SUST 390 Writing Urban Nature (Summer 2017)

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:

Transportation Logistics:

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



  • 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



  • 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


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.