Writing Urban Nature

Hiking through Busse Woods, a National Natural Landmark woodland-wetland mosaic in the NW suburbs of Chicago (photo: M. Bryson, May 2015)

Hiking through Busse Woods, a National Natural Landmark woodland-wetland mosaic in the NW suburbs of Chicago (photo: M. Bryson, May 2015)

In May of 2015, Roosevelt University students in the inaugural section of  SUST 390 Writing Urban Nature, an environmental literature and writing special topics course, explored “nature close at hand” at sites of ecological and cultural significance in the Chicago region. The seminar placed strong emphasis on close observation of place and people; walking and exploring landscapes and neighborhoods; and reflecting on and creating compelling ideas, stories, and images of urban nature, broadly defined. Places we visited ranged from Chicago’s lakefront parklands, industrial areas, waterways, and neighborhoods; to the forest preserves and natural areas in and around Schaumburg in the NW suburbs; to the urban parklands of Joliet and the remarkable Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in SW Will County.

The photos below are linked to student essays written in May 2015 that resulted from our explorations and discussions of urban nature in and around Chicago. Each work of creative non-fiction contains original photographs by the author and, in some cases, other visual sources.

Mucci wun image 1aTiffany Mucci — An Evolving Place of Tallgrass and Open Space
(November 2015)

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Jones WUN cover image 1bKorey Jones — Chicago Wilderness: A Week-Long Excursion
(May 2015)

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Craig WUN cover image 1b.png - CopyKaren Craig — I Know It When I See It
(May 2015)

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Gavrilovic WUN cover image  Ema Gavrilovic — Natural Wonderland of the Suburbs
(May 2015)

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Writing Urban Nature is an ongoing project of the new Roosevelt University Sustainability Lab (established Fall 2015) and co-edited by Tiffany Mucci, senior SUST major and assistant editor of the SUST at RU Blog; and Mike Bryson, professor and director of the SUST Program at Roosevelt University. 

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