Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The next PVNWG Reader's Club meeting is set for this coming Sunday, January 3, 2010 at 3:00 PM. We again will be meeting at a member's private home by her gracious invitation. If you have not yet attended a meeting, but would like to join us, you may attend as a current member's guest. Email pvnaturewriters@gmail.com to express your interest and we will make the necessary arrangements. Previous attendees should have received directions by email. With our January meeting we celebrate our first year of monthly meetings and look forward to reading more wonderful authors in 2010!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


For December our primary reading selection is Diane Ackerman's The Moon By Whale Light, a collection of essays on her encounters with rare and endangered species, as she accompanied researchers seeking to understand and protect them. Members may read any of her works but note that some of her works are more focused on natural history than others.

From her website:
Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly acclaimed works of nonfiction and poetry, including A Natural History of the Senses -- a book beloved by millions of readers all over the world. Humans might luxuriate in the idea of being “in” nature, but Ms. Ackerman has taught generations that we are nature—for “no facet of nature is as unlikely as we, the tiny bipeds with the giant dreams.” In prose so rich and evocative that one can feel the earth turning beneath one’s feet as one reads, Ackerman’s thrilling observations—of things ranging from the cloud glories to the human brain to endangered whooping cranes—urge us to live in the moment, to wake up to nature’s everyday miracles.

Ms. Ackerman has received a D. Lit. from Kenyon College, Guggenheim Fellowship, Orion Book Award, John Burroughs Nature Award, and the Lavan Poetry Prize, as well as being honored as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. She also has the rare distinction of having a molecule named after her --dianeackerone. She has taught at a number of universities, including Columbia and Cornell. Her essays about nature and human nature have been appearing for decades in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Parade, The New Yorker, National Geographic and many other journals, where they have been the subject of much praise.

To learn more, click on Ms. Ackerman's photo above to visit her webpage.


A chilly December afternoon. Bright remnants of yesterday's snowfall. Water glinting through bare trees. Five nature lovers convene to talk about Wendell Berry's The Long Legged House and the ideas therein. And eat cookies and drink wassail.

Berry's writing is deep and wide like the Kentucky river where he has made his home. Diverse topics and personal stories flow like ripples and currents joining together in one major theme: our relationship with nature, what it has become, but also what it can be, once was, could be again. Published in 1965, the book is a collection of Berry's earliest essays and is jampacked with insights and ideas ---ideas that are more timely and urgent than ever. All the more shocking that none of us seemed able to find the book in our local libraries! So with purchased copies in hand, we shared passages that we found exceptional such as:

The great increase of our powers is itself maybe the most immediate cause of our
loss of vision. It must be a sort of natural law that any increase in man's
strength must involve a lengthening of his shadow; as we grow in power, we are
pursued by an ever growing darkness.

Berry describes our collective errors with an eloquent, slap-in-the-face accuracy. But he balances that bitter medicine with a balm to the spirit, a prescription for salvation for himself and for us:

And so, difficult and troubling as the times are, I must not neglect to say
that even now I experience hours when I am deeply happy and content, and
hours where I feel the possibility of greater happiness and contentment than
I have yet known. These times come to me when I am in the woods, or at work
on my little farm. They come bearing the knowledge that the events of man
are not the great events; that the rising of the sun and the falling of the
rain are more stupendous than all the works of the scientists and the
prophets; that man is more blessed and graced by his days than he can ever
hope to know; that the wildflowers silently bloom in the woods, exquisitely
shaped and scented and colored, whether any man sees and praises them or
not. A music attends the things of the earth. To sense that music is to be
near the possibility of health and joy.

Not to be outdone by Berry, we all agreed on the importance of balancing literary "calls" to responsiblity and stewardship with a straightforward celebration of the endless beauty and fascination of nature. Our line up of primary reading selections for the early months of 2010 are as follows:

January 2010 Bernd Heinrich: Winter World
February 2010 Mary Oliver: Owls and Other Fantasies
March 2010 E.O. Wilson: Naturalist (his autobiography)
April 2010 Barbara Kingsolver: Small Wonders

(NOTE: Each month's book will be discussed at the meeting held on the FIRST SUNDAY of the following month. Example, January's book selection Winter World will be the topic of discussion at the February meeting.)

