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Workshops and Field Courses for all ages

Community Experiences

Walking the Wild Side: The Nature of Nature Writing

Saturday, October 12, 2019
8:30 am4:30 pm
Wenatchee River Institute
Walking the Wild Side: The Nature of Nature Writing

Take a walk with writing in mind and find a world of inspiration!

The Wenatchee River Institute and Write on the River bring together three north central Washington writers, Ana Maria Spagna, Heather Murphy and Derek Sheffield, with unique perspectives on observing, recording and sharing words about the natural world. Join us for a day-long workshop at the Barn Beach Reserve on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth.

The Saturday October 12 workshop, from 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m., includes morning presentations and prompts and afternoon field writing, concluding with readings by participants and guest writers. The cost is $70, and a picnic lunch is included. Co-sponsorship means members of either Write On The River or the Wenatchee River Institute pay only $60. Attendance is limited to 45, so register soon.

Presenter Bios and their topics:
Ana Maria Spagna, from Stehekin, is the author of several books and two essay collections with a strong environmental focus and is a four-time finalist for the Washington State Book Award. After working on backcountry trail crews for the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, she’s turned to college teaching and writing full-time.
Writing for Change: In an era of mounting ecological challenges, many environmental writers feel an urgency to make a difference, to write for change. But what exactly do we mean by that phrase? And how can we avoid familiar pitfalls like being too didactic or preaching to the choir? This session proposes that good writing for change should also be about change. We’ll look at techniques for bearing witness to our changing planet.

Heather Murphy, a 30-year wildlife biologist, lives in Leavenworth and in retirement has consulted, served as an artist in residence and lead workshops here and in Europe. A watercolorist and nature writer, she donates 10% of proceeds from Her Walleye Cards and Wildtales Journals to conservation and arts organizations. “A Sense of Place,” specific journaling exercises using all the senses, will help you make a more intimate connection with the land and deepen the meaning of your words.
A Sense of Place: Finely-hone your nature observation skills to enrich your writing with a Sense of Place: an intimate connection between people and the land they love. Become a part of the silence while immersing yourself in nature journaling exercises designed to help you listen with all your senses. Using Field Study Techniques, Writing the Senses, and Sense of Place Color Squares, we will deepen the meaning of our words.

Derek Sheffield’s award-winning poetry has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. He is a print and on-line poetry editor and Washington Book Award finalist and has received fellowships from Artist Trust and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Derek lives in Leavenworth and teaches poetry and ecological writing at Wenatchee Valley College. “Writing Wildly” addresses the need in our screen-time age to creatively reconnect through prose and poetry with the more-than-human world, the wildness thriving beyond our windows.
Writing Wildly: Many new terms in our language such as “nature deficit disorder” and “screen time” point to a real need for us to be able to reconnect with the more-than-human world however we can. One of the ways we can do this is through creative uses of language that try to enact the wildness thriving beyond our walls and windows. We will examine and discuss the different ways that works of prose and poetry manage to accomplish this.

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