July 31 -
Elizabeth (Ibit) Getchell, Instructor, UVM
Gale Lawrence, Writer-in-Residence
Marshall Webb, Co-Facilitator
ENVS 195 / ENG 117
3 UVM credits, ($1,182 in-state, $2,955 out-of-state)
or a non-credit fee of $450 to Shelburne Farms
Monday – Friday, ,
and Friday evening August 11
Prerequisite: instructor permission
Enrollment limit: 15
Immerse yourself for two weeks with a community of writers learning and writing about an extraordinary place. Explore the values of full engagement with a place and celebration of it through creative endeavor. Shelburne Farms offers rich opportunities to connect on physical, intellectual, emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual levels. Mornings the first week, participants will learn about the Farm's human history, natural history and current operations, and participate in a group work project. The second week, participants will volunteer in chosen areas of work at the Farm. Spend afternoons in facilitated writing exercises and discussions about the craft, time alone writing, and meeting individually with faculty. The course culminates in a Friday evening picnic supper and public reading of students' work.
About Shelburne Farms
Shelburne Farms is a membership-supported,
nonprofit environmental education center and National Historic Landmark on the
This course will be a two-week gathering of students writing about Shelburne Farms (SF) as we learn all about it. The first week we will talk with a naturalist, the Education Program staff, Curator of Collections, Woodlands Manager, Farm and Woodlands staff, Head Chef, Head Gardener, Webb family members, and others to engage with the place, its landscape, people, history, and functions. We will spend some time in the archives to explore what has already been written about SF. In the afternoons those first few days we will have time to think and absorb our mornings’ activities, have discussions on place-based writing and the writing process and habit, and to write—on our own and with facilitated writing exercises.
The first several days’ activities will mostly keep participants together to learn and create our community. On Friday, after those first four days receiving from and learning so much about SF, we will all engage in service—some work project to give back to SF that takes many hands and several hours to contribute to some important aspect of the operations.
the schedule will change to accommodate immersion in individual
work with SF staff. At the end of the first week each student will choose an
area of the farm where they will work each morning during the second week. We
will coordinate with the SF staff for these assignments so that each student
has meaningful work to do with a SF mentor, and can start right in with their
work at the appropriate time Monday morning. Work project options may include
involvement with the dairy, farmyard, vineyard, vegetable garden, herb garden, bakery, cheese making facilities, archives,
Writing for this course will be creative nonfiction, personal narrative writing about our experiences and learning at SF. Honoring the place and the stories that come from our time there is the focus. The goal is to amass writing from which to draw on to craft at least one rich, well-developed essay.
Friday evening the second week we will gather for a class potluck together with the SF staff members who teach and mentor us. Then we will host a public reading at the SF Coach Barn to share with friends, family, SF community members, and other guests the best writing that springs from our course. We will celebrate SF and the products of our explorations, work, and creative endeavors.
Special Housing Arrangements
For high school and college students who want to take this course but don’t live nearby, we may be able to partner you with another student in the class or find a home-stay family in or near Shelburne.
If you take this course, expect to have fun, write a lot, and be a sponge of information and sensory delights. We will experience an extraordinary place, meet skilled and generous people, work hard physically and intellectually, and enjoy the rewards of creative focus and commitment. Expect hot weather. We will be active, walking a great deal. And we’ll be around animals and barns and fields and woods. If you have particular allergies, or if you have special physical or other needs, or concerns, please let us know so we can talk about how you can be accommodated. And bring your camera if you want to enjoy opportunities for good photography. SF is a stunning place!
For more information, contact Elizabeth (Ibit) Getchell
in the Environmental Program at the