Cheers to the Readers' Club members and all the great authors we have enjoyed in 2009. Our January 2010 meeting will cap off our first year of monthly get togethers!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The PVNWG Reader's Club is set to meet on Sunday, December 6 at 3:00 PM. We will discuss our thoughts about Wendell Berry's The Long Legged House.

New members always welcome! Since our meeting is at a private home, new members can attend as a guest of a current members. If you are a person interested in joining us, please email pvnaturewriters@gmail.com to make arrangements.

If you have previously attended a meeting, email a query for directions to the location.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


The PVNWG Readers' Club has selected Wendell Berry as the author and The Long-Legged House as our read for the month of November 2009. The book will be the focus of the Readers' Club meeting on December 6.
Wendell Berry farmed a homestead in Northern Kentucky from the early 1960s, and is one of the most revered environmental writers, winning numerous awards. His body of work includes novels, short stories, essays, fiction and poetry. The Long-Legged House, published in 1969, was his first collection of essays and set forth his dominant themes: sustainable agriculture, connection to place, the pleasures of good food, good work, healthy communities, fidelity, reverence, and the interconnectedness of all life.

All About the Author


An Interview with Wendell Berry

"The Requirement" by Wendell Berry (Harper's Magazine)

Monday, November 2, 2009


Our meeting to discuss Marie Winn's Red-tails in Love was very enjoyable. The meeting mirrored some of themes of the book itself. One member graciously hosted the meeting from her home in the treetops. The setting was a worthy site for a hawk's nest. Our group meets regularly to share our admiration for nature writers as did the New York birders. As a group they tracked the progress of a pair of hawks who nested high on a tony apartment building overlooking Central Park, culminating in a party with champagne when the fledglings soared from the nest. The enthusiasm of our group for the author's work mirrored Winn's praises of the natural wonders of the Park and her fond observations about the quirks and talents of her fellow birders. The vote of the 4 "regulars" present (4 regulars and 1 guest-welcome!) was that Winn's writing is the most accessible and entertaining of any of the authors we have read so far. We especially remarked on the effortless way she weaves natural history information into the story--which reads like a mystery. If you want to know more, you will have to read the book!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Sunday, 3:00 PM, November 1, 2009 we meet to discuss Red-tails in Love, by Marie Winn.
This meeting is at a current member's private home by invitation only, so directions will not be posted on the blog. Any persons who are interested in joining the group may attend this meeting as a guest of a current member. If you wish to attend as a guest, please email pvnaturewriters@gmail.com for further information.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


For October we are reading Red Tails in Love: A True Wildlife Drama in Central Park by Marie Winn. (Click on her name to go to her home page.) This is the story of Pale Male, as the hawk hero was known by his fans, and about whom a NOVA episode was filmed. You may have seen the enchanting documentary on PBS, but the book provides many more details to savor and enjoy, not the least of which is Winn's whimsical and entertaining writing style.

Winn is a nature columnist for the Wall Street Journal. She has written a nature blog on happenings in Central Park for years now: check it out here. She also has a newer nature book out entitled Central Park in the Dark. There is a link to her bio on her website (see above). For reviews of the book click on her photo at right.

The key action in Red Tails in Love takes place in the spring. However, October is a great time in our area to watch out for migrating hawks. We won't be able to organize an official PVNWG outing this month as we did for mosses in September but members are encouraged to get out there and look for hawks!

Washington's Monument near Boonsboro, MD is a favored spot to see hawks, as well as other birds of prey as they ride the thermals southward along the ridgetops. Waggoner's Gap and Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania are enticing as well for those of us with the time, energy and gas money to make the trek. I can vouch for all three of these sites as exciting places to visit. Hawk Mountain has a beautiful nature center with naturalist talks using live rehabilitated birds.

