Overnight activities:  Students are responsible for food and gas expenses totally roughly $100 to be paid directly to vendors during trips

Blue Ridge Mountains – a Winter Wonderland  (Mandatory university excused absence required)

  • 13 Feb – meet vans at 12 pm for departure; arrive at campsite; prepare dinner & bed
  • 14 Feb – Snowshoeing/cross country skiing at Moses Cone Memorial Park,Hike Hebron Rock Colony
  •  15 Feb – Hiking Grandfather Mountain; Free Time 
  • 16 Feb – Hiking Linville Gorge; Linville Caverns
  • 17 Feb – return Greenville

SNOW DATE:  27 Feb – 3 Mar 2013

Roanoke River Canoeing – (22-24 Mar 2013) – Mandatory University excused absence required

  • 22 Mar – meet at 8 am to depart; canoe to first campsite
  • 23 Mar – Fishing, canoe second campsite
  • 24 Mar – canoeing, Break camp; return to ECU

RAIN DATE:  5-7 April 2013

Class Structure

Class will meet once a week.  The first part of class will be devoted to follow-up of student discussion forums online, examination of student writing by whole and small groups, discussion of readings, and exploration/critical engagement with the following themes:

  1. Writing Personal Experience in Nature
  2. Place, History and Identity
  3. Cultural Diversity and Biodiversity
  4. Documenting and Constructing Nature for Audiences
  5. Problematizing the Wilderness
  6. Purpose and Function of the Wild
  7. Writing the Elements and Survival
  8. Environmental Ethics

The second half of class will include outdoor skill acquisition in conjunction with the ECU Adventure Program or taking day trips for nature/science experiences.  Two overnight trips to be held during the semester will be required.  

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, students will have a working knowledge in the following areas:


  • Process Approach to Composition (generating ideas, drafting, soliciting feedback, publishing, and process reflection)
  • Writing with Technology in New Mediums (blogs, wikis, etc.)
  • Writing to learn, writing to demonstrate, writing for authentic audiences
  • Collaborating with others in academic and wilderness settings
  • Conventions and strategies for writing about nature
  • Guide students in forming connections between content in humanities and sciences


  • The purpose, place, preservation and context of wilderness and wildness
  • Biodiversity and its relation to wilderness and man
  • Contextual knowledge of the impact of man on nature
  • Wilderness and its changing landscape
  • Skills and knowledge of how to interact with wilderness responsibly
  • Experiential knowledge of local ecosystems and biodiversity

Required Texts        

Students will choose one of the following nonfiction environmental texts and engage with their peers in literature circles to discuss the themes and author’s craft in the text (Choose one)

Bill Bryson. (1999). A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering the Appalachian Trail ISBN-13: 978-0767902526

Jennifer Pharr Davis. Becomming Odyessa.  ISBN-13: 978-0825306495

Shorter Readings (provided by instructors)

  • Thoreau,“Walking”
  • Dillard, “Living Like Weasels”
  • Lopez, “The Stone Horse”
  • White, “Black Women in the Wilderness”
  • Leopold, “Thinking Like a Mountain”
  • Wilson, “The Current State of Biodiversity”
  • Adams, “Letters, 1916-1984”
  • Wysocki, “Visual Rhetoric”
  • Cronin, “The Trouble with Wilderness”
  • Abram, “Power of place”
  • Bergstrom, “Wilderness Values Framework”
  • Roberts, “The Wilderness Debate”
  • Hogan, “Caves”
  • Leopold, “Wilderness”
  • Noss, “Soul of the Wilderness”
  • Mosden, “Ecopsychology”
  • Deblieu, “Wind”
  • Williams, “Water”
  • Leopold, “The Land Ethic”

Required Materials

  1. Laptops for use in the classroom
  2. Digital Story creation software such as iMovie, VoiceThread, MovieMaker, etc.
  3. Earphones for sharing Digital Stories during peer conferencing
  4. Camera to capture photos of wilderness locations
  5. Daybooks and pencils for writing and sketching in the field
  6. Post-It Notes for responding to others


Reading Discussion Forms – Online (min. 300 words per week= 4500 words)

Much of our class discussion concerning readings will talk place in online forums.  Students will be required to post and respond to peer reviews online to facilitate discussion topics prior to class meeting.  A follow up discussion of online posts will be had at the beginning of each class.

