Local naturalist John C. Newman has been named the first Naturalist-in-Residence at Madison Public Library, through which he will lead a series of events, walks and workshops this fall.

The goal of the Naturalist-in-Residence project is to encourage the Madison community to explore, learn and reflect upon the natural world — and people’s place in it — through the guiding vision of an experienced local naturalist. Those who participate will get to

enjoy Madison Parks, as well as the many green and urban spaces around the city and at libraries.

“Libraries are places of learning, enrichment and joy,” said Kristina Gómez, Community Engagement Librarian at Central Library and program coordinator. “The new Naturalist-in-Residence brings those elements to the outdoors as we celebrate nature and build awareness of our role in preserving and protecting the environment.

With free and accessible events throughout Madison, the residency will be a welcoming and inclusive space for both those experienced with and new to naturalism.”

The theme of Newman’s residency is Nature is for Everyone. It will include nature-inspired art activities, walks in beautiful new places, foraging expeditions, and more.

“I think to be a naturalist can certainly involve visiting beautiful places, but it also is about recognizing how we ourselves are nature, and how the homes and communities we create are part of nature,” Newman said. “Nature is all around us, and even inside of us. I want to help as many people as possible start to see the world this way.”

Newman describes himself as a lifelong forager, a giant science nerd, a passionate educator, and the kid who would excitedly start sentences with “Hey, did you know that … ?” He earned his B.S. in botany at UW-Platteville, and has been a Wisconsin Master Naturalist since 2019.

Upcoming activities include a birding outing with the Feminist Bird Club – Madison Chapter, a foraging expedition, a modeling nature art workshop, a canoe trip and more. Visit madpl.org/ naturalist for a complete list of programs. 

The Naturalist-in-Residence program is made possible in part by generous support from the Friends of Madison Public Library and in partnership with Madison Parks.






We Read is funded by Madison Public Library Foundation, Ascendium Education Group, Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation, Dick Goldberg and Lisa Munro, and Jane Doughty and David Wood.