Here are three small poems from this week, as part of my morning “write a poem” routine (and don’t worry too much about editing and revision). These all come via one word prompts off Mastodon, and dovetail nicely into the start of the place-based, nature-themed Write Out project that kicks off tomorrow.
My friend and NWP colleague shared this out for Write Out (which kicks off this Sunday) as part of a prompt about finding your own Writing Spots. Here, this video essay focuses on a Listening Spot in the natural world, and it is just beautiful.
As the title suggests, this picture book for older readers explores the tricky science of re-introducing species of animals and plants — who are either no longer in their native landscapes or are on the brink of being lost to the landscapes — to their native habitats.
From the Tigers of Sariska to Snot Otters to Wild Horses, Lynx and Peregrine Falcons, to Island Foxes and Maine Caribou, and so much more, the book explores the success, failures and worries of the movement to help animals get a solid footing in places where humans or climate change have forced them out. The book acknowledges rather openly how difficult the process can be, and how controversial it can become, particularly when it comes to larger predators being introduced in areas where farms and communities have been established.
But the overall theme is one of finding balance in nature, and of humans doing their part to perhaps right some of the wrongs of the past, when our need for land and resources overrode our need to share the land with other creatures. There is no one fix, nor one way to make amends, the book suggests, but perhaps, with our own skills in science and innovation, we can help some species to survive.
The artwork in the book is wonderful, and engaging, and this book would be a perfect fit for any upper elementary or middle school classroom.
Note: I read this book because of Write Out kicks off in a few days. More information is here: https://writeout.nwp.org/ It’s free, place-based activities connecting writing and inquiry to the National Park Service, and other spaces, through the coordination of the National Writing Project.
My National Writing Project friends down in Southern Connecticut are hosting an event this month at the Weir Farm National Historic Site, inviting their educators to a theme of “Reading Landscapes & Writing Nature” for the 2022 Write Out Project. Bryan C shared out a StoryMap he has been building, and shared it out, and I followed his map and story, but I kept coming back to the phrase: Reading Landscapes.
I had this inspiration to make a piece of instrumental music, using that theme of “Reading Landscapes” that eventually morphed into “Listening To Landscapes” as my guiding muse. So I pulled out my keyboard, opened up some music software, and began to compose.
All through the making of the music, I had certain memories in my mind — of wandering through a forest on a path, of pausing on a rocky overlook on a mountain top, of floating on a river on kayak, of sensing peace in a dark wooded area, of returning to the path.
CLMOOC friends gathered and created artwork for a collective calendar for the 2022 year nearly a year ago now. Download it for free, if interested. I composed a short piece of music for each month as my contribution, and I am sharing out each month’s track at the start of each month.
In WriteOut, which starts on October 9, some of the pre-work has centered on making journals. The second Make suggestion was to create a Nature Journal with paper, rubber bands and a stick for a spine. I went out to the yard to collect leaves for my journal experiment.
We’re reading Book: My Autobiography, about the history of stories and books, and the concept of Illuminated Letters provides a nice path to doing some artwork, as students use their name initials to create a version of an “illuminated letter” from the Middle Ages.