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Leila Philip

How Beavers Made America and Now Fight Climate Change

In her talk, based on her book “Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America,” Leila Philip invites us to take a new look at a familiar but unusual animal: castor canadensis, the North American beaver. This fascinating rodent has begun to play a new role in the 21st century. Its work is being harnessed to combat the devastating impacts of climate change such as flooding, wildfires, and drought. 


“Beaverland,” published in 2022 after six years of research, is a New York Times Editor’s Choice and NPR Science Friday Book Club selection. The Wall Street Journal said it’s “as full of charm and wonder as its beguiling protagonist.”


Leila Philip holds the Brook Chair in the Humanities at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester MA, where she teaches in the Environmental Studies Program. Her website is


Peterborough Renewable Energy Project (PREP)