Center for Humans and Nature

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Center for Humans and Nature
CHN logo w text.jpg
The Center for Humans and Nature's logo represents a wood engraving of a grouse rattle by the contemporary artist Ansell Bray. Inspired by a 19th century Makah grouse rattle, the engraving is a symbol of founder Strachan Donnelley's vision for The Center.
Website [1]

The Center for Humans and Nature is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization with a mission to explore and promote human responsibilities in relation to nature.[1] The organization is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.[2]


The organization was founded in 2003[3] by Strachan Donnelley, Ph.D.[4] a philosopher and ethicist who began his career at the Hastings Center.[5]

Donnelley founded the Center to explore the role of ethical thinking – based in an environmental ethics – for informing individual and political decision-making.[6]

Research and Public Events[edit]

The center’s interdisciplinary research projects, publications and public events aim to support dialogue among scholars and the general public for thinking “creatively about humanity and our responsibilities to each other and the nonhuman world.”[7]

Fellows and contributing scholars to the center’s projects and publications have included philosophers, biologists, ecologists, lawyers, political scientists, anthropologists, artists, poets, and economists.”[8][9]

The center has co-hosted public speaking events with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Forest Preserves of Cook County[10] and American Museum of Natural History. Speakers have included Peter Forbes, Scott Russell Sanders, Kathleen Dean Moore, Michael Howard and Julian Agyeman.[11]

Publications and Media[edit]

The center publishes research in the form of white papers, books, articles, online posts, and videos.

Questions for a Resilient Future[edit]

In 2012, the center launched Questions for a Resilient Future, an online series of questions and responses that probe assumptions about nature and humanity’s place within it.[12]

The questions range from issues of when and when not to build infrastructure, the connection between thought process and culture, the responsibility humanity owes to water, the future of genetic engineering, and other topics pertaining to the sustainability of the human and nature relationship.

Respondents have included Mary Midgley, David Sloan Wilson, Benjamin Barber, Robin Kimmerer, David Abram, Maude Barlow, Herman Daly, Bill McKibben, Sharon Olds, Nalini Nadkarni, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Vandana Shiva, and James Gustave Speth, among others.[8][9]

Minding Nature[edit]

The center publishes Minding Nature,[13] a tri-annual online journal that “explores conservation values and the practice of democratic ecological citizenship.”[14]

City Creatures Blog[edit]

The center’s website hosts the City Creatures blog,[15] a storytelling community featuring contributors from a diverse personal and professional background that encourages people to share their experiences and encounters with nature within an urban setting. [16]

Since its creation in 2012, The City Creatures Blog has featured professional academics, artists, writers, photographers, fellows from The Center for Humans and Nature, as well people with no prior writing or environmental experience.

Green Fire[edit]

In 2012, the center co-produced Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time,[17] a documentary film that won an Emmy Award for best historical documentary at the 54th annual Chicago/Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.[18]


  1. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths DONNELLEY, STRACHAN, PH.D." The New York Times. 2008-07-15. 
  2. ^ "About The Center for Humans and Nature". Center for Humans & Nature. 
  3. ^ Donnelley, Strachan. "Evolutionary Biology, Philosophy of Nature, Ethics of Responsibility". Private Landowner Network. 
  4. ^ Jensen, Trevor (2008-07-16). "Strachan Donnelley:1942 – 2008". Chicago Tribune. 
  5. ^ "Strachan Donnelley Remembered; Great Lawn at Center Named in His Honor". The Hastings Center. Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. 
  6. ^ "Putting ethical thinking at the core of decision-making". Research Institute for Managing Sustainability. 
  7. ^ "Projects". Center for Humans & Nature. 
  8. ^ a b "Senior Scholars". Center for Humans & Nature. 
  9. ^ a b "Contributors". Center for Humans & Nature. 
  10. ^ "Chicago Regional Forum on Ethics and Sustainablity: Healing Nature, 10/16". Chicago Wilderness. Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. 
  11. ^ "Forum on Ethics & Nature". Center for Humans & Nature. Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. 
  12. ^ "USSEE President Valerie Luzadis on the Earth Economy". United States Society for Ecological Economics. 
  13. ^ "Minding Nature". Center for Humans & Nature. 
  14. ^ "Journals". International Society for Environmental Ethics. 
  15. ^ "City Creatures Blog". Center for Humans & Nature. 
  16. ^ "City Creatures: New Blog for Animal Encounters in Urban Landscapes". Chicago Wilderness. Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. 
  17. ^ "Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time". Center for Humans & Nature. Archived from the original on 2014-06-29. 
  18. ^ "Green Fire documentary wins Emmy® award". United States Department of Agriculture and Forest Service.