Daybooks (Writing to Learn)

Students will keep a daybook to record their experiences, responses, and reflections on outdoor excursions and learning experiences as well as respond to eight to ten writing invitations based on course themes.  Students will meet with instructors face-to-face after midterm to participate in a daybook defense that requires them to contextualize, synthesize, and reflect on their use of the daybook as a tool for developing writing fluency/stamina, critical thinking, and awareness of writing to learn strategies.

Writing Invitations (min. 6000 words)

Natural Histories (500 words min.)

What are your earliest memories of nature? Rivers, Lakes, Streams, Gardens, Animals, Plants, Weather? What was it like? What did you do in nature? With whom?  What fears or phobias do you have regarding the wild? How does nature function in your day-to-day life? How would your life be different without experiences in and contact with the natural world?

Taking Fieldnotes.  (500 words min.)

How do we document and keep a record of our natural experiences?  How can keeping a double-entry field journal and recording fieldnotes make us better observers, thinkers, and writers?  How does this writing in the discipline inform how scientific knowledge  is obtained?

Fieldnote Poetry.  (100 words min.)

Paying attention to words and images and capturing setting and tone.

Place, History & Identity.  (500 words min.)

How does your embodiment shape the specific ways that you experience the wilderness?  Write about one or two crucial aspects of your history, ancestery, culture, gender, age, etc. that enhance, augment, shape, or limit your relationship with wild nature.

Communicating though image, sound and text.  (500 words min.)

How can you use multimedia tools to document and communicate your understanding of nature to an audience?  Create a photo essay, digital story or walking tour of an experience in the wild.

Nature and Spirituality. (500 words min.)

 How do you define a sacred space?  Where in nature do you feel a sense of spirituality and connection to higher power(s) or an intensity of the power of place?  Through specific, detailed description of that place, convey the intensity of this setting.

The Power of the Elements. (500 words min.)

Write your autobiography through your relationship with one of the elements (earth, air, fire, water).  

The Selfish Argument.  (500 words min.)

How is your own mental and physical health tied to that of the places you live, work, and play?  Write about a place a specific place or a series of places (in vignettes)whose environmental health has shaped your personal well-being.

Wilderness Manifesto.  (2000 words min.)

How do you define wilderness? What is your environmental ethic? What do you value about wilderness?  What is your place in it?  What is its purpose for you, your community, and your world?  What does environmental stewardship and leadership look like to you?  You will use primary and secondary research to help you make your arguments.

Polished Drafts (more info here soon)

Wilderness Narrative

Field Note Archive with Analytical Reflection

Wilderness Manifesto

Blogs & Google Map Collaborative Writing

Students will develop a course blog and publish one developed draft and writer’s memo from their nature free writes or writing invitations each week.  Writer’s memos capture a snapshot of the writing process, invite focused and useful reader response, and prompt writers to reflect on the choices they have made and how the serve both purpose and audience.  Writing groups and professors will respond to those drafts in the comments section of the blog and make suggestions for further revision.

Over the course of the semester, students will also add geo-tagged “pins” on a collaborative Google Map Layer to document the places we’ve visited and link their writings/ images/ videos about those places, published on their blogs, to the Google Map Layer.


During the semester, students will code their blogs and daybooks for themes, ideas, and emerging ethics and use those themes to create tags that will organize the blog and transform it into an e-portfolio.  Students will include three polished drafts with revisions, writer’s memos, and peer/instructor feedback in their e-portfolios and reflect on their growth as writers, learners, and their relationship to wilderness to create an e-portfolio introduction.

Wilderness immersion experiences

Students are expected to participate in all wilderness excursions.  These experiences should act as fodder for their writing assignments.  Immersion into both natural setting and writing workshops provides an integrative experiential learning platform and process for students to meditate, reflect, and articulate their relationship with nature.  A survey will be given to students before and after this class in order to determine how their attitudes towards wilderness have changed as a result of experiential learning.  

