A Year of NiCHE – Looking Back at 2023

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November for NicHE - 2023 Fundraising Campaign

2023 was NiCHE’s biggest year ever. Let’s take a look back at what has happened on – and off- the site since January.

Unprecedented Readership and Reach

Since 2020, we have watched out readership grow steadily and, in 2023, we reached a new record with 22,200 hits in a single month.1 We’re also on target to crush our previous annual readership record! We regularly get more than 16,000 readers dropping by the site on a monthly basis. That’s a huge reach!

Where are our readers coming from? Most of you are tuning in from Canada (86,366 so far in 2023) and the US (79,518), but we also had 10,863 hits from the UK, 4,728 hits from India, and 3,733 hits from Australia last time Jessica checked.2

Shoutout to our 1 reader from the Marshall Islands. We see you!

A grey scale gradient map showing NiCHE readership. Canada and the United States are dark grey. Australia, India, the EU and the UK are lighter grey. The rest of the world is lightest grey.

Our Digital Network

We joined three new social media networks this year. Take some time to help us expand our network on LinkedIn, Threads, and BlueSky!

Despite some of the shake-ups on social media this past year, our Facebook and Twitter audience remains steady. Every 90 days we reach approximately 3,000 individuals on Facebook every three months and 50,000 – 60,000 accounts on Twitter monthly! We are very close to 9,000 Twitter followers, but with the slow (potential) demise of Twitter and migration to BlueSky and elsewhere, that number is not looking as exciting as it once did.

We experienced the greatest amount of growth over on Instagram, where we now have over 2,700 followers and reach around 10,000 people every three months.

We also have a brand new YouTube channel! For years we used the Nature’s Past channel for all things NiCHE, but we decided that this was the year that the broader organization needed a separate channel.

On the new YouTube channel you will find the fourth season of NiCHE Conversations, an interview series with Jessica DeWitt recorded on Instagram Live. Season Three of NiCHE Conversations included sixteen interviews, and Season Four, which started this September, already has seven interviews in its repertoire. That’s sixty-three interviews in total over the past four years!

New Authors, Fresh Content

In 2023, we registered 102 new user accounts on NiCHE. That’s about on par with the last 3 years. A user account allows individuals to interact with the site by leaving comments or authoring posts, so while not all of the new accounts were for new authors, we can safely say that our contributor base is growing annually.

But the blog isn’t the only place where you can find fresh content. Thanks to the hard work of our editorial team and our 2023 intern Asad Jessani, we revitalized and refreshed many other parts of the site. Have you seen our new guidelines for contributors? What about the digital tools and methods page?

In total, we’ve published 236 posts so far in 2023 (now we’ve got 237). That’s more than 1 post about environmental humanities per weekday, all year long.

Honouraria for Contributors

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, the Network in Canadian History and Environment has limited funds to provide honoraria to contributors each year in recognition of their work and contributions to the network. These funds are available to graduate students, precarious scholars, and any other contributors who are without adequate or consistent access to institutional financial compensation, assistance or support. So far this year we’ve given away 15 honoraria to contributors meeting this criteria (and next year we want to give away even more).

The Best Way to Get Environmental History News

Our wide readership means that the environmental history community knows that NiCHE is a great way to get the word out about their publications and events. This year we published 42 posts under the “news and announcements” category and 30 calls for papers.

Do you subscribe to the NiCHE newsletter? The newsletter is the best way to get concentrated NiCHE content delivered monthly to your inbox. Join the 325 folks who have already opted in for monthly NiCHE updates straight to their inbox.

Twelve New Series on Everything from Arts Based Research to Yukon Anniversaries3

Some of our series continue year to year (have you read Unearthed?) but 2023 saw a record twelve new series published by our hardworking editorial team.

historic photograph of beehive burners

Energy History, edited by Andrew Watson, showcased undergraduate student research in energy history.

Arts Based Research, edited by Amrita DasGupta, explored arts based research in the Anthropocene.

a colourful paint pot with brushes
Close-up of a pine tree shot in black and white.

