Online Nature Writing Class


This online nature and adventure writing class provides an extensive introduction to the art and craft of the genre.


Through readings, written assignments and individual critiques, students will gain a practical grasp of dramatic scene, dialogue, character sketches and scene by scene construction in nature writing.

Taught by award-winning nature writer Nick O’Connell, this course will offer an opportunity to learn the secrets of writing nature narratives, including shaping story ideas, keeping a nature journal, structuring stories and essays, and where to send them for publication.

The six assignments include a story idea, a character sketch, a dramatic scene, a 1,500- to 2,500-word story and its revision, and a cover letter.

Instructor: Nick O’Connell

Text: Writing about Nature by John Murray

  • The Complete Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1841)
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1862)
  • O Pioneers by Willa Cather (1913)
  • Essays by John Muir (1915)
  • A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (1949)
  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)
  • Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (1968)
  • A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean (1976)
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard (1978)
  • Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (1981)
  • Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez (1986)
  • The Stars, the Snow, the Fire by John Haines (1989)
  • Practice of the Wild by Gary Snyder (1990)
  • Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams (1994)
  • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997)