Literature & the Environment- course overview

Course Information- Literature and the Environment


Justin's monster catch

“Obligations have no meaning without conscience, and the problem we face is the extension of the social conscience from people to land.”- Aldo Leopold

Because Buncombe County contains an abundance of natural resources and park land, it is an ideal area to examine the manner in which people interact with nature and the written expression of their experiences with the natural world.  The goals of this course are to lead students to an increased appreciation for the outdoors, to foster awareness of environmental concerns (local, natural, and global), and to develop an understanding of the connection between nature and literature.  Class activities will include the analysis and creation of environmental literature focusing primarily on:

·         nature as a source of literary inspiration

·         definitions and forms of nature writing

·         the evolution of the concept of wilderness

·         natural resource management 

To enhance class reading and writing assignments, we will engage in a number of supplemental experiential activities including field trips, guest speakers, and a class service project.

Required Materials- In addition to bringing writing instruments, paper, and required reading material to class, students will need a notebook for class notes, passage responses, spot observations, and handouts.  Also, appropriate clothing and footwear are recommended for days when the lesson involves an outdoor activity.

Course Web Site- Due to the woefully limited web design skills of the instructor, the website for the course has yet to reach completion.  When my ability begins to match my aspirations, I hope to post a schedule of assignments, pictures of class activities, and links to sites related to course topics.  Once complete, the L & E site will be added to my current class site. Please notify me of your suggestions and comments, and I will alert you when the site approaches working order.  



6 Week Grading Policy-  Student grades for each of the 6 week marking periods will be calculated according to the following percentages:

Ø       6 week test- 25%

Ø       projects (including formal writing assignments)- 25%

Ø       informal writing (including journal entries & passage responses)- 20%

Ø       quizzes, classwork, & homework- 20%

Ø       participation 10%

Ø       extra credit (up to 5 points awarded for outdoor excursions, related reading conducted outside of class, etc.)


Semester Grade- Each six-week grade counts as ¼ of a student’s semester average.  The final exam given at the end of the semester makes up the final quarter.  This course is not tested by the state, so students may qualify for exam exemption based on absences and academic performance.  The following chart outlines TC Roberson’s requirements for exemption.

Final Grade

Total Absences


no more than 2


no more than 1




Grading Scale- The scale used in this class will be the same one used by the entire school. 

                        (E up to 70, D 70-76, C 77-84, B 85-92, A 93-100)

A check system will be used in grading some assignments, however, and the corresponding numerical values are listed below.










Absences and Late Work- Students who are out of class for any reason are responsible for contacting the instructor to assure all assignments are made up.  Due dates for major assignments will not be pushed back due to absences except in special circumstances approved by the instructor, and penalties will apply to all late work.  In addition, students accumulating more than five absences must fulfill attendance makeup requirements in order to secure course credit.

Instructor Contact Information- If you have questions about coursework (especially if you are absent), you are encouraged to e-mail me ( or call during fourth period (654-1765).  I have practice in the afternoons during most of the year, but I am generally available before school and during lunch.  Do not hesitate to set up an appointment.   

Expectations- Students are expected to adhere to the school-wide honor code and set of rules outlined in the TC Roberson handbook (of special note is the new school policy mandating a maximum of four passes out of class per semester).  In addition, the following guidelines for student behavior will apply to the class:

Ø       Students will act in a manner respectful of instructors, classmates, and themselves (and, naturally, the environment)

Ø       Behavior or materials (including electronic devices of any sort) that interrupt instruction or other classroom activities will not be tolerated.

Work representative of a student’s best effort is expected for every assignment.  If you practice awareness during your outdoor experiences and take pride in your growth as a reader and writer, your success is assured.