Resources and readings for Writing Urban Nature, a one-week intensive summer class held May 22-26, 2017, at Roosevelt University (Chicago Campus). Listed as SUST 390 / PLS 371. Scroll down for information on each day’s meeting time/place, scheduled activities, and required readings.
Wed 5/10 — Pre-session Meeting
Meet: WB 1215, 4-6pm
- Overview of course format and logistics (Syllabus: Word and pdf)
- Personal introductions
- Lecture/discussion: “Writing Urban Nature — Exploring the Natural & Built Environment in & around Chicago” (Pp slides and pdf)
- Video: SUST 390 Pre-session 10 May 2017 (password: UrbanNature) from Mike Bryson on Vimeo.
Readings to do in advance of 5/22:
- City Creatures: Introductory essay (p. 1); P. Macnamara, “Nature on Pause” (p. 147)
- M. Bryson, “The Character of Urban Nature” (25 May 2011) and “Commonplace Nature, Close at Hand” (City Creatures blog, 19 May 2014)
- Skim these websites/blogs to get an idea of the range of nature writing from various perspectives: Writing Urban Nature, City Creatures, The Nature of Cities, Orion, and Terrain
- Overview of CTA’s services and Buying Fares/Tickets for those who are unfamiliar with public transit
- How to buy and use a Ventra card, which is the best way to ride the CTA; you can plug in your zip code for places to get one near your home. It’s easy!
Mon 5/22 — Lakefront Parklands
Meet: WB Lobby, RU Chicago Campus, 9:30am
- Hike east through Grant Park and north through Millennium Park, in particular the Lurie Garden. Hike through Maggie Daley Park and south along the lakefront trail to the Museum Campus. Explore Northerly Island‘s trails, natural areas, and field house.
- Take CTA 146 bus back to the Loop and RU’s Campus.
- City Creatures: J. Greenberg, “Migration” (p. 179); W. Paulson, “The Song of Northerly Island” (p. 188); J. Ballowe, “A Siege of Herons” (p. 196); C. Meine, “Washed Up on the Shores of Lake Michigan” (p. 244); B. Davis, “The Alewives” (p. 253)
- D. B. Hunt, “Northerly Island Plans Revealed” (SUST at RU blog, 6 Sept 2012)
Tues 5/23 — The Chicago River and South Side Parklands
Meet: WB Lobby, RU Chicago Campus, 9:30am
- Take CTA Orange Line to Ashland Ave stop; walk to Park 571, at confluence of Bubbly Creek and the Chicago River’s South Branch.
- Canoe trip on Bubbly Creek with Friends of the Chicago River (10am-12:30pm).
- Take CTA 9 bus (Ashland) to 43rd St; hike east to Eden Place Nature Center .
- Return to RU via Red Line.
- City Creatures: M. Bryson, “Canoeing through History: Wild Encounters on Bubbly Creek” (p. 264); T. Davis, “The Fish in the Cage” (p. 274); J. Rogner, “Calumet: Requiem or Rebirth?” (p. 278)
- Optional historical essay: C. Zimring and M. Bryson, “Infamous Past, Invisible Present: Searching for Bubbly Creek in the 21st Century” IA — The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 39.1 and 2 (2013): 79-91 (pdf)
Wed 5/24 — North Side Trails & Parklands
Meet: WB Lobby, 9:30am
- Take CTA Blue Line to Damen stop; walk north to the 606 Trail
- Hike and explore the 606 Trail with urban nature writer Gavin Van Horn of the Center for Humans and Nature.
- From western trail head, take CTA 53 bus (Pulaski) north to the North Park Village Nature Center; explore the nature center, trails, and grounds.
- Return to RU via 53 bus (to Irving Park Rd.) and Blue Line.
- City Creatures: J. Brown, “A Tale of Two Squirrels” (p. 82); D. Hernandez, “Pigeons” (p. 91); E. Paschen, “Visitations” (p. 238)
- G. Van Horn, “Orbits and Orientation,” (City Creatures blog, 14 March 2017)
Th 5/25 — Suburban Landscapes
Meet: RU Schaumburg Campus Lobby, 10:00am
- Driving directions to SCH campus: available here on the RU website
- Directions for train commuters from Chicago: Take the Milwaukee District West Metra to Schaumburg (8:30am train from Union Station in Chicago arrives at Schaumburg’s Metra Station at 9:22am). Look for me and Roshan in station’s waiting room.
- Carpool from Oak Park: consult Discussion Board on Bb site for ride-sharing arrangements
- Gather at SCH Campus Lobby by 10:00am.
- Carpool to Busse Forest Nature Preserve in Busse Woods, Ned Brown Forest Preserve in Cook County (additional info from National Park Service): take “sound walk” in Busse Forest.
- Carpool to Spring Valley Conservation Area and Volkening Heritage Farm, Schaumburg IL: guided tour of Farm, 2-3pm; hike trails through Spring Valley’s woodland, wetland, and prairie restoration areas.
- Return to RU for walking tour of RU’s Schaumburg Campus sustainability features and natural areas.
Readings from the RU student blog, Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future:
- City Creatures: S. Gehrt, “Coyotes: The Ghost Dogs of Chicago” (p. 324); B. Cardenas, “Ghost Species” (p. 332)
- M. Bryson, “Exploring Salt Creek and Busse Lake” (15 Sept 2011)
- Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future blog: G. Buckley, “The Past” (May 2011); J. Crow Mermel, “Biodiversity” (May 2011); C. Green, C. Husted, and P. LaHaie, “Parklands” (May 2012)
Fri 5/27 — Post-Industrial Nature: Restoration & Reclamation
Meet: Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Will County IL, 10:30am
- Driving directions to the Midewin Visitors Center: Consult this Google Map which notes the Midewin Visitor’s Center and use it to plan your driving route. I recommend taking Interstate 55 south to River Road east to Route 53 north. The Midewin Visitor’s Center if a short way up on 53, on the right-hand (east) side of the road.
- Directions for train commuters from Chicago: Take the Rock Island Metra to Joliet (8:30am train from LaSalle Street Station in Chicago arrives at Joliet’s Union Station at 9:53am); once you exit the train, walk to the right on the platform and descend the stairs to the street, Eastern Ave.; look for me parked on the street.
- Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington IL (see locator map for Midewin Visitor’s Center): briefly explore and views maps at the Visitor’s Center.
- Carpool to designated trail head for hiking and observation along various trails.