J. Drew Lanham

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Joseph Drew Lanham is an American author, poet and wildlife biologist.[1] Raised in Edgefield, South Carolina, Lanham studied zoology and ecology at Clemson University, where he earned a PhD in 1997 and where he currently holds an endowed chair as an Alumni Distinguished Professor.[2] He is a board member of several conservation organizations, including the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, Audubon South Carolina, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, BirdNote, and the American Birding Association, and an advisory board member for the North American Association of Environmental Education.[3] In 2019 he was awarded the National Audubon Society's Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership, recognizing "individuals who have dedicated their entire lives to the environment".[4][5]

In 2013, Lanham wrote a piece for Orion Magazine titled "9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher",[6][7] drawing attention to the lack of black birders and diversity in general among naturalists. The short piece inspired producer Ari Daniel and videographer Amanda Kowalski to create a short film with the same title for BirdNote[8][9] which quickly went viral on social media.[1] In 2016 he wrote "Birding While Black."[10] In 2017 he published the award-winning memoir The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature.[11] The book was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the 11 best scholarly books of the 2010s, chosen by Anna Tsing.[12] Lanham features in episode 7 of the 2019 TV series Birds of North America, produced by Topic and hosted by Jason Ward.[13][14] In 2020, the podcast This is Love spoke with Drew Lanham for their episode, "Prairie Warbler."[15] In December 2020, he received the E.O.Wilson Biodiversity Award for Outstanding Science, Advocacy.[16]


  1. ^ a b Long, Kat (2016-09-09). "Exploring Ties Between Nature, History, and Race". National Geographic. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  2. ^ "Employee Profiles | College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences | Clemson University, South Carolina". www.clemson.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  3. ^ "Dr. J. Drew Lanham". Audubon. 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  4. ^ "Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership". Audubon. 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  5. ^ "Clemson professor J. Drew Lanham to be honored by National Audubon Society". Newsstand | Clemson University News and Stories, South Carolina. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  6. ^ Lanham, J. Drew (December 2013). "9 Rules for the Black Birdwatcher". Orion Magazine. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  7. ^ "Rules for the black birdwatcher". The Guardian. 2015-03-04. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  8. ^ BirdNote (2015-02-28), Rules for the Black Birdwatcher - With Drew Lanham, retrieved 2019-04-23
  9. ^ "Bird-Watching While Black: A Wildlife Ecologist Shares His Tips", National Geographic, retrieved 2019-04-23
  10. ^ "Birding While Black". Literary Hub. 2016-09-22. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  11. ^ Lanham, J. Drew (Joseph Drew) (2017-06-13). The home place : memoirs of a colored man's love affair with nature (First paperback ed.). Minneapolis, Minnesota. ISBN 978-1571313508. OCLC 959536553.
  12. ^ "The Best Scholarly Books of the Decade". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2020-04-14. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  13. ^ "Drew Lanham: Hope Is the Thing With Feathers". Topic. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  14. ^ Becker, Rachel (2019-04-03). "Birding gets new life in this YouTube nature series". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  15. ^ "Prairie Warbler". This is Love. May 13, 2020.
  16. ^ https://biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases/clemson-ornithologist-named-2020-eo-wilson-biodiversity-award-recipient-2020-12-16/?fbclid=IwAR3i-YIfAkvYMtHbJAkvb5AFOJkhzANl9kd2fuQ-2I6NPVTkmGjpzMRLH3M