Tell Your Great Lakes (or Nature) Story!

Time: 30 minutes or more
Materials: paper/pen or pencil or computer

  • Think about your favorite memories or experiences on/by a Great Lake, inland lake, forest – anywhere in nature!
  • Brainstorm these to develop a list of your favorites.
  • Using photos as available, pick an experience and start writing brief details: when, where, with whom, what you were wearing, what happened, timing, and any other details that seem important to that memory or experience.
  • Expand the details into a fuller explanation, like you might write in a diary or as an essay. Add in your conversations and feelings/emotions, and those of others, as you relive your experience through your writing.
  • Once you feel you’ve written fully about the experience, including its value or meaning (why you chose to write about it), take a break for at least a day. When you return to your writing, edit as you feel necessary for brevity, clarity, and style.
  • Do you want to share with others? Perhaps fictionalize the experience? Change the names, places, personalities and play with the details while keeping the plot and meaning of the writing intact.
  • Pick another memory and repeat the steps. Over time, the role nature and the lakes have in your life will become clear.

Have fun and enjoy the experience!

Learn more 

If you’d like to learn more, read this article for an introduction to nature writing, which includes three recent examples of excellent books – including Braiding for Sweetgrass by Great Lakes resident Robin Wall Kimmerer, an Indigenous scientist.

This article from Personal Rewilding has a list of 10 great nature writing examples.

This blog post article contains a detailed to-do list for nature writing.

download this activity (word)

About the Great Lakes