For all you ever wanted to know about hawks check out Blakeman on Hawks. Also see Hawk Watch Association. Here is the site they list for West Virginia in Monroe County: Hanging Tower. If anyone has a tip for a good nearby site, please email pvnaturewriters@gmail.com and I will post it.

Enjoy the book and please note that our next meeting is on NOVEMBER 1, site to be announced.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The meeting on September 27 had six attendees, five "old" members and one new. Our discussion about Robin Wall Kimmerer's Gathering Moss focused on our personal experiences of using the four ways of knowing-mind, body, emotions, and spirit-in learning about nature.

We also extended our selection of authors through January 2010. We decided to alternate 'vintage' nature writers with more contemporary ones, and also alternate male and female authors.

Upcoming for October is the already selected Marie Winn and her book Redtails in Love.
The remaining months each have a main book selection but any writing by the selected author will serve as well.

November- Wendell Berry (The Long-Legged House)

December-Diane Ackerman (The Moon By Whale Light)

January- Bernd Heinrich (Winter World).

A major change is a shift of the meetings to the FIRST SUNDAY of the month. This change will better accomodate the upcoming November and December holidays. We will not meet in October. The next meeting will be Sunday, November 1, when we will discuss Marie Winn's book. Site to be announced on the website.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Site for September Meeting, September 27, 3:00 PM

Site for September Meeting, Sunday, September 27, 3:00 PM: Shaharazade's Tea Room in Shepherdstown. They are open through the late afternoon, unlike some of the other places in Shepherdstown. The website makes it look wild but everytime I've been there its been peaceful and quiet. See map:http://www.shaharazades.com/directions.htm

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Yankauer Nature Preserve is holding another event in the pavilion on Sunday, September 27, so our scheduled 3:00 PM meeting will need to find another location. Watch this site for an update on the new location. Members will receive an email directing them to the new site, as well.

Monday, August 31, 2009


For September we are reading Robin Wall Kimmerer's Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. Published in 2003, the book was the winner of the 2005 John Burroughs Medal Award for Natural History Writing. Robin Wall Kimmerer is an Associate Professor on the faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Here is what the Oregon State University Press has to say:

In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on whatthese fascinating organisms have to teach us.Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.

At our next meeting on September 27, we will discuss this book. Members will bring writing of their own they wish to share, especially any inspired by the month's reading selection.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Heads up, summer is almost over and fall awaits! The Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group meets this Sunday, August 30, 3:00 PM at Yankauer Nature Preserve (directions in sidebar at left).We do not have a designated group read to discuss, but at last meeting challenged ourselves to make a daily entry in our journals for the entire month of August.

Please bring your journals and any other nature writing you may have done in August. Read over your work and ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the themes that seem to reoccur?

  • What types of things do I notice and write about? People, place, weather, bugs, plants, colors, smells, emotions, facts, etc.

  • What did I learn about nature?

  • About journaling?

  • About writing and my own writing process? About myself?
Did you add anything else to your journal like pressed flowers,sketches, clippings, or photos?

If someone else was reading your journal, what conclusions might they draw about your relationship with nature?

We will share our answers at the meeting. Each member also was asked to bring a short excerpt from any author's work that provides inspiration for her/himself to write about nature. Bring any nature or writing/journaling related books or articles for "show and tell," to loan or pass on. Don't forget water and a camp chair. Lastly, bring a friend! New members always welcome!

Look forward to seeing you! Sandy aka Trillium http://trilliumtravels.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Four members were present at our July meeting. We enjoyed a sudden thunderstorm, which soon was replaced by fluffy clouds and a pleasant breeze. Joe Pye Weed and Purple Coneflowers grew tall beside the pavilion.
While we all had praise for Hollows, Peepers and Highlanders, -(the chapter on cannibalistic fireflies made a special impression)- we noted a trend of monotony in the style and content of the list of books we have been reading.
Therefore, as a group we will not be reading Scratching the Woodchuck for August. To become more in line with the "nature writing" part of our group's name, our challenge for the coming month is for each of us to make one entry in our nature journals each day! The entry can be very short, even a phrase, but should relate somehow to our personal relationship with nature--thoughts, feelings, sensory experiences, facts learned. Nature as broadly defined. Journal entries will be shared at the next meeting on August 30, 3PM at Yankauer. It will be fun to see the themes that run through each member's entries.
Each member is asked to bring a short excerpt from any author's work that provides inspiration for her/himself to write about nature.
Plans are in the works for a possible nature writing/journaling "retreat" for autumn. Stay tuned.
Please email Sandy at pvnaturewriters@gmail.com with any comments or suggestions.

