Our Name and Model

What is a refugium?

In paleoecology, a refugium is a geographical location where environmental conditions remain relatively stable during times of climatic change, acting as a safe haven for the animals and plants impacted by these upheavals. For instance, many  mountain meadows in North America serve as refugia for species that were much more widespread during Pleistocene glacial periods.  During challenging periods, refugia provide shelter to threatened communities, and when conditions in the wider world become favorable again, refugia serve as loci from which these species can once again spread into the surrounding environment.

What we do

At Refugium, we draw from the model of our namesake to foster spaces in the natural sciences where individuals who face systemic oppression and marginalization can cultivate community, share resources, build relationships, develop skills, and radically reimagine a scientific community where all can belong, thrive, and contribute to scientific progress. Furthermore, we work with natural science organizations to engender both small- and large-scale cultural change to shift workplace climates towards a more just, equitable, and inclusive future for the field.