Nature Conversations: A Seasonal Creative Series at Prairiewoods
- 1 - 5 p.m.
- All Ages
Take a journey of inspiration through conversations with nature! Conversation may be our greatest hope both to heal the rifts in human understanding and to reinspire our relationship with the natural world. Conversation—an exchange that creates new understanding, inspiration, care or healing—with our native landscape can nurture a deeper relationship with and sense of stewardship for our natural world. These four workshops (July 10 and Oct. 9, 2020, and Jan. 8 and April 9, 2021) encourage us to embrace our role in “the Great Conversation,” as author Belden Lane would call it, through creative expression (writing, photography, drawing, songwriting—whatever you choose!) amidst the woods and prairies of Prairiewoods. This class at Prairiewoods (120 East Boyson Road in Hiawatha) is facilitated by Thomas Dean, co-author (with Cindy Crosby) of the book Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit (Ice Cube Press, 2019), a collection of short writings and photographs that encourages looking at and listening to the natural world through the heart, mind and spirit as well as eyes, ears and other senses. Through the book, the authors wish to inspire us to enter such conversations of our own to enrich our experience of nature in ways we haven’t before. These sessions seek to bring the “tallgrass conversations” model to others and to our relationships with the natural world in any landscape. At each class, we will explore a dimension of what it means to engage in “natural conversations,” including a discussion of a short reading or two. We will then have time to engage with nature on Prairiewoods’ grounds and generate creative expressions, using the medium (or media) of your choice. Come prepared to write, draw, take photos (cell phones are OK!), create music—whatever muse speaks through you. No special expertise in your chosen expressive form is expected—we are all creators! At the end of our workshop, we will share and discuss one another’s experiences and expressions, which we hope will inspire us to continue our nature conversations after we depart. Thomas Dean is senior presidential writer/editor at the University of Iowa, where he also teaches interdisciplinary courses as well as writing through the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. In addition to Tallgrass Conversations: In Search of the Prairie Spirit, he has published essays in regional and national journals, magazines and books, including his book of personal essays, Under a Midland Sky (Ice Cube Press). This four-part series may be enjoyed as a series or as individual sessions. The cost is $25 per session, and registration and payment are required at least two days in advance. If we are unable to meet in person due to COVID-19, this will be offered via Zoom. For more information or to register, contact Prairiewoods at www.Prairiewoods.org or 319-395-6700.