City Cast

From the Library to the Wilderness

Hayley Sperling
Hayley Sperling
Posted on October 11   |   Updated on November 1
Qwantese Winters stands in a wooded area wearing a white top and smiling

Qwantese Dourese Winters is a doula, writer, agriculturist, and mixed media artist based in Madison. (City of Madison)

The Madison Public Library wants to help people embrace the great outdoors.

Since 2022, the library has hosted a Naturalist-in-Residence series to encourage people to get outside, learn about the environment, and build community along the way.

In the inaugural six-week program of fall 2022, neurodivergent naturalist John Newman led his residency with the theme “Nature is for Everyone.” The event series featured nature-inspired art activities, birding 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. 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 told Channel 3000 at the time.

For the Naturalist-in-Residence program’s second year, artist, agriculturist, and TV host Qwantese Winters focused her residency on getting people “Rooted in Nature.”

Winters is the host of “Let’s Grow Stuff” on PBS Wisconsin. During her residency, she helped Madisonians reconnect with and embrace the land through workshops that included meditative walks, creating digestive bitters, brewing herbal teas, and more.

As a self-described “food doula” — and certified birthing doula — Winters understands the powerful relationship between what we consume and how it affects our bodies. From understanding the secret powers of weeds and herbs to using apple cider vinegar hair rinses, there are plenty of ways to connect with nature in your daily life.

For more on Winters’ residency, check out her conversation with City Cast Madison.

Hey Madison

Want to know what's happening in Madison? Sign up for our free newsletter, Madison Minutes. Packed with local news, curated event recs, local life hacks, and more, it's your daily toolkit for getting the most out of the city you love.