Monday, June 29, 2009


July's reading selection takes us home with Hollows, Peepers, and Highlanders: An Appalachian Mountain Ecology by George Constantz. (PVNWG recommends the revised and expanded edition published by West Virginia University Press in 2004.) The book first paints a broad picture to give the reader an understanding of the geologic origins of the region. Combining scientific insights with first hand experiences, Constantz entertainingly describes the adaptations of the species that live there. He puts it all together in a final section on climate and changes through the seasons.
Naturalist George Constantz was born in Washington, DC but spent part of his childhood in Mexico and Colombia. With degrees in biology and zoology, he has worked as a teacher, ecologist, researcher and writer. Active in efforts to conserve water quality in West Virginia, he founded the nonprofit Cacapon Institute and manages the Education program at Canaan Valley Institute. He and his wife, Nancy Ailes, live in the Cacapon River watershed. See author and book related links at left. (Photo Credit: Ken Thomas, Wikimedia Commons)

Report on June 2009 Meeting

It was a cool, overcast Sunday, June 28 at Yankauer Nature Preserve. Drops of rain echoed on the metal roof of the pavilion as we watched and listened to birds in the surrounding trees and undergrowth. Along the path, Scarlet Bee Balm was in full bloom. In this pleasant setting, four of us kicked off summer with a discussion inspired by Beyond Your Doorstep by Hal Borland. We reviewed author candidates for future months, including some poets! Having read several works from decades ago, we decided to move toward more contemporary writers and include works by or about inspiring environmentalists. Check the reading list for updates!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Backup Site for PVNWG Meeting

We should be fine today at the Yankauer Pavilion even if it rains. But in case of winds or bad storm we can adjourn to Shaharazade's Tea Room in Shepherdstown. They are open through the late afternoon, unlike some of the other places in Shetown. The website makes it look wild but everytime I've been there its been peaceful and quiet. See map:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reminder June PVNWG Meeting

This month's meeting is rapidly approaching! Join us at Yankauer Nature Preserve at 3:00 PM, Sunday June 28. Bring water and a camp or lawn chair. We'll be discussing Hal Borland's Beyond Your Doorstep. But topics take off from there, so don't stay away if you haven't read the book. Directions to the preserve: http://www.potomacaudubon.org/yankauer.html#dir
New members are welcome! Bring any books you would like to suggest for our reading list.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good benefits

"Thanks to PVNWG I am getting exposed to so many good writers and it is broadening my view of nature from field guides to personal guides, from listing to listening, from recording to observing. This is fun!"

Monday, June 1, 2009


June's book selection is Beyond Your Doorstep: A Handbook to the Country by Hal Borland. Borland is well known as the contributor of 1, 750 nature essays that appeared in the Sunday edition of the New York Times between 1942 and 1978. He was also the author of many other nonfiction and fiction works, including the memoir The Dog Who Came to Stay, and the novel When Legends Die, which was adapted into a film in the early 70s.
He and his wife, Barbara Dodge Borland, who was also a writer, lived on a 100 year old farm in the far northwest corner of Connecticut, at the edge of the Berkshires. He and Barbara moved to the farm after he had a life-changing encounter with a serious illness. Their land included one side of a mountain and fronted the Housatonic River. Borland cherished his farm as a "home at the end of nowhere," with an unmarked mailbox. There is a room devoted to Borland at the Audubon Center in Sharon, CT. There visitors can view mementos and objects from his small second floor study, including his manual typewriter. (See author links at left for photos.)
Borland writes in an easy, accessible style. Reading his work you often feel as if you have received an intimate letter from a close friend. Beyond Your Doorstep is considered a classic of nature writing. The book's backcover describes it -- "A stylishly well written guide to, and meditation on, the flora and fauna of the countryside, Beyond Your Doorstep is now more timely than ever as a source of inspiration for anyone with a desire to know more about the living things we so often look at but never actually see or understand. "
Borland tells us his book is, "primarily about the countryside, not the wilderness; countrysides are common and within reach of almost everyone."

