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Earth’s Eyes. Volume 7. Fall 2021

December 6, 2021

To publish your final project in the Class Magazine, first publish it on your blog then copy that address into the comment box for this page. Include your first name and title of the project in the comment.


Final Project: from compost pile to publication

December 3, 2021

As you begin to compost and develop¬†your final project, an exploration into environmental writing, your own small Walden, you can look back to the heuristic I introduced for the Dillard project, the particle-wave-field: a way to think ecologically about rhetoric and rhetorically about ecology. Use this to generate and organize some initial ideas, and to move between simple and complex. Other creative structures you might remember and put to use for exploring and shaping ideas: Wendell Berry’s examples of what makes for a good solution (“Solving for Pattern”); Buell’s 4 categories for what makes a literary work environmental; Thoreau’s various projects in Walden; our rubric for writing (clarity, complexity, etc.).

In proposing your project, you will identify a mentor: a guide for how you might work your way into an environmental issue or problem, what you might learn from them as writers and as environmental critics. Remember all that we have read. And related: keywords.

You can also think about audience, where and for whom you might publish your work beyond this class. Remember how we began long ago, with Thoreau at the beginning of Walden, thinking about his audience.

You all will be publishing the final project on your blog–and then linking it to the Class Magazine I will set up on my blog. So, that is your most immediate audience. Here is a look at the Magazine from years past. Some specific projects from former students:

Caroline Harvey, “The Bodies of Shipyard Landing”: combines her own Dillard-esque exploration of a neighborhood, with reading and reflection on Dillard and some critical perspective from Buell.

Mike Hudson’s “In the Forest with a Living Ghost,” a nature essay detailing his encounters with owls–and an example to demonstrate that you need not discuss course material (such as Dillard or Buell in the essay you create–the preface is the place for that).

Other venues and models to consider:

Literary House: Warner Prize

Washington College Review

Orion Magazine: submission guidelines

Environmental Humanities

Edge Effects


A Photographic essay, such as Fraking Rachel Carson.

or inspiration from this site that published a collection of 21st-century American landscape photography.

A hybrid web text/exhibit/science experiment: Natural History of the Engima (think Thoreau’s echoing of Goethe’s natural philosophy of the leaf).

Video projects. There are the full-length documentaries, of course–a burgeoning venue for exploring environmental topics: Grizzly Man; Food, Inc; King Corn; The Cove…

But as a beginning, think of a smaller video project to begin exploring a topic or perspective.

Rethinking Wilderness

December 1, 2021


Cronon argues that “it is time to rethink wilderness.” Are you persuaded? How does the rethinking of wilderness play a role in environmental justice?

What ways would you rethink wilderness? How would such rethinking shape your environmental ethics? Or a topic and critical perspective you might explore in your final project? In order to help us do such rethinking, which author/writer/environmentalist/philosopher would you most rely upon–from this course? Or not included in the course (but you would argue should be)?

William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness: or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature”

which refers to Berry’s “Preserving Wildness” and all the way back to the beginnings of the course, Thoreau’s “in wildness is the preservation of the world,” from “Walking.”

For more by Lauret Savoy, author of Trace and “Desegregating Natue,” here is another essay of hers published on Terrain (and drawing upon work that makes its way to Trace): “The Future of Environmental Essay”

And for more on the complications of race and environment, consider the work of Carolyn Finney (a visitor to the College a couple years ago), author of Black Faces/White Spaces. Here is a performance piece on her urban land ethic she created titled Ode to New York. Or this article by David Treuer “Return the National Parks to the Tribes.”

Ecocriticism’s exploration into environmental justice intersects with issues and critical ideas taken up in discourses such as social and racial justice, gender and sexuality, and disability studies. Here is a current example, published in Orion, of environmental justice thinking also about disability: “Age of Disability.”