Mini-forest author to present 2023 Shivvers Memorial Lecture, April 6

Headshot of smiling young woman with dark hair in dark shirt.
Hannah Lewis. 

AMES, Iowa — Author Hannah Lewis will present the 2023 Shivvers Memorial Lecture, Thursday, April 6 at 5:30 p.m., in the Iowa State University Memorial Union, room 3580. The event is free and open to the public.

Lewis, an Iowa State alumna, is the author of “Mini-Forest Revolution: Using the Miyawaki Method to Rapidly Rewild the World.” The 2022 book, with a foreword by well-known environmentalist Paul Hawken, promotes an international movement to restore biodiversity by transforming empty lots, backyards and degraded land into “mini-forests.”

Light refreshments will be served at the ISU Lecture Series event hosted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and the Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government). The event will include a chance to purchase books before the lecture and a short book signing after.

Lewis has a master’s degree in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State and a bachelor’s in environmental studies from Middlebury College in Vermont. She currently works for Renewing the Countryside, a nonprofit headquartered in Minnesota. Her past work has included editing the “Compendium of Scientific and Practical Findings Supporting Eco-Restoration to Address Global Warming,” published by the nonprofit Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, directing the National Center for Appropriate Agriculture’s Midwest Regional Office in Des Moines and coordinating regional farm-to-school efforts.  

Lewis said she became interested in ag policy in college as she became aware of agriculture’s huge impact on the environment.

“My focus shifted toward climate change when my twins were born, which was about the same time one of the reports came out from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” Lewis said. “I started thinking more about what I could do to try to pass down a livable world to our children. I learned about the Miyawaki Method, which seemed on target and doable.”

She started researching the method, recruited allies and, after some setbacks, the group developed a mini-forest on a patch of grass used as a seasonal parking lot in Roscoff, France, where she was living at the time. Since coming back to the states, she’s helped plant one mini-forest in Minnesota, and another is in the planning stage.

“We are pleased to bring Hannah Lewis back to Ames, to share her experiences and the process of creating small forests to sequester carbon and support biodiversity while building community and hope for the future,” said Stephen Dinsmore, interim director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and department chair of Iowa State’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management.  

The Shivvers lectures focus on issues of sustainability, agriculture and the food system, in memory of John Shivvers, who farmed near Knoxville. Initiated in 1969, the events are held with support from the Shivvers Family.