Call for Papers – Backyard Natures: An Exploration of Local Environments in the Northeast

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How have you engaged the nature around you during the COVID-19 pandemic? Have you found new or renewed appreciation for the nature of a local environment? What methodological challenges did you face as a result of pandemic-induced isolation?

The editors for this anthology are soliciting papers on local and community environments in the northeast region. We wish to engage environmental scholars in a discussion on local, backyard, neighborhood, or community environments including, but not limited to, parks, playgrounds, sanctuaries, waterscapes, nature walks, or any other vernacular nature or activity. We define ‘local’ broadly to mean your immediate local environment, an environment that you were once connected with, an environment important to a community’s sense of place, or the utilization of local ecological knowledge to understand the history or culture of a place.

In conjunction with this focus on locality, we are also interested in how environmental scholars dealt with the various methodological challenges imposed by the pandemic, or how the pandemic inspired new methodological strategies or research objectives. The pandemic turned many of us toward our local environments, which we reassessed under this new reality. We invite scholars to write about their experience understanding the local from new perspectives, methodologies, or research or teaching interests.

We define the northeast as the geography stretching from Pennsylvania north through New England and into Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.

Papers will be workshopped at the next Northeast and Atlantic Region Environmental History (NEAR-Eh) forum in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island June 23-24, 2023. Following the workshop, the editors will review selected papers, assemble them into a collection of essays, and submit them to a university press for publication.

If you are interested, please submit a 250-word proposal to Richard Judd at and Brian Payne at by March 1, 2023. Full 25-30-page papers (approximately 8000 words) will be due by June 1, 2023.

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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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