Carolyn Finney, PhD is a storyteller, author and a cultural geographer who is grounded in both artistic and
intellectual ways of knowing – she pursued an acting career for eleven years, but five years of backpacking
trips through Africa and Asia, and living in Nepal changed the course of her life. Motivated by these experiences,
Carolyn returned to school after a 15-year absence to complete a B.A., M.A. (gender and environmental issues
in Kenya and Nepal) and a Ph.D. (where she was a Fulbright and a Canon National Science Scholar Fellow).
Along with public speaking (nationally & internationally), writing, media engagements, consulting & teaching (she
has held positions at Wellesley College, the University of California, Berkeley & the University of Kentucky), she
served on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board for eight years. Her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces:
Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors was released in 2014. Recent
publications include Self-Evident: Reflections on the Invisibility of Black Bodies in Environmental Histories
(BESIDE Magazine, Montreal Spring 2020), The Perils of Being Black in Public: We are all Christian Cooper
and George Floyd (The Guardian, June 3rd 2020), and Who Gets Left Out of the Great Outdoors Story?
(The NY Times November 4 2021).
She is currently working on her new book (creative non-fiction) that takes a more personal journey into the very
complicated relationship between race, land & belonging in the United States, and a performance piece entitled
The N Word: Nature Revisited as part of an Andrew W. Mellon residency at the New York Botanical Gardens
Humanities Institute. Along with being the new columnist at the Earth Island Journal, she was recently awarded
the Alexander and Ilse Melamid Medal from the American Geographical Society and is an artist-in-residence in
the Franklin Environmental Center at Middlebury College.