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