Lucy Braun (1889–1971) was born and lived her entire life in Cincinnati. She received a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Cincinnati before becoming the second woman in the sciences and the third woman ever to receive a Ph.D. Her sister Annette was the first. Lucy earned her Ph.D. in 1914, six years before woman won the right to vote in the U.S.

Dr. Braun was a remarkable individual, encompassing many roles in her life: sister, teacher, conservationist and, most importantly, scientist. Lucy was one of the first people to conduct scientific research in the field of plant ecology. Her research culminated in the book Deciduous Forests of Eastern Northern America (1950), a groundbreaking publication that received recognition and praise for its detailed documentation of deciduous trees from New Brunswick to Florida. In all, Braun published over 180 works, including four books and papers in 20 different journals.

Lucy’s effort to preserve a small xeric limestone prairie, now known as “Lynx Prairie,” resulted in not only the preservation of this small 22-acre parcel, but this first acquisition also acted as the cornerstone of what was to become the 20,000-acre Richard & Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System. The conservation of this small patch of prairie was important not just locally. Her efforts led directly to the establishment of what would become the largest conservation organization in the world – The Nature Conservancy, which would go on to help conserve over 119 million acres worldwide.

A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun

A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun is a one-hour documentary that explores the life and legacy of E. Lucy Braun, one of the foremost botanists and ecologists in American history.

The film is a co-production of Meg Hanrahan Media and Voyageur Media Group, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of public media about science, history and culture. The one-hour documentary was broadcast on regional public television stations during the fall of 2018.

The film premiered on television on CET on Sunday, October 7, 2018.

Get a copy of the DVD!

DVDs of A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun are available for $25. To make a purchase, complete the order form on Voyageur Media Group's website.

A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun is made possible with the support of Meshewa Farm Foundation, Ohio Humanities, Anness Family Charitable Fund, Alan B. Lindner Family Fund, Camden Foundation, The Nature Conservancy in Ohio, Cincinnati Museum Center, Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Buck Niehoff, Motch Family Foundation, Inc., Indian Hill Garden Club, University of Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences, Hope Taft, Amy Banister and Carl Stich, Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society, Midwest Native Plant Society and numerous individual donors.

Available to stream or download

This excellent documentary about the Cincinnati native shows her role as a scientist, educator and conservationist. Her remarkable abilities to lead and inspire others led to the benefit of the natural world, including the creation of Cincinnati Museum Center’s Richard and Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System.

CMC’s E. Lucy Braun Collections
CMC's Mural to Honor E. Lucy Braun

Click here to check it out.

Lesson plans for A Force for Nature: Lucy Braun

The production team, in collaboration with Cincinnati Museum Center, have developed educational materials to supplement this documentary. Lesson plans cover a wide variety of topics in science, social studies, history, language arts and math and are appropriate for upper elementary grades through high school. Educators are encouraged to download and read through this introduction prior to executing the lesson plans.

External Resources