Nature’s Tongue: A Yellowstone Writing Workshop

Nature’s Tongue: A Yellowstone Writing Workshop

$997.50
Dates:
November 29 - December 3
Location:
Lamar Buffalo Ranch
Meals Included?:
No
Instructors:
Illona Popper, M.A.
Audience Type:
Adult
Program Type:
Field Seminars
Program Subject:
Art, Cultural History, Natural History

Writers have been captured by Yellowstone’s beauty and mystery even before the park was founded. Yet, this place is also a wild laboratory. Discover the ways your own personal field observations and the latest in Yellowstone science may inspire your writing or poetry.

Spend mornings in the field watching wildlife or taking hikes to beautiful places.
Afternoons adjourn to the studio to explore an organic way of writing, which draws on your unconscious, creative mind. Listen to each other’s drafts and work with techniques and readings. You’ll leave this workshop with lots of new drafts and sensory memories from the wild.

Program Itinerary

The itinerary is designed to take advantage of the best opportunities in the park, but may be adjusted to adapt to weather conditions, wildlife activity, holidays, and road construction. The details and timing of the agenda are subject to change. View the Course Letter below for more information.

  • Day 1
    Participants are welcome to check into the Lamar Buffalo Ranch starting at 4:00 p.m.
    7:00 p.m. Meet & Greet and Studio Session

    • Introduction to the three phases of writing.
    • In-session writing.
    • Discussion of participants’ writings: identifying the core of a writing.
    • Introduction to readings.
  • Days 2-4
    Morning FIELD SESSIONS will include some or all of the following:

    • Early morning wildlife observation. (At least one day will focus on wolves.)
    • Note taking or writing in the field.
    • Hiking and/or stationary observations in the field.
  • Afternoon STUDIO SESSIONS will include some or all of the following:
    • Writing in-session.
    • Visiting lecturer and/or readings of nature and other writers. (Visiting speakers will attend for about an hour, only if this meets covid restrictions.)
    • Discussion of participants writings to identify the core ideas.
    • Demonstration: the process from drafts and notes to a finished piece.
    • Last day: Mini reading of Participants Expressive Stage writings.
  • Day 5 Check out by 9:00 a.m

About the instructor

Ilona Popper, M.A., naturalist, poet, and freelance writer, has coached writers, edited their works, and taught writing for forty-four years. She is the author of the poetry book, Break, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Ilona publishes articles about wildlife and has written scripts for Landis Wildlife documentaries. She has worked as a biotech for private wolf research; as a wildlife guide; and as a naturalist in Yellowstone.

Download Program Information:

Course Letter

More Information:

We are continually updating and refining our COVID-19 mitigation measures to ensure the health and safety our guests, staff and volunteers. Read our COVID-19 guidelines for program participants.

SUMMER ACTIVITY LEVEL SCALE

  • Be prepared to hike up to 1 mile per day, comfortably, through relatively flat terrain on maintained trails.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 3 miles per day, comfortably, with elevation gains up to 600 feet. Some off-trail hiking possible.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 5 miles per day, comfortably, with occasional elevation gains up to 1000 feet in undulating terrain.
  • Be prepared to hike up to 8 miles per day, at a brisk pace, comfortably, with climbs up to 1500 feet on dirt trails. Loose rocks, uneven footing, and off-trail hiking are possible. Good coordination is recommended.
  • Be prepared for brisk aerobic, destination-oriented hiking up to 12 miles a day. You should be physically conditioned to do these hikes comfortably. Elevation changes up to 2000 feet on dirt trails or off-trail. Loose rock, uneven footing, steep hillside traverses, and stream crossings are possible. Good coordination is required.

WINTER ACTIVITY LEVEL SCALE

  • Leisurely hikes up to 1 mile per day through relatively flat terrain on maintained or snow-packed trails.
  • Hikes on snow-packed trails, or snowshoe or ski trips, up to 3 miles per day with climbs up to 250 feet.
  • Brisk hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing up to 5 miles per day with climbs up to 500 feet, including some trail-breaking in snow.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 8 miles per day with climbs up to 1000 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.
  • Brisk aerobic snowshoeing or skiing up to 12 miles per day with climbs up to 1500 feet; or steep, rugged, off-trail skiing or snowshoeing—including breaking trail in variable snow conditions.