Inspiring reads in science, Environment, and sustainability

Welcome to TWIG's brand new book club! We are pleased to offer this book club to current TWIG members. The Iris is the Tennessee State Flower, and a fitting acronym for what we hope to read together!

What's so different about our book club? Each meeting we will meet and discuss what we've read AND we will pair a service activity to go along with each book to support a local non-profit or sustainability initiative in Tennessee! This activity will occur on the weekend after we meet.

Meetings are every other month with a rotating location. The book club is led by Renee Barker and Leah Sherry, and input from members is always appreciated.

Let's hear your feedback about our meetings and the next book club pick!


Stay in touch by signing up for our IRISES Newsletter with your name and email! Send a message to and we'll add you to the newsletter.

View our latest newsletter here.

Currently Reading

Black Faces, White Places: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney

Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans. Bridging the fields of environmental history, cultural studies, critical race studies, and geography, Finney argues that the legacies of slavery, Jim Crow, and racial violence have shaped cultural understandings of the "great outdoors" and determined who should and can have access to natural spaces.

Drawing on a variety of sources from film, literature, and popular culture, and analyzing different historical moments, including the establishment of the Wilderness Act in 1964 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Finney reveals the perceived and real ways in which nature and the environment are racialized in America. Looking toward the future, she also highlights the work of African Americans who are opening doors to greater participation in environmental and conservation concerns.

Meeting date: September 29 2020
Time: 6pm

Location: Virtual Meeting - wherever you are via Zoom (will update to in-person depending on current situation)

next activity details

Volunteer Opportunity for Untamed coming soon! Please review our ongoing virtual volunteer opportunities during COVID 19 below:

Virtual Volunteer Opportunities!

You can still volunteer your time remotely from your computer!
For our stay-at-home service activity, we invite you to explore your yard with one or both of these citizen science opportunities. Take photos of you in action and we will share them on our socials and at our April 28 meeting!

1: Flowering Dogwoods Cloned Plants Project
Participate in a regional campaign for National Phenology Network to help researchers answer key questions, get info-rich emails with localized results, and an end of season summary. They need help identifying characteristics of dogwood trees. If you have one of these nearby, sign up to input information about your flowering tree!

2. iNaturalist in your backyard!
iNaturalist is a hub run by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. Get outside and make some observations from your own backyard! Plants, insects, birds, and more can be photographed and tagged with a pin. If you have identification skills, they also need help with the millions of nature observations submitted. Even the first step of information is helpful for posts with zero tags -- identifying whether a photo is of a plant or animal!


For more ideas, see How to Help Scientists Without Leaving Home.

Looking back...

September 2018


Book: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Service Activity: National Public Lands Day at Old Stone Fort State Park

pet community center.jpg

November 2018


Book: Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall

Service Activity: Pet Community Center in East Nashville


January 2019


Book: The Lamentations of Zeno by Ilija Trojanow

Service Activity: Warner Parks Winter Birding: cleaning and citizen science bird count


March 2019


Book: Garbology by Edward Humes

Service Activity: Pickup for a Pint with Turnip Green Creative Reuse and Jackalope Brewery


June 2019


Book: Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Service Activity: Helping at Glencliff High School Garden, a teaching and learning hub for volunteers, students, and community partners! The garden serves as a vibrant resource for students and volunteers to grow gardening skills, learn about healthy eating choices and gain an understanding of food access in our community, as well as create an effective learning environment for students at Glencliff.


August 2019


Book: The Fate of Food by Amanda Little

Service Activity: Assisting with meal prep tasks at The Nashville Food Project's commercial kitchen. Their mission is bringing people together to grow, cook and share nourishing food, with the goals of cultivating community and alleviating hunger in our city.

October 2019


Book: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Service Activity: Unfortunately the service event was canceled due to weather

March 2020

Book: Women Who Run With The Wolves

Service Activity: Weed Wrangle with The Nashville Zoo!

April 2020

Book: Inconspicuous Consumption

Service Activity: iNaturalist and Flowering Dogwoods Cloned Plant Project

June 2020

Book: Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island

Service Activity: Check out Wild Cumberland, and stay tuned for a way we can assist Carol with author Will Harlan!

Mailing Address

901 Broadway, Unit 22117

Nashville, TN 37202

Email Contact

  • White Facebook Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now