Madison Public Library’s popular Naturalist-in-Residence program returned for its second year in September 2023! In partnership with Madison Parks, nature-based programs for all ages took place in libraries, parks and natural areas across the city of Madison from September 1-30, 2023.
Although the Naturalist-in-Residence program wrapped up at the end of September, really amazing things sometimes live on! We wanted to thank Qwantese for her fantastic leadership during this residency, and for sharing her skills, talents, charm, wit, grace and deep knowledge with us.
Over the course of more than a dozen events, nearly 200 people got to meet and learn from Qwantese. Two of these events were Nature Writing and Meditative Walks to Edna Taylor Conservation Park and Heritage Prairie, where Qwantese encouraged participants to study and write about nature. The results? A stunning painting created by Alina Puente called Fears Buried at Sunset, and a collection of short poems that Qwantese combined to create two collaborative poems - one for each walk location. You can view the painting in person on the 2nd floor stairwell at Central Library alongside all of the poems on nature written during these walks.
2023 Naturalist: Qwantese Dourese Winters
Qwantese Dourese Winters is a doula, writer, agriculturist, and mixed media artist based in Madison, Wisconsin. Her work is centered around inspiring black folks to connect with the land, and heal from land-based trauma through the use of joyful engagement with nature, and land practices. With a deep appreciation for food sovereignty, and agriculture Qwantese incorporates these elements into her doula practice, earning her the moniker The Food Doula. You may also know Qwantese from PBS Wisconsin’s Let’s Grow Stuff program, where she appears regularly to help folks learn to grow their own vegetables, herbs and other good stuff. From empowering mothers to connect with the land through nourishing foodways, teaching adults how to grow their own food, or showing children how to make the perfect mud pie, her diverse skill set and unique approach aims to create a positive impact in the Madison area and beyond. Qwantese believes that nature and its bounty are for everyone to enjoy and aims to give marginalized people the tools to dissolve years of exclusion and barriers to the outdoors in order to get outside and fall in love with nature just as she did.
Why A Naturalist?
The goal of the Naturalist-in-Residency project is to encourage our community to explore, learn, and reflect upon our natural world and their place in it, through the guiding vision of an experienced or emerging local naturalist.