I had the great privilege of attending the University of Michigan for my undergraduate education. I received an excellent liberal arts education there, and one of the highlights was a program I participated in called the New England Literature Program or NELP.
NELP was a spring term program where about 35 students piled into vans and drove out to live for six weeks in a rustic camp in New Hampshire. We slept in small cabins with no electricity or running water and shared a dining room, kitchen, and a shower and bathhouse. The camp was right on Lake Winnepesaukee in the woods. This experience changed me and my life.
At NELP we studied the New England authors, took backpacking and camping trips, and wrote creatively. We had classes on the dock and around the fireplace, talked about literature, life, and the world while hiking or sitting on the lakeshore, danced around campfires, climbed mountains, and shared camp cleaning and maintenance duties with teachers.
My goal is to create a program like NELP where young people have the opportunity to connect with nature and study literary writing about the natural world and environment while immersed in natural settings. My first step toward bringing this project to life is creating a hybrid program where students take my online courses, and we periodically gather in natural areas to engage with course material and the natural world.
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