Community-Based Nature Writing Opportunities this Summer

Intergenerational Nature Writing This Summer

Writing intersects with the natural world in many ways. Genres of nature writing include science writing, environmentally inspired literature, and works of environmental advocacy. Walks and hikes through the woods and mountains, journeys through rivers and streams, can inspire all types of artwork from poetry about the beauty of the natural world to imploring essays on our responsibility to preserve it.

And because of the natural beauty of our region, Western Massachusetts has a rich literary history. Famous authors such as Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes all share ties to the Berkshire area. In addition, Emily Dickinson, Edith Wharton, Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, William Cullen Bryant, W.E.B. Du Bois- all hold historic ties to Western Massachusetts.

Those interested in learning about literary history should check out our post: 10 Resources for Literary Learning in Western MA. Others may want to follow in the footsteps of these authors, many of whom drew upon the natural surroundings of the Pioneer Valley in their writing.

Here are several upcoming community-based opportunities that support your interests: 

Resource: Museum

On Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 10:30am, nature lovers of all ages are invited to the Clark Art Institute to hike stone hill and record their thoughts and observations. Conservation biologist, artist, author, and nature journalist Jennifer Lovett will lead this outdoor expedition and journaling event. Lovett has a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies and is author of the children’s book, Beavers Away! This program is free with museum admission. For more information call 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. (>$)

Resource: Libraries

Adults who wish to continue practicing their journaling with others can participate in “The Writing Room” at the Forbes Library in Northampton (20 West Street) every Wednesday from 9:30am-12:30am.

Intergenerational writing opportunities are offered in both Easthampton and Greenfield. The Storytelling & Writing Group at the Emily Williston Memorial Library in Easthampton (9 Park Street) meets on the Saturday of every month from 11:30-12:30, and “Write Club” at the Greenfield Public Library (402 Main Street) takes place on certain Wednesdays from 6:30pm-8:30pm. 


Nature Reading List:

For Children:

For Adults and Teens:

  • Eaarth by Bill McKibben
  • Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
  • A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
  • Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

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