Personal Experience with Nature Essay
Throughout this course, we have been exploring environmental issues and challenges, such as fresh drinking water scarcity and biodiversity loss. But what would our own lives be like without nature? How might nature experiences benefit us? In this activity, you are asked to spend time in nature, record your experiences, and then share your reflections with the class.
Go Outdoors: Find a place outside where you can be in nature for at least one hour. This could be a national, state, or local park, a city square with trees and gardens, an old cemetery, or even your own backyard. Be creative. For those of you who may think there is no nature whatsoever around you or you will not have the opportunity to get out into nature, the podcast ‘The Sound of a Snail’: A Patient’s Greatest Comfort will give you get a sense of creative ways to complete this assignment, particularly if you are living in a highly urbanized setting.
Observe: Once you are outdoors, choose a comfortable spot where you can stand or sit quietly for at least 1 hour of uninterrupted solitude. Turn off all electronic devices. Quietly take in your surroundings. What do you notice? Use your senses of sight, hearing, smell, and feeling to take the world in. Be as still and quiet as you can.
Write: Either while you are outdoors or as soon after your return as you can, set aside at least a half an hour of uninterrupted time to write about your nature experience. It should include both what you directly experienced during your time outdoors and your feelings and reflections on the experience itself. In your writing, consider this question: Are human beings a part of nature, or apart from it?
Create: Choose a creative means of sharing your nature experience, and what you learned from it, with the class. This could take the form of a series of photographs with captions, a poem, a song, a brief personal essay, a work of art, the design for a board game, a video of some kind, or any other creative avenue you can think of. The work should be entirely your own product.