Meet a Colleague: Leah Naomi Green Leah Naomi Green serves as visiting assistant professor of English and environmental studies.
Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
Q. What courses are you teaching this term?
Environmental Poetry Workshop and The Nature of Nature.
Q. What is your favorite course to teach?
My Spring Term EcoWriting course is such a joyful investment of time. In that class, the group builds a level of trust while hiking, writing and learning together in the woods, which translates very clearly into pushing themselves (both personally and technically) to take risks in the classroom and in the creative work they submit for group “workshops.” Because they develop that trust, a new level of vulnerability becomes possible in their work; this makes for better writing and better learning.
I am also excited about my new literature course, Nature as Self: Environmental Literature in the Anthropocene. In this course, we go deep into discussions regarding human relationships to the more-than-human world. Reading work from a variety of incredible thinkers on the topic allows us to help one another think through important, underlying ideas.
Q. What is the most satisfying aspect of teaching?
Being present with students as they think new and exciting thoughts, and getting to think new thoughts with them! It always amazes me how much change is possible on this level.
Q. What do you like most about working at W&L?
Well, I am a sucker for Rockbridge County and its community. The small (but not too small) population invokes a kind of responsibility to the ecosystem and its people. This carries onto campus; any energy I put into my interactions and relationships here sticks around, and I am held accountable to my actions in a way that I find very satisfying.
Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
I have a particular affinity for the alumni house porch and can often be found there (sometimes I refer to it as “my office”). I am also fond of the dell next to Woods Creek where I often hold class.
Q. What advice do you have for students (or parents)?
Pay attention to how you feel when you are doing whatever it is you are doing — whatever it is (studying a particular subject, engaging in an activity, etc.). The skill of asking “how do I feel when doing this?” may serve you even better than the study or action itself.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Time in our vegetable garden with my husband and two young daughters, or with them in the woods finding mushrooms, wild fruit, etc.
Q. Where did you grow up?
Greensboro, North Carolina.
Q. Who inspired you to teach? What about them inspired you?
My undergraduate advisor at Earlham College, Scott Hess, taught environmental literature classes in which I could feel my mind growing and becoming more spacious. There was not really any going back for me after that.
Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
I’ve hiked most of the Appalachian Trail and have farmed in New Zealand and Costa Rica, but honestly — motherhood. Being a partner and mother pushes boundaries of growth and self in ways that solo adventuring never could for me.
Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
Exactly where it is. My family and I homestead (grow most of our own food, heat with wood, etc.) about 30 minutes outside of Lexington. It’s definitely a choice, which we continue to make.
Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I very seriously considered ordaining as a Buddhist nun.
Q. What is your secret talent?
Focusing all of my attention on whatever is in front of me (for better and for worse). This works out in writing poems, and I am lucky to get to use it for that, as it is not a “talent” which helps in all tasks. For instance, I would be a terrible stock broker or sports announcer.
Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
My website is leahnaomigreen.com.