Assessment Plan for Learning

Students will be assessed according to the following expectations:

1.    be on time and attend all classes, outdoor skills trainings, and both day and overnight wilderness excursions

2.    participate with a positive attitude in all writing and learning exercises and activities both in and out-side of class, including instructor conferences

3.    meet due dates and writing criteria for the formal and informal writing assignments (e.g. daybook prompts, blog posts, writer’s memos, peer reviews, e-portfolio);

4.  engage in ambitious, thoughtful, mature projects and discussion that demonstrate  a complexity of thought and sustain effort and investment on each draft of all assignments;

5.   make substantive revisions when the assignment is to revise—extending or changing the thinking or organization—not just editing or touching up;

6.    copyedit final revisions of major projects until they conform to the conventions of edited, revised English;

7.    give thoughtful peer feedback during class workshops both face-to-face and virtually

9.   participate in the final debate on wilderness issues and attitudes

10.  notify instructors immediately if problems, concerns, or emergencies arise to discuss options

When a student does not meet an expectation, instructors will notify the student via email immediately and schedule a conference to discuss options and opportunities for improving course performance.

New Grading Scale

Letter grade Quality points Assessment Guidelines
A 4.0 Student always meets expectations
A- 3.7 Student almost always meets expectations
B+ 3.3 Student meets expectations a good majority of the time
B 3.0 Student generally meets expectations
B- 2.7 Student meets expectations with some lapses
C+ 2.3 Student meets expectations with more than occasional lapses
C 2.0 Student has significant lapses in meeting expectations
C- 1.7 Student meets expectations about half the time
D+ 1.3 Student meets expectations less than half the time
D 1.0 Student only sometimes meets expectations
D- 0.7 Student rarely meets expectations
F 0 Student almost never meets expectations

Academic Honesty

 In accordance with the ECU’s academic policy, all academic work should be the sole production of the student’s own work, with the exception of the work produced in groups, which then must be the work of only those involved.  Please see Policies and Procedures in the Student Handbook and Academic Standards in the course catalog. Instructors will not tolerate acts of cheating, plagiarism, falsification or attempts to cheat, plagiarize or falsify.  Should any student be caught cheating, that student shall obtain a failing grade for the course and be remanded to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for an Academic Integrity Board hearing. The Student Handbook is online at .

Writing Intensive (WI)

HNRS 2011 is a writing intensive course in the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at East Carolina University. In using WI Model #4, this course contributes to the twelve-hour WI requirement for students at ECU. Additional information is available at the following site:

Humanities Foundations Outcomes

Goal 1. Students will learn the subject matter of at least one discipline in the humanities. 

In this class, students will learn about writing and the production of texts as a way of making knowledge in the sciences while using scholarly reflection in the production of texts to consider the aesthetic, ethical and moral dimensions of interaction in wilderness environments.  Students will work to understand how biologists use written and spoken communications to mediate knowledge in the discipline and develop interdisciplinary connections between the humanities and the sciences.

Goal 2. Students will learn the research methodology applied by disciplines in the humanities.

 Students will learn the principles and concepts required to understand and conduct undergraduate-level research drawing on both primary field research methods that are commonly conducted in the sciences as well as secondary textual research methods common to the humanities.  Students will learn to identify a problem in the ways that authors write about and construct “wilderness” and a “natural-world ethic” as well as how to collect, organize and analyze the information and how to present the results of these activities to audience who can potentially act on those findings.

Goal 3. Students will learn about the discipline’s contribution to general knowledge.

 Students will be prompted to think of writing as a meta-discipline that mediates knowledge in all other academic disciplines as well as in the non-academic world, showing how the production of texts impacts our construction of culture and the ways we view, use and think about our natural environments.


All possible means will be used to provide people with disabilities (as defined by the American Disabilities Association and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act) to enjoy full participation in this course.  Students requesting accommodations based on a covered disability must go to Disability Support Services, located in Slay 138, to verify the disability before any accommodations can occur. The telephone number is 252-737-1016. If you feel that you are in need of special considerations due to a documented disability, please notify me as soon as possible to provide adequate and reasonable time to make required adjustments.


Attendance at all lecture, training and outdoor events is mandatory.   Most of the experiences in this class cannot be replicated in a one-on-one setting as meetings are structured to be dynamic, engaged learning experiences.  Students should consult with instructors as soon as an absence is either anticipated.  Students must provide appropriate documentation for an emergency absence and discuss any missed work.  Except in the case of university-excused absences, it is our decision whether to excuse an absence or to allow for any additional time to make up work or assignments.

Weather update

In the event of a weather or other emergency, information about the status of classes at ECU is available the ECU emergency information hotline (252-328-0062) and on the ECU emergency alert website (

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