First Chapter: The Country House. "The newcomer to the country will find the first signs of "wild life" in his own house. Even before he explores the dooryard he can sharpen his eyes indoors. He may be surprised at the outsiders who want to share that house with him."


Our meeting on May 31 was held at the outdoor pavilion at Yankauer Nature Preserve. Six members were present. The beautiful weather and natural surroundings must have spurred our creativity. Inspired by our May book selection, we had one our most thought-provoking dicussions yet. I just filled almost eight pages in my journal trying to capture the many ideas and questions that members tossed around like hot potatoes.
A sampling: Do animals have emotions? What about insects? Are humans part of nature? If we are different from the rest of nature, how? Why is writing and reading about nature important? Can new technology help us reverse damage to the ecosystem? What else needs to happen? Are animals much smarter than we know? The ethics of cowbirds. Tool kit making chimps. Do animals watch people like we watch animals?
We missed those of you who couldn't make it!
Watch the blogspot for info about June's book selection, Hal Borland's Beyond My Doorstep. The next meeting is scheduled for 3:00 PM, Sunday, June 28, again at Yankauer. But check the blogspot closer to the date for any changes. We will be arranging a back up location in the event of rain. New members always welcome.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Four Dimensions

I've been noticing how multidimensional Wallace's work in Idle Weeds is. Check out the description of the nature writing class that he teaches:
The Four Dimensions of Nature Writing: Fall 2008
This course will explore our nature writing tradition with readings, field trips, and writing exercises. We will approach the tradition through four dimensions wherein we perceive nature: the self, the "other," space, and time. We will read representative excerpts from founding figures: Gilbert White -- nature as the self; William Bartram -- nature as the "other"; Henry Thoreau -- nature as space; Charles Darwin -- nature as time. This course will explore attempts to coordinate the dimensions with things like Bigfoot legends in The Klamath Knot: Explorations in Myth and Evolution. Field trips and writing exercises will focus on interpreting local landscapes in terms of the four dimensions.

Some Talent!

I'm found this month's book a little slow going at first, but the more I read, the more admiring I've become of the author's talent with extendedmetaphors--like comparing the ridge's canopy seen from above to the ocean, with birds and insects leaping up like porpoises-- and suggesting that the insects thriving together on milkweed plants are like a Borgia court thriving on poison!
The way he uses all his senses is staggering, incredible powers of observation. He is especially skillful with sound and color. He makes all kinds of allusions to art and history. He writes about his experiences of time morphing and feeling the presence of ghosts of past human inhabitants. I'm writing down so many snippets of his writing in my journal. The book has so many levels I am in awe of his accomplishment. I try to imagine how he wrote the book, how many hours did he spend sitting alone on the ridge, staying present with what was occurring around and within him? Looking forward to our discussion! Sandy

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Idle Weeds Starring Short Tailed Shrew

Click photo for more info and images. Photo by Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Creative Commons License

May Meeting at Yankauer Preserve!

This month's Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group meeting will take place Sunday, May 31, 3:00 PM in the pavilion at Yankauer Nature Preserve. Please bring a lawn chair and water. During the summer months we will plan to meet at different locations outdoors, and return to our Shepherd University classroom in the fall.
The book for May is Idle Weeds: Life of a Sandstone Ridge by David Rains Wallace. Members are encouraged to share one or two passages in the book they found especially notable and why. We also like to hear readings of members' own writings, especially when inspired by the current book of the month.
After our discussion, those who wish can explore the trails and possibly do some nature journaling. New members are welcome! Don't worry if you haven't read the book. For directions to the Yankauer Preserve, go to http://www.potomacaudubon.org/yankauer.html
Hope to see you!

