Written in Sand: Creative Writing and Environmental Studies

Fall Open
Class Standing
Steven Hendricks
Pauline Yu

This program fuses marine science and environmental history with literary study and creative writing as we engage deeply with Evergreen's own forest-cloaked beach, located among the southern inlets of the Salish Sea. Through laboratory and field experiences, students will develop observational and experimental skills that will serve them as thinkers and researchers. Literary study and creative writing practice will allow for expansive forms of inquiry and expression as we learn about the connections between land and water, history and identity, environment and meaning.

Our approach to inquiry is known as "Environmental Humanities", which involves broadly interdisciplinary study and, for us, an open inquiry into the land-water interface of the Evergreen campus, cultivating curiosity and depth of understanding of the land we are on, its history, and the natural systems and phenomena that shape it. In particular, students will learn about the natural history, cultural connections, and coastal environment of South Puget Sound across geologic time and to the climatic changes of the future. Our explorations will include local day field trips and an overnight field trip to observe other marine environments; the overnight field trip will include day and evening hikes over intermediate terrain and may also include some inclement weather.

Writing practice will be driven by weekly workshops that offer students guidance to develop creative practices and experiment with narrative and poetic forms while also providing a grounding in college-level analytic and critical writing. Literary readings will reinforce creative practice by exemplifying literary responses to the environment, historical research, scientific inquiry, and observation.

As a culmination of student work, we will produce a print anthology sampling student work from the quarter. Along the way, students will learn some basic skills in editing, graphic design, and collaboration.

This program is coordinated with Greener Foundations for first-year students. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s in-person 2-quarter introductory student success course sequence, which provides first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. Students expected to take Greener Foundations will be prompted to register for a 2-credit Greener Foundations course in addition to this 14-credit program during registration. Students will be prompted to register for Greener Foundations with their new winter program to complete the 4-credits of Greener Foundations.

Anticipated Credit Equivalencies:

7-Introductory topics in Environmental Studies: South Puget Sound

2-Introduction to Graphic Design

5-Writing: Creative Process and Foundational Skills


Academic Details

Writing, Environmental Studies


$140 required fee covers overnight field trip expenses ($90) and a required lab fee ($50)

Students will need to have appropriate clothing and shoes for field work and overnight field trip. If you do not already own these items, be prepared for the expenses. There will also be a student anthology of work created in the program, which will be available for purchase for approximately $25


In Person (F)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details