Episode 81: Women in Wild Places 

Lilace Melin Guinard, wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans with grey hair and glasses, sits on a park bench and looks down at the cover of her memoir "When Everything Beyond the Walls is Wild: Being a Woman Outdoors in America."


In this month’s episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio, we feature two women so compelled by their experiences in the wilderness that they published books about them.

Lilace Melin Guinard, is a poet and non-fiction writer. Citizens’ Climate Radio host Peterson Toscano walks alongside Guinard in northern Pennsylvania’s Hill Creek State Park as the two discuss the unique experiences that women face alone in nature. As a young woman who was fed up with non-communicative boyfriends, Guinard sought out solace in wild spaces and places. Backpacking and solo trips equipped her with autonomy and released her from the fear of the outdoors she was taught while growing up in suburbia in the 1980s. 

Lilace Mellin Guignard wears a blue jacket and blue jeans, sitting on a shaded park bench and reading her memoir

In her memoir, “When Everything Beyond the Walls Is Wild: Being a Woman Outdoors in America,” Guinard explores the challenges and rewards of exploring wilderness alone. She writes to tell the stories of a regular person empowered by facing the risks of enjoying nature alone. This memoir provides accounts of her experiences alone, often accompanied by her dog, in remote wilderness. She reflects on the ways culture socializes women to find safety indoors while overlooking the dangers women and girls can encounter in their own homes. She emphasizes that these cultural messages shape women as they participate in outdoor recreation. Guinard, who has been a professor of creative writing, women’s studies, and outdoor recreation leadership, draws from her expansive knowledge of literature and encourages previously marginalized members of society to take advantage of the beauty of nature and the great outdoors. 


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Dig Deeper

Art House

“I’m rooting for us, but I’m also rooting for the rest of nature” — Hila Ratzabi

In this Art House segment, Citizens’ Climate Radio shines the spotlight on poet, writer, and editor Hila Ratzabi. In her recent book, “There Are Still Woods,” Ratzabi writes both for herself as well as others who need to process their strong emotions around climate change. Her advice? Recognize that there are ways to get involved. Beyond political action, she recognizes the importance of cultivating our creative sides. 

Hila Ratzabi stands in a floral dress on a balcony with her book "There Are Still Woods"

Raised in the borough of Queens in New York City, Ratzabi has always written poetry to make sense of the world around her. Communion with nature has been a personal aspiration of hers since she was a young girl, and it has been a running motif in her body of work. However, it took living through Hurricane Sandy to shift her focus to the relationship between humans and climate change. 

In this episode, she reads and breaks down a selection from her book. In “Willapa Bay,” Ratzabi recollects her time at an artist residency in the westernmost point of Washington State, a space where she was able to have a spiritual connection with nature. With her senses heightened, she pondered the sight of the tilted moon and the sounds of the wind blowing through the seagrass. Ratzabi practices gratitude for being a part of nature while simultaneously fretting over grasping Mothers Earth’s fleeting beauty as it slips away due to ongoing and impending threats of climate change. 

Resilience Corner

Tamara Staton, CCL’s Education and Resilience Coordinator, shares the fifth and final step to building resilience: Repeat

Get more tips and resources by visiting The Resiliency Hub

Tamara encourages listeners to remember that “You are strong, you are resilient, and you can make things happen.”

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Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano.