Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Student Nature Writing

About a month ago, I did an experiment with my English 101 class at Feather River College.  The schedule doesn't easily permit time for significant excursions onto nature trails in the area, so we did an in-class simulation.  I gathered around 40 photos from my archives, mostly flowers with bugs of various kinds, plus a few reptiles and amphibians.  The 24 students got to shuffle through the photos then pick one to write about.  They were encouraged to imagine they were at the scene seeing these things live.  With the students' permission, I'll be posting many of their responses along with the photos they were responding too.

The honor of starting this off goes to Jacob Tutty*, a new student from Montana.  Very nice work, Jacob. [By the way, the students own the copyright to their writing, so if anyone wants to use their work, permission must be obtained from the writer.]

In response to the above photo, Jacob wrote the following:
                                                      Ascent of a Ladybug
     The sight of a ruby red ladybug climbing up a cluster of plant and flower stems is absolutely inspiring.  Our eyes are drawn to the tiny size of this friendly little bug's legs.  Those small 'ole legs are more than enough to carry the body safely through many obstacles, such as a cluster of skinny plant and flower stems.  In the photo, we clearly see the apt abilities and determination of a lady bug as it hangs onto several dangling stems far off the ground.  Climbing ever higher, the ladybug is motivated and confident, slowly and thoughtfully reaching for its next step.  The lush pink color of a flower, capping the end of the stem cluster the ladybug hangs onto adds a level of natural beauty that perfectly accents that of the ladybug itself.
     Several versions of life's mystic glory are portrayed.  The pink flower, some orange leaves, glowing green and red stems: these are all raw, intrinsic melodies of the wild, wild song that our earth sings.  AS the determined ladybug keeps climbing higher, we feel our consciousness rise.  With calm, pure confidence and acceptance of other organisms, our tiny friend works hard towards its goal - get there.  The mantra of the little red bug is "can."  "I can step here and then there.  I can find some food to eat.  I can get to where I want." 
     A very positive and productive way to get through all of life's unexpected obstacles and challenges.  Polka dots speckle the voyager's ruby red body.  Glorious.  An age-old image of something happy and wholesome.  The little ladybug climbs around.  As we watch, from the perspective of the photo we have captured, we feel our hearts glow with happiness and inspiration.  What a mighty pioneer of the positive idea, "can."  To reach our goals, we must dream, perceive, and pursue with the grace of a ladybug.
I should add that the students did not have time to proofread and edit.  These writings are all first drafts written in around 25 minutes after taking time to go through the photos and choose one.
More student writings to come over the next week or so.  Comments appreciated.

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