptive relationship with the land by drawing attention to enslavement and concepts of property.
Dr. Ruffin’s writing and research are supported by the Kalliopeia Foundation. Her residency project extends her work in Black on Earth: African-American Ecoliterary Traditions (Univ. of Georgia Press) by focusing on the twin topics of ecology and enslavement. She is examining written and oral narratives authored by the enslaved including one authored by her own family’s ancestor. Their perspectives stand at the nexus of social and natural ecology and can bring people closer to one another, non-human nature, and regenerative ecological outlooks. As with Leopold, America’s enslaved ancestors offer guideposts to anyone who desires both a more intimate relationship with the natural world and input on how to better care for our life support system.
Dr. Ruffin is a birder, hydroponic gardener, and bicyclist who relishes the nature-focused communities which include her students, event participants, and family and friends. She invites you to enjoy the outdoors with her audio-guided forest therapy walks: