Wilderness Literature


Wilderness Literature Syllabus

Class Description:

Wilderness Literature will be a simultaneous exploration of Literature and nature. Students will draw on their prior interactions with nature, as well as class activities, to experience for themselves the events, feelings, and conditions found in various nature writings. The skills learned in Wilderness Adventures will be expanded and used as a medium for the exploration of nature in literature, as it pertains to the self, community, environment, and myth. Participants in the class will be expected to work cooperatively with other students and participate in the class activities, which will frequently include outdoor activities in the forest behind GMUHS. Classes will often be held outdoors in various weather conditions. Additional activities, such as a backpacking trip will be offered. Be prepared to get dirty, have some fun, and experience literature like you never have before.

NOTE: Successful completion of this class requires that you spend at least one night outdoors to meet the requirements of the Final Project. There will be a trip offered or you can do it on your own. See Final Project handout for more details.

Topics Covered:

We will experience the concept of “wilderness” by examining several different areas. The main units we will cover are:

· Wilderness

· Hero’s Journey

· Storytelling

· Rites of Passage


The structure of this class dictates that we will be doing lots of group activities. Sometimes you will choose your own groups, other times the instructor will do it for you. Work completed in teams will always be graded on an individual basis, so no slacking (even if you have a really smart partner).

Grading Policy:

We will be using a standard point system where your final grade will be determined by dividing your points earned by points possible. Late work will be penalized 10% per day (no credit will be given after 2 weeks). The only exception is for excused absences. You will have 1 week to turn in work due to an excused absence and still receive full credit, after that time it is considered late and will be scored accordingly.

Field grades are an important component of this course. If you miss a field day you will need to make it up in order to receive credit. The field day make up procedure will be to find and read an article related to class content and write a one page response that summarizes the article and your thoughts about it, and/or make up the activity outdoors with documentary evidence and a one page written response.

Required Materials:

A journal (see example in class)

A pencil or pen – must be brought to class every day.

A three-ring binder or folder for handouts.

Access to old clothes – you will get muddy and wet from time to time.

Rules/ Behavior Expectations:

Due to the active nature of this course, it is important that you follow the behavior expectations. There are only 3 simple rules:

  1. Don’t do anything that interferes with the safety or learning of others.
  2. Do what is expected.
  3. Do the best you can.

Use some common sense and you won’t have any problems.