Episode 12: Featuring Poet and Ecologist Dr. J. Drew Lanham, Nature Writer and Illustrator Marni Fylling and NYC Botanist Marielle Anzelone

Episode 12 is now available on Spotify,
Apple, Google, and Amazon

The WildStory: A Podcast of Poetry and Plants
by the Native Plant Society of New Jersey

Hosted by Ann E. Wallace, PhD
Poet Laureate of Jersey City

Co-host Kim Correro,
Rutgers Master Gardener and Director of State Programs

Special Contributor Dr. Randi Eckel
Entomologist and Vice President of Membership NPSNJ

Do you have a question about native plants for Randi?

In episode 12, we reflect on the nature that is close at hand, in our backyards, neighborhoods, and nearby wild places—as our featured guests invite us into the habitats they explore, celebrate, and help preserve—and share the joy those spaces spark.

First, J. Drew Lanham (02:49)—poet, ecologist, and ornithologist—speaks with Ann about his new book Joy is the Justice We Give Ourselves, and the lessons he learned from his grandmother about seeking out joy in whatever places we might find it, as a way of living and of being. For Drew, that joy is often found in nature, in communion with birds, trees, and other wildlife whose histories and journeys inspire curiosity and connection.

Then Randi Eckel tackles an Ask Randi (0:37:47) question from Maureen in North Jersey: How can we peacefully coexist with squirrels and bunnies in our native plant gardens? Good news! There are native plants that will help.

Kim talks with Marni Fylling (0:45:15) about her book Fylling’s Illustrated Guide to Nature In Your Neighborhood. It is a delightful guide to help you identify and understand the flora and fauna you may encounter right outside your door. Marni reminisces about her days exploring nature along the “100 Steps” stairway, which connects Jersey City Heights and Hoboken, NJ. 

We are then joined by Marielle Anzelone, an urban ecologist and founder of NYC Wildflower Week. Marielle, a double graduate of Rutgers University, has lived among the plants of the New Jersey-New York metro area nearly all her life. She discusses her time at Rutgers and the two professors who helped guide her career. She then offers important insights and reminders of the critical role native plants play in the ecology of the Big Apple.