Call for Contributors: Not Your Day Job

Miller Run, Lewisburg PA, 16 April 2019.

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Have you worked on a project that mattered to you, but wasn’t your day job? Something you didn’t expect to be doing but (hopefully) are glad you did?

As environmental historians, many of us venture – or throw ourselves head-long – into some kind of environmental work that isn’t confined to what we teach or research. It might be something small – like arranging a marsh walk in early spring. You could talk about the history of the stream’s daylighting, or about the waterways in the area, but that’s not the point: it’s because you want to encourage your kid to be curious about the world around him. And because the more time children spend outside the better. And because it fits with a conversation about nature education and nature play that’s happening in your community. And because, it turns out, the watershed scientists have been dying to do something like this. And now the university farm wants the kids to come visit, too.

Or maybe it’s something bigger, more involved, perhaps more political – like working to improve the sustainability of your community or campus or workplace, or being asked to provide research or expert testimony for a cause you care about, or getting involved in a group or coalition?

What does it look like when we volunteer or contract our services, as people who care about the environment and history, but perhaps not as environmental historians? How does our academic training serve or obstruct us in non-academic settings? What do we take away from these experiences, and how do they shape our work as historians?

Or … what would you like to do, if you could? (I will get safe pedways to Bucknell if it kills me, or someone else.)

If you have a story or a wish to share contact Jennifer Bonnell ( or Claire Campbell ( for a series to run later this year.

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Professor of History at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where I revel in Canadiana and environmental history. Also a lover of exploring, maps, Jane of Lantern Hill, and Scandinavia.

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