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New memoir by local author argues value of 'quiet and complex' lives of plants

TRU professor and author Lyn Baldwin will host a book launch for Drawing Botany Home on May 24

A Kamloops author, who describes her new book as a botanical memoir, is calling on people to reconnect with plants for the good of the world.

Drawing Botany Home: A Rooted Life is the work of Lyn Baldwin, author and plant conservation biologist at Thompson Rivers University.

Baldwin said botanists have worried for decades about what they call plant blindness, despite how much we rely on plants in our everyday lives.

"The book is a collection of essays that argues restoring our relationship with plants is the first step in restoring the world," Baldwin told KTW.

Baldwin said despite our constant use of plants, we lack stories that connect people and plants.

"I don't think we can think our way back into those stories. I think we have to do. We have to have some practice that cultivates intimacy between us and the plants we're trying to know," she said.

For Baldwin, that practice was not her career in science, but instead the practice of field journaling.

When Baldwin was 12, she was uprooted from Canada by her hippie mother, who unexpectedly married an American man before moving to Montana.

If things got hard, Baldwin did what she learned to do earlier in life — go outside. She said she learned to draw as a way of learning plant names, but it evolved into something more.

"I ran outside with my field journal, and drawing plants was comfort. It made me feel like I could recognize the things around me, even when the country and people were nothing like I expected," she said.

Baldwin spent more than 25 years in Montana before getting a chance to return to B.C.

"My job at TRU gave me reason and opportunity to move back to the interior of B.C., the place I'd always imagined as the heart of my home," she said.

Baldwin said local botany is often taken for granted and hopes to help change that with her book.

"It's the juxtaposition of their unique and extraordinary lives that question all that we take for granted in ours," Baldwin said.

She said her second goal with the book is to help people understand how we might survive in the next 50 to 100 years and to begin looking at plants differently.

"If we're going to survive those challenges, we have to figure out a way to ally ourselves with plants. What we humans do with plants shapes the world," she said, noting plants form 80 per cent of the world's biomass.

A book launch for Drawing Botany Home will be held on Wednesday, May 24, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at TRU's XChange Lab, located at 286 Tranquille Rd. above Bright Eye Brewing.

The book is available for sale on the publisher's website, online at, as well as other major retailers.