Kate Coffin spent much of her childhood outdoors and in nature. She had a profound love for animals and the world around her. As time passed, and she began to recognize the neglect of the Earth and the disconnect that people had from it, she felt she needed to help.
In 2020, Coffin, a 1998 anthropology alumna, began working on “Kindred,” a podcast dedicated to connecting with animals and the environment, with the first episode airing in May 2021. Each episode features an interview from an expert on the topic and aims to highlight the connection between humans and the ecosystems we live in.
Coffin’s love of nature first manifested in her dog collar business Otis and Roo, which she founded in 2008, to use her designs and create connections between people and their pets. She needed to reach a broader audience during the pandemic, so she then decided to create a podcast.
Coffin signed her sister Jenn Asplundh as co-host, and friend Kat Gatti as the producer, who had worked on social media for Coffin’s dog collar business, Otis and Roo.
On Oct.11, “Kindred” rolled out the first episode of their third season, titled “Man’s Other Best Friend,” which discusses cats and their relationships with humans. Episodes are released bi-monthly on all major podcast platforms, like Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
“We offer a platform where we get super smart people that can tell us how we can understand the ecosystems that we live in every day and how then, can we support that, the natural world better and then at the same time, learn how the natural world is only here to support us and without each other, we don’t, we not only don’t survive, we don’t thrive,” Coffin said.
Asplundh was reluctant when Coffin asked her to co-host “Kindred” because she was working three part-time jobs at the time, but Coffin reassured Asplundh that her work would be minimal, she said.
Today, Asplundh enjoys her role in the podcast because of the people they get to interview and have conversations about connecting with nature.
“Overall, every conversation and interview we have is always something I look forward to, I feel like a kid in a candy store,” Asplundh said.
Adjusting to the demands of the podcast has been challenging for the sisters because they do not have scientific or podcasting backgrounds. Coffin needed to learn the interview process and Asplundh needed to adjust to more science-heavy conversations; they both feel the challenges make the podcast more rewarding.
So far this season, “Kindred” has featured a lineup of notable individuals in the environmental field, like Kristyn Vitale, an assistant professor of animal health and behavior at Unity College, and May Berenbaum, a National Medal of Science award winner.
“Kindred” has gained traction in the environmental science community since its first season and the team has had more success getting more high-profile guests to appear on the show, Gatti said.
“I think now that we’re getting some traction and people can see what we’ve been doing last year, we’re getting people who want to talk to us now, we rarely ever get a ‘no’ when I reach out to people as guests,” Gatti said.
Coffin looks forward to continuing to work with experienced members of the natural and environmental science fields.
“There’s just some really amazing human beings that have inspired me tremendously that we’ve been able to interview and so just more of, yeah, looking forward to just being able to do more of that and to continue to place value in these conversations,” Coffin said.