Monday, April 27, 2009


David Rains Wallace needs a publicist! He has written many natural history books and is highly regarded as a naturalist and author, but finding information about him on the web is very difficult. See the few links at left I was able to locate. Please post if you have information to share. We are reading Idle Weeds: The Life of an Ohio Sandstone Ridge for May.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


This afternoon we had a scintillating discussion of Terry Tempest Williams' REFUGE. The book generated ideas and questions on a wide range of topics. The book received mixed reviews but all agreed it was a worthwhile read. We had two new members attending, welcome!

Next meeting was set for May 31 at 3:00 PM with a possible change of location. Confirmation on location to come. In general, we will be scheduling meetings for the last Sunday of the month.

We were also very productive in that we have set books of the month through October! Participating members each suggested one title then they were drawn in random order.
MAY: Wallace, David Rains: Idle Weeds – The life of an Ohio Sandstone Ridge
JUNE Borland, Hal; Beyond Your Doorstep
JULY Costanz, George: Hollows, Peepers & Highlanders: An Appalachian Mountain Ecology
AUGUST Kline, David: Scratching the Woodcock--Nature on an Amish Farm
SEPTEMBER Kimmerer, Robin Wall: Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, 2003
OCTOBER Winn, Marie: Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park, 1998

Click each title above to be linked to a website with more information!

I'm realizing that while the selection of a specific book is important, it is not as important as the responses we each have as we read, and then the special chemistry that occurs when we all get together and share our insights.

Happy reading (and writing! ;-)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Terry Tempest Williams' REFUGE

In REFUGE: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, Terry Tempest Williams witnesses the diminishment of the migratory bird refuge at Great Salt Lake, walks with a loved one through illness and grief, and explores the meaning of her family history. A dominant theme of the book is accepting loss and embracing change as part of nature.
The author is celebrated for her unique style and ability to evoke a deep emotional response in the reader. In 2006, Ms. Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction. Terry Tempest Williams is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah.

Report on March Meeting

The March 29 meeting had a good turnout of six people with three new members attending. We enjoyed a lively discussion about Rachel Carson as an environmentalist and as an author. Members shared some readings of favorite passages. Members had read from different works, including Always Rachel (a collection of letters to and from Dorothy Freeman), Under the Sea-Wind, The Edge of the Sea, A Sense of Wonder, The Lost Woods (an anthology of Carson writings), and The Sea Around Us. We reviewed an ever-growing list of candidates for future reads, but settled on Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams for April's book. One member is investigating the purchase of a nature writers' anthology to assist us in the book selection process. Many excellent suggestions have been put forth! We are still determining what process to use for selecting books. As the season warms, we hope to schedule some meetings outdoors. The next meeting is set for Sunday April 26, 3:00 PM, Snyder Hall, Shepherd University.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 2009, 7:00 PM at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. Free and open to the public. A SENSE OF WONDER
This film depicts scientist and author Rachel Carson in the last year of her life as she battles cancer and the chemical industry. The film is making a nationwide 100-city tour this month to celebrate National Women’s History Month. Carson’s bestseller Silent Spring, which she started writing in 1958 at the age of 50, was highly influential in the banning of the chemical DDT and the creation of EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the passage of the Clean Water Act.
Written by and starring film and television actress Kaiulani Lee, A Sense of Wonder offers a historically accurate and powerfully moving portrayal of this amazing woman. (http://www.ecosalon.com/)
For more information about the film and a sneak preview: http://www.asenseofwonderfilm.com/

