ID 300: ETHICS AND ECOLOGY Essay 4: Place Narrative The final assignment of th

Posted: December 9th, 2022

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Essay 4: Place Narrative
The final assignment of the semester is a slightly longer (4-5-page) essay focused on exploring a
place that it important to you. In the spirit of environmental writing, this assignment combines
research with creative writing, just like many of the articles and books that we’ve read this
semester. Try to use vivid imagery and careful description in order to paint a picture of the place.
This is the most creative and free-form assignment of the semester, meaning that there are a
number of different strategies that you could use in the essay. You might, for example, tell
personal stories about your experience with the place, describe the plants and animals that
inhabit the place, and speculate about how environmental changes are likely to alter the place.

Questions to consider:

1. Describe your personal connection to the place. Why is it important to you? Why did you
choose to write about this place rather than others? Who else values this place?

2. Describe the landscape and ecology. What kinds of plants and animals live there? What is the
topography like? What about the soil and geological features? The more detail the better.

3. Describe the climate. How much precipitation does the place get? What are the average
temperatures? How does the climate vary over the course of the year?

4. Describe its built features. Who constructed the buildings and for what purpose? Who lives in
them and/or uses them now? What kinds of construction might take place in the future?

5. Describe the history of the place. What is the geologic history of the place (e.g., how was the
topography formed)? What about the ecological history?

6. What is the cultural history? Who lived on/owns the land in the past, and who lives on/owns it
now? Who uses the land and for what purposes? Who manages it?

7. Describe the likely future of the place. Is the place likely to change over time and stay the
same? What is the place likely to be like in ten years? What about one hundred?

8. What stories do you have about the place? What kinds of activities do you do there? What is
your fondest memory? What (if anything) can and should be done to protect the place?


In addition to more traditional forms of research (i.e., consulting books, articles, and the web),
you might also conduct more personal research by interviewing people who know a lot about the
place. The best interviews involve careful preparation and documentation.

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