Emotional Ecologies, edited by Sarah York-Bertram and Jessica DeWitt, explores the history of emotions and emotional futurity from an ecocritical and intersectional view.

The RCMP at 150, edited by Blair Stein, interrogated the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

a historic photograph of mounties in uniform on black horses
a cell phone lying on a bed of green leaves

Digital Natural Histories, edited by Nick Koenig and Heather Rodgers, examined how different technologies can help us explore environmental humanities research in interactive and dynamic ways.

The Yukon Anniversary Series, edited by Heather Green, investigated Yukon’s relationship with resources and environmental transformation.

Vibrant green grass with several bison in the foreground positioned in front of tall trees and a mountain in the background
a group of six people work with raised planter boxes.

The Scholars-in-Residence Program (SiR series), edited by Asad Jessani, highlighted the research work of undergraduate students in the social sciences and their projects aimed at fostering creativity and solving unique global challenges.

Natural Allies, edited by Daniel Macfarlane, was a four post series about his new book of the same name.

Bluewater Bridge over the St. Clair River. Photograph by Daniel Macfarlane
A colour photograph of a bowl with mushrooms and berries

Environmental Histories of Foraging, edited by Nicole Miller, was a series of posts that looked broadly into the idea of foraging as a process of accumulating in the wild, highlighting the finders and what they are keeping.

Parts II and III of Isabelle Gapp and Mark Cheetham’s Visual Cultures of the Circumpolar North series came out this calendar year. Part II continued the series’ focus on visual and material culture, while Part III focused on teaching the circumpolar north from an ecocritical perspective.

A lithograph print showing two people in the foreground walking across a snowy landscape.
Map of Part of the Valley of Red River North of the 49th Parallel (1858)

Heritage Rivers, edited by Ramya Swayamprakash, just got started last week. This series focuses on the historical and cultural place of heritage rivers in Canada.

Ghost Light II is the second part of Caroline Abbott’s annual fall series that problematises the notion of “monstrosity” in the environmental humanities in the interest of illuminating the relationships between non-human, or other-than-human beings, folklore, and environment.

a colour photograph of a giant skeleton in front of a well-decorated house
a colour photo (historic) of a man in a hat getting into a black car. High snowbanks tower on either side.

We have many more series planned for 2024. You still have time to submit your proposals for Blake Butler’s series about ice, snow, and cold in Canada – Winter is Coming!

Canadian History & Environment Summer School (CHESS) at Western University

After a 3-year hiatus, CHESS came back in 2023. CHESS is an in-person event that brings together graduate students, faculty, and other scholars in the fields of environmental history, historical geography, and the environmental humanities. This year, CHESS was at Western University in London from 26 May to 28 May (directly before the annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association at York). The theme was energy history, seen through the lens of the 19th century oil industry in southwestern Ontario & nearby Pennsylvania. Participants enjoyed a keynote address from Pennsylvanian oil industry scholar Brian Black. There was also a tour from Pat and Charlie Fairbank of the Fairbank Oil property, where Charlie is a forth generation owner. There was also time allocated for a visit to the Oil Museum of Canada, and a workshop on quantification with Jim Clifford, Colin Coates, and Ruth Sandwell. Ruth Sandwell gave the closing keynote  exploring the important place of Canada’s early oil industry in the social and environmental history of energy. Thirty-six people took part.

What lies ahead for NiCHE in 2024?

A year ago this month, NiCHE was engaged in its 2022 funding campaign. Thanks to you, we exceeded our $8000 goal. Those funds, combined with many hours of volunteer time on behalf of our editorial and executive teams, made another year of NiCHE possible – and it was our biggest year yet!

Thanks to all our amazing authors, editors, and readers for making 2023 such a success.

What lies ahead? Next week, Alan MacEachern will tell us about what it means for NiCHE to be entering its 20th year. You can learn more about our 2024 plans in our campaign kickoff post.


1 No, I’m not telling you which one.

2 As of 4 November, 2023

3 Unfortunately, none of our series started with the letter ‘z’.

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Mica Jorgenson is an environmental historian of natural resources in Canada. She works in both the academic and public sectors, and teaches periodically at the University of Northern British Columbia.

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