Setting enhances the writing course of at Laurier’s Nature Writing Retreat | College students


Wilfrid Laurier College’s Writing Providers, in collaboration with the division of Geography and Environmental Research, provided its first Nature Writing Retreat at Muskoka’s Camp Mini-Yo-We in April. The pilot undertaking attracted eight Geography and Environmental Research graduate college students, all within the means of writing their grasp’s thesis. The group spent three days making progress on writing tasks, but in addition discovered time for canoeing, mountain climbing and exploring.

Every day was structured to permit college students time to work on their writing tasks, but in addition included breaks all through the day and night to benefit from the outside and pure atmosphere.

“This helped the college students be taught to develop efficient writing habits,” says James Southworth, retreat co-organizer and a writing advisor with Writing Providers at Laurier. “Every day, we had numerous 25-minute writing blocks, that are referred to as ‘Pomodoro classes.’ Throughout these devoted writing instances, we inspired college students to place apart any distractions, together with telephones, and focus solely on the writing job at hand.”

The camp included a number of writing places for attendees to select from and it didn’t take lengthy for contributors to search out their excellent spot. Wherever college students have been working, a ringing bell would echo by the camp to sign breakfast, lunch and dinner.

students at nature writing retreat out for a hike

“The connection between nature and writing was a particularly essential a part of this retreat,” says Tatyana Feiner, who will start her grasp’s diploma research within the fall. “Having the chance to jot down in a pristine, pure atmosphere with minimal distractions allowed me to deal with my assignments and work with ease. If we have been experiencing author’s block of any sort, we have been inspired to clear our thoughts by stepping outdoors or going for a brief stroll to alleviate any stress we could also be experiencing and reset our ideas.”

On their breaks, college students explored close by trails and parks, together with Arrowhead Provincial Park, went canoeing or kayaking, and performed card video games. College students utilized these breaks as rewards for engaging in their writing objectives for the day.  

“Getting outdoors was additional rewarding,” says Jeremy Harbinson, third-year Grasp of Science and Geography scholar.


“I actually discovered that one could be productive with much less time whenever you’re extra centered.”

The Nature Writing Retreat additionally allowed contributors to spend time with different graduate college students, in addition to the possibility to community and construct neighborhood.

“The previous few years have been very tough for graduate college students,” says Affiliate Professor Christopher Lemieux, retreat co-organizer. “There was no scarcity of lockdowns, seclusion, stress and anxiousness. We wished to present college students the chance to work, socialize and regenerate collectively in nature.”

“Since beginning my masters within the COVID-19 pandemic, plenty of the social facet of my graduate expertise was lacking,” mentioned Mhairi Chandler, a primary yr Grasp of Environmental Research scholar. “This retreat allowed us to attach with professors on a extra private stage and set up new connections with fellow graduate college students.”

students at nature writing retreat sitting on rock

Feiner mentioned the retreat provided an effective way to loosen up, meet new pals, discover nature and improve writing abilities.

“After two years of minimal interplay with others because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was so good to interact with the Laurier graduate neighborhood,” says Feiner.

Southworth says Writing Providers hopes to supply related writing retreats sooner or later. “The occasion was so successful in serving to graduate college students make progress on their main writing tasks,” he says. “I hope we are able to supply an identical expertise to graduate college students throughout departments and schools at Laurier.”

Lemieux provided due to Laurier Dean of Science Anthony J. Clarke, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Research, and the Graduate College students’ Affiliation for supporting the retreat.



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