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2023 Residency: Rooted in Nature

The Naturalist-in-Residence Program

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. 

The 2023 Naturalist-in-Residence

Qwantese Dourese Winters Madison Public Library Naturalist-in-Residence 2023

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.

About the Theme

Rooted in Nature image by Alina Puente for Madison Public Library's Naturalist-in-Residence program 2023

Rooted in Nature

Qwantese shares why she chose the theme in her own words:

"The theme "Rooted In Nature" is my way of extending a heartfelt invitation to all those who have felt detached from the land or who have lost their wonder when engaging with nature. Throughout my life, I confronted stereotypes that discouraged me from embracing nature and partaking in outdoor activities - these activities were labeled as "white," and were seemingly in conflict with my identity as a black person. Yet, amidst these challenges, my connection to nature remained undeniable and I found moments that brought me to life and create a profound connection to nature within me. When I later discovered and delved into my Gullah Geechee heritage (passed down from my grandfather), I was able to see that my family's history included things like growing our own food and crafting medicines from the natural surroundings. This filled me with a profound sense of belonging, and the revelation helped me understand that my roots are inherently intertwined with the land, and that nature is an indispensable part of my history. I hope that the Rooted in Nature theme serves as a gentle call, urging each person to come and be rooted—to reconnect with the land, to embrace their heritage, and to rediscover the awe-inspiring wonder that resides within each of us when we are one with nature."

Rooted in Nature Art

Created by Alina Puente

The Rooted in Nature theme is brought to life visually by artist Alina Puente, who created limited edition posters in English, Spanish and Hmong that can be picked up in any Madison Public Library location, including the Dream Bus, beginning on September 1. Puente is an Afro-Latina immigrant, who is known for her use of bold hues and textures in her visual art. Her work is influenced by Abstract Expressionism - in particular, the work of artists like Cándido Bidó, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Mark Rothko. 

Community Poems

Naturalist-in-Residence 2023 Qwantese Dourese Winters Community Poetry

During the 2023 Naturalist-in-Residence program at Madison Public Library, Qwantese Dourese Winters hosted two Nature Writing and Meditative Walks where groups had the opportunity to combine the serenity of nature with the art of reflective writing.

Check out the collaborative poems that came out of the walks over on the Community Poems page that showcase the joy, beauty, connection, and more that we can find in nature and in each other.

Book Lists

Check out this list of books curated by 2023 Naturalist-in-Residence Qwantese Winters aimed at inspiring re-connection to the natural world.

You can also jump right to a particular section:

Qwantese's Picks | Foraging | Gardening | Environmental Justice


This program was made possible in part by generous support from: