Nature Memoir

Nature Memoir (120 points)

Students will compose a memoir that explores an event or experience that is connected to nature from your past. Choose a topic that is both engaging, and one that can be scrutinized for broader implications and meanings, as seen in the course readings. To do so, go beyond describing events; make sense of them for readers and/or connect them to broader ideas or themes. The course readings offer many examples of the nature memoir, which as we’ll see, is rather broad as a genre.

  • Genre: Memoir
  • Length: 1200+ words
  • Timeline: see Schedule

Scoring Guide: Nature Memoir (120 points)

(10%) Writing Process

  • Meets draft and revision deadlines, participates in peer review, completes self-evaluation.

(50%) Content of Nature Memoir

  • Contains first person narrative of author in nature – in some capacity.
  • Provides a detailed, if not exhaustive, nature component – with some specifics of location and identification of flora and fauna (i.e. not just a tree, but a willow).
  • Develops a new understanding or broader significance of the experience (i.e. not a journal entry).
  • May include photos, drawings, and other visuals.

(30%) Genre and Audience Awareness

  • Develops a strong, engaging voice (e.g. humorous, urgent, sensual), mixing self-awareness of narrative with some contemplative distance from the experience.
  • Demonstrates audience awareness: doesn’t read like an engineering report or technical field guide – accessibly written with a public audience of readers in mind.
  • May ask something of the reader, perhaps connected to a new appreciation of environment or place, or a sense of advocacy or stewardship for environment.

(10%) Delivery and Structure

  • Employs a meaningful title.
  • Contains a beginning, middle, end – if loosely structured.
  • Edits prose for polish and professionalism.

Self-Evaluation for Nature Memoir

Answer the following questions and then submit your self-evaluation with your nature memoir.

  1. What’s the word count for your memoir?
  2. Why did you choose this nature experience(s) over others? What helped you make your final choice?
  3. What do you want your reader to take away from your memoir? Why?
  4. Of the nature memoirs we read in class, which two or three were most useful for you and why?
  5. What was challenging about writing the memoir? Enjoyable?
  6. Describe the peer feedback you received. What was the most helpful feedback you received, and why?
  7. What did you focus on when you revised?