At a time when it has become increasingly common to read news stories about a fire-lost mountain lion wandering unwittingly into somebody’s living room to take a nap, or wildlife attempting safe passage through human-built corridors and spaces, and at a time when the idea of how to best manage or “protect” natural resources and vulnerable species seems more fraught than ever before, it is clear that we can no longer easily discern the boundaries between human-made and “natural” worlds, if we ever could—and that the question of what counts as “home,” and for whom, has subsequently become blurred.

My new book project, At Home in the Anthropocene, tells a set of wildlife stories focused on the question of what counts as “home” in an age of climate change, or climate crisis—or at a time when the ecosystems that vulnerable species call home are constantly in flux for reasons related to predominantly anthropogenic forces.

The stories each highlight posthuman interventions into the lives of vulnerable species, with a focus on how such interventions can foster compassionate conservation practice, and how they can create, constrain, shape, refashion, or call into question ideas about what counts as home in Anthropocene times. The stories consider, for instance, the practice of wildlife rehabilitation; responses to recent increases in human/nonhuman animal encounters, especially related to mountain lion and black bear encounters in areas of significant human use; and the creation of wildlife corridors, or “bands of forest habitat that are large and intact enough that they provide animals with an important bridge between larger blocks of habitat” (Stowe Land Trust), understanding these corridors as reflective of the value systems, lenses, and infrastructures that inform decision-making about our relationships with and perceived responsibilities to our nonhuman kin at a moment of destabilizing ecologies.

This project first aired during my April 2019 visit to Oregon State University, where I presented some of my work on animal encounters and wildlife corridors at the Critical Questions Lecture Series, in “What Counts as Home in the Anthropocene?” Since, then, I’ve continued my research into the ongoing question of “what counts as home,” and will next present some of this work at the Rhetoric Society of America conference in Portland, OR, in May 2020. This coming winter and spring 2020 will take me to areas of southern California, Colorado, and Vermont, for starters, where I will continue to tell the stories of vulnerable species in flux and on the move. Stay tuned!