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Dr. Robin Kimmerer Elected to U.S. National Academy of Sciences

Syracuse, N.Y. – The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), one of the nation’s premier colleges focused exclusively on the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable future, is proud to announce Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) during the Academy’s annual meeting May 2.

"Dr. Kimmerer’s dedication to advancing traditional ecological knowledge and its connection to western science through her research is truly inspiring to the next generation of scientists, but also those who are introduced to her work through her writing. This well-deserved recognition is a testament to her hard work and contributions to the field,” said ESF President Joanie Mahoney.

Academy members are elected to the NAS in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Newly elected members will be formally inducted during the 2024 annual meeting. Those elected bring the total number of active members to 2,565 and the total number of international members to 526.

Kimmerer, a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, is also a 2022 MacArthur Fellow and the director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment (CNPE) at ESF. She brings to her scientific research and writing her lived experience as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the principles of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and the ecology of mosses.

In collaboration with tribal partners, Kimmerer and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science education for Native students and to create new models for the integration of indigenous philosophy and scientific tools on behalf of land and culture. She is engaged in programs that introduce the benefits of traditional ecological knowledge to the scientific community in a way that respects and protects indigenous knowledge.

Kimmerer holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in botany from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s in botany from ESF. She has authored numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge, and restoration ecology.

Kimmerer's book "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants" has been a fixture on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Best Sellers list since February 2020. The book is a collection of essays weaving traditional ecological knowledge with scientific knowledge to examine the relationship people have and can have, with the living environment.


The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world. The College offers academic programs ranging from the associate of applied science to the Doctor of Philosophy. ESF students live, study and do research on the main campus in Syracuse, N.Y., and on 25,000 acres of field stations in a variety of ecosystems across the state.