Saturday, March 7, 2009



The Potomac Valley Audubon Society is asking local poets to submit poems that will be displayed as part of its annual Wildflower Festival, which will be held this year on Saturday, April 18
The festival will be held at the Society's Yankauer Nature Preserve north of Shepherdstown.
Its events will include a Poetry Walk, which will feature poems that focus on spring themes posted all along the preserve's Kingfisher trail.
Those who wish to submit poems are encouraged to do so by email by sending them to pvnaturewriters@gmail.com. Poems may also be dropped off at the Four Seasons Bookstore in Shepherdstown or submitted by regular mail to Poetry Walk, c/o PVAS, PO Box 578, Shepherdstown, WV 25443.
The deadline for submissions is April 10.
For more information contact PVAS at 304-676-3397 or pvasmail@aol.com.
PVAS is a member of the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle and the Combined Federal Campaign

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009


If you are reading any of Rachel Carson's books, comment here. Note which of her works you are commenting on.


If you are reading Always, Rachel, add your comments here.

Film on Carson in the works to show at NCTC!

I have been speaking with PVAS and NCTC about scheduling a free showing of the film. More info coming soon. Trillium

New feature: Member Links

Scroll down to check out links to member blogs and other sites showing members' writing and research. We now have four member links and looking forward to more!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Impressions

If Thoreau is the "father" of nature writing, then Rachel Carson is apparently his female counterpart. I hadn't realized how influential she was and how much courage it must have taken to publish Silent Spring. I'm glad we chose her as our first author to read!

Second Hand Bookstore Find!

This evening I found a 1951 hardbound copy of The Sea Around Us! El cheapo. 9th printing but still a good deal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This site will be focused on discussions relating to our group's current readings/author as well as group events, business and so on. The blog mistress will regularly post general entries on topics or questions relating to our current author and members can post comments to add to the discussion. If you want to post your own entry for the group you may email it to pvnaturewriters@gmail.com and the blogmistress will post it for you. Or query for further instructions on how to post entries directly. Only members will be given access to post entries directly.

To share your personal journal entries and other material not relating to our current readings, members can create their own blogs. Email your blog website address to pvnaturewriters@gmail.com and I will add it to a list of links to member blogs. Then to see what members are doing/writing/thinking we just click on the link! For now blog links will be limited to group members. I will also add a link to WVNaturalists yahoo group.

What book(s) are you reading?

Your blogmistress is reading Always, Rachel (skipping around! its a huge volume) and will read Under the Sea-Wind in its entirety. Add your comments below re what you have chosen to read.


Next Meeting: Sunday March 29 at 3:00 PM at the same location. Room 317, Snyder Hall, Shepherd University, corner of High and King Streets, Shepherdstown. Please enter through the front of the building. You may park on the street or in the lot in back of the building.
If you will be a new attendee please rsvp to pvnaturewriters@gmail.com
We had a great turnout for the first meeting of the Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group (PVNWG).

Let me know if you have not received your member list.

Author to Read: The author we will be reading and discussing for next meeting is Rachel Carson. The primary book we will discuss is Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964 - The Story of a Remarkable Friendship. However, feel free to read any of her works instead of or in addition to this. See side bar to the right for helpful links.
Members suggest that we check our local libraries, used book stores, ebay, and used items available on amazon.com, bookfinder.com and other websites as alternatives to buying new.

Discussion Question: The general discussion question we will use for the next meeting is: Pick at least one or two passages (no more than a page or so) that you found exceptional or of special interest/impact. Think about why and how these passages affected you. Consider content, but also style of writing, and what the passages tell you about the author.

Writing: All members are encouraged to keep an ongoing journal of nature observations, thoughts, and any responses to the group selection or other readings. We agreed that each member would write a paragraph of personal response to the selected reading. Bring one copy of your paragraph to the meeting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


This blogspot is the base camp for the Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group. As we go out on our adventures in reading, writing and exploring nature, we can convene here to share what we have discovered (in addition to our meetings!) Please bookmark this site!

Come to the site to quickly check on what is going on with the group. No need to sign in! To post comments on what others have written, you will need to create your own gmail account. It's easily done. If you want to post your own blog entries here (which I hope you do!), contact me for further instructions. We can also post photos, share links to websites, reviews of books and so on!
More later...