A stack of book and a laptop appear across the bottom, with a blue filter over them. Along the left margin in bold white are the words What We're Reading: Research Edition,

What We’re Reading: Research Edition


Wilder researchers are a curious bunch. They're information seekers who enjoy the opportunity to learn about individual experiences and explore larger community contexts while keeping up with the latest research or methods. In the spirit of end-of-summer rest and recovery, we asked Wilder Research staff to share what they’re reading, watching, or listening to right now and why it resonates with them.

Community First Toolkit from the High Line Network - A cool new tool on embedding equity into development projects. If you're working with partners who want to build equity into their project, this could provide some structure and guidance in areas like demographics, mapping, theory of change, and program and policy review. – Allison Liuzzi, Research Manager

The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson - With every sentence, I better understand in my heart and head the generational trauma and incredible strength of Native people in Minnesota. The chapters go back and forth in time across 150 years for a Dakhóta family in Southwest Minnesota. It shows the incredible love and beautiful traditions of the family, as well as the loss and loneliness when family members get forcefully removed from their families and community either through imprisonment, boarding schools, foster care, or death. This story applies to the work we are doing in partnership with Native communities around homelessness and ACEs (adverse childhood experiences). It is also extremely relevant to how we approach our child welfare and foster care work with the counties and the state. - Michelle Decker Gerrard, Senior Research Manager

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – The subtitle “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” describes the contents, but not the beauty and richness of this densely packed book. One does not plow through the chapters, but rather slowly gathers knowledge from considering its teachings. Her stories help me understand a different perspective. - Ann Somers, Executive Assistant

I’m working on converting the grass in our front yard to all native plants, and I’ve been reading Native Plants of the Midwest by Alan Branhagen. Native plants restore habitats and food sources for wildlife, including pollinators, and they don’t require environmentally harmful practices such as using fertilizer, pesticides, and excessive amounts of water. This process is essentially about recognizing how interconnected our environmental system is and the importance of restoring the system to ensure all wildlife thrives. I think about our work at Wilder similarly – humans also live in interconnected systems, and Wilder’s work aims to build and restore systems to ensure all people have access to the resources and supports they need to thrive. - Melissa Serafin, Research Associate

Why by Les Sins has been my current hyper-fixation and it has subsequently lined up while I've been creating a huge codebook for a qualitative survey I’m working on. The irony of the lyrics constantly asking, "Why do you wanna go there?" perfectly encapsulates me trying to get my codes to fit just right to the responses and talk with my fellow coders to feel like we are all on the same page about why they wanna go there (in the codebook). - Kyla Goux, Research Associate

Inflation for Americans at each age from USA Facts - I’m always on the hunt for a cool data tool. This tool allows users to see average spending for households at each age, in the categories that make up the inflation index. People my age are apparently feeling inflation's impact more with legal services...and eggs. - Sheri Holm, Senior Communications Specialist

Organization Development and Change by Thomas Cummings and Christopher Worley - I have used this as a resource for several years! This book is my jam as it focuses on organizational effectiveness and how to move organizations through the change process. There is an organization self-assessment tool (similar to the quizzes in my teen magazines) that helps with team building. - Alissa Jones, Associate Director of Operations

Kindred by Octavia Butler – Kindred is a time travel story about a Black woman named Dana who finds herself transported to early 1800s Maryland to the plantation where her ancestors lived. I just finished this book and found it astounding and moving, like all of Butler’s work. It reckons not only with generational trauma, but also deftly explores tensions in present day racial justice work through the ways that Dana survives antebellum America and wrestles with who her ancestors were. - Ryan Evans, Research Scientist