Writers Memos

Writers Memo for Polished Narrative
I was excited about this writing response because I love the wilderness writing class and I wanted others to consider taking it so they can experience it too. I made it unique by making the piece a blog style, because I know most people my age who are prospective students for this class will more likely read something from another student rather than a professional article written by the school. My audience of prospective students would most likely enjoy reading about my experiences, so most of my paper was a persuasion using my own personal experience and knowledge about the wilderness. My positive attitude was shown throughout the paper because I explained how fun the class was and how much more knowledge and understanding we can get out of taking the class. If I had to spend more time on something, it would be drafting my piece so I could make sure it contained useful information for prospective students, make sure it was truly inspirational and persuading, and make sure it was something that the audience would take their time to read. This piece was new to me because I had never written in a blog style before, I had only written papers in an organized paragraph form with a formal thesis and structured paragraphs. At first my paper was too structured, but after revising it was more of a blog style and so more of a paper that the audience would take their time to read. My audience for this piece is prospective students in the honors college that might consider taking Wilderness Writing as a required honors seminar for the following semester. This guided my writing because I wrote in a causal tone to speak to the audience of students my own age, and I used a lot of my own experiences and emotion to explain and persuade them to take the class. This paper was not difficult to write because I was writing to an audience that I fell under the category of last semester, so it was as if I was writing to myself a few months ago. This allowed me to know what these students would want to read, and what they want to know about the class. Using my own knowledge and experience, I was able to clearly explain the necessary information about the class as well as my thoughts of it. My writing improved because I wrote in a different genre than usual, so I expanded my capability of writing in different genres. My favorite part of my paper was the fact that I could express my emotions and experiences in the class to my audience. I used my excitement about the class and put it into words so someone else can read it and want to take the class too. This piece is unique because it is not a structured piece with facts and boring details, but it is a persuasion in blog format that discusses experiences and thoughts about the class. To improve this piece even further I would go through and put more emotion into all of my discussions about my experiences and thoughts of the class.

Writers Memo for Manifesto
This assignment was enjoyable because I was able to explain my own standpoint on the debate of wilderness. I was able to explain my wilderness ethic using information I have learned and experiences I have had throughout the semester. I mainly used information and quotes from various articles while also including some of my own experiences in the wild to make the paper my own. If I could spend more time on something I would have thought more about the content of my paper and how it all connected with each other and contributed to my wilderness ethic even further. This writing was different from others I had done because it was a structured paper with a formal thesis while also including my own experiences to enhance the information in the paper. My audience for this piece is those looking into the wilderness debate and the various stances taken about it. It was difficult to include a lot of outside information to contribute to my wilderness ethic, but after I started finding new information it became easier and necessary to discuss facts that I researched from various websites. My piece is different from others because my stance is unique to myself. I combined a couple known stances to explain an ethic that is my own.

Writers Memo for Field Notes
I liked this assignment because it allowed us to write both creatively and scientifically. By writing field notes we were forced to pay attention to detail as we were out in the wild, which was a new experience that I enjoyed. A lot of time was spent observing nature as we experienced it, and writing it down enhanced the experience and our surroundings. I was more aware of the environment I was in and how I was interpreting it as I was experiencing it. I had never taken field notes before, so this method of writing was completely new for me. It was difficult to make interpretations about some observations while other interpretations came to me so quickly. It was easier for me to observe detail than write interpretations because I enjoy Science more than English so I was more aware of what was happening in terms of science in my surroundings. My writing improved because I am more experienced at writing scientific observations, and also creatively writing my thoughts and interpretations of observations. My interpretations and observations are unique to myself, so that is what makes my piece different than others.

Wilderness Manifesto Final Draft

Wilderness Manifesto

            Many people have their own opinions about wilderness and if it even exists in our world today. Their view on wilderness, as well as their interaction with the wild, creates a wilderness ethic that is unique to each individual. There are many different stances one can take on the wilderness debate and many combinations of viewpoints. I have combined several viewpoints to create a wilderness ethic I strongly believe in. I believe that we as human beings should preserve the wilderness so that it does not degrade to nothing. When I discuss preserving I do not mean mankind totally abandoning the wild or having land that is fully and completely untouched by man. I believe humans have the right to enter into the wild for personal reasons; however, for whatever reasons they enter they should not harm or degrade the wild in any way. The wild does not need to be untouched by man, but it should be untouched by society as a whole. This meaning cities and neighborhoods should not overwhelm wild areas. Humans can enter the wild for recreational purposes that do not harm the wilderness, such as hiking, reflecting, or camping. The wild is not here for our own benefit, but for many reasons that we may be included in. The wild should be preserved to protect biodiversity, protect wildlife, for recreational purposes, and for ethical values.

            Before exploring interactions between humans and the wild and stances on the wilderness debate, one must define wilderness in their own terms. Before studying the wild and before I had an understanding and experience of what the wild was, I had defined wilderness in my own words. I wrote wilderness means not restrained by anything, and natural. Wild plants grow in the wilderness without being restrained by something such as civilization, and grow naturally without man-made fertilizer. This is the same with wild animals. Wild animals can roam freely in their habitat without being restrained by something such as a cage. Growing up in a city, the term wild and wilderness made me think of places like forest reserves where there are no houses or buildings to restrain wild plants and animals. Going into the wild meant going into the woods, or somewhere open and natural without any man-made objects. After having several experiences in the wild and much time reading and learning about wilderness my definition has changed and matured into a wilderness ethic. While it is true that the wilderness is not restrained by anything and does not contain many man-made objects, the term wilderness is so much deeper than this. Wilderness is a natural place for any species to co-live in without harming the ecosystem. It is a place that should not be degraded because of its many benefits. This reinforces my previous statement that it is alright for humans to enter the wilderness as long as they do not harm or degrade it in any way. The wilderness is not for our own benefit, although we can and do benefit from it. We need to preserve the wilderness for several reasons and it is important that we as humans work to preserve it since humans are the species that is degrading the wilderness.

Biodiversity is a concern many scientists have regarding wilderness and has great significance that much of society does not realize. Biodiversity benefits many species, including humans. Without biodiversity there would be no agriculture. The farming industry relies on diverse crops, and biodiversity is essential to maintain a varied range of crops. The biodiversity of fish species is threatened by fisheries, so if we do not stop killing fish they will soon go extinct and there will be no fish for future generations. This not only affects the fish and humans, but also the underwater ecosystem. Many other species relies on fish, so by threatening fish species we threaten others as well. Biodiversity within animal and plant habitats is being destroyed by housing, factories, and roads. By ignoring the importance of wilderness as urbanization grows, we will be in a world of concrete and pollution (Klinkenberg).  As Klinkenberg states, “Biodiversity is the foundation for sustainable development.” For the world and all its species to properly develop, biodiversity is essential. To protect biodiversity, we need to take measures such as “market incentives, development assistance, biodiversity-friendly trade and international governance processes” (Klinkenberg).

In addition to preserving biodiversity to save a variety of species, protecting biodiversity allows us to enjoy the various beauties this earth holds. Leopold explains, “No living man will see again the long-grass prairie…no living man will see the virgin pineries of the Lake States, or the flatwoods of the coastal plain” (Leopold). Some of the biodiversity that once existed on this earth is gone, and no one will ever see it again. If there are some environments that have been degraded it is possible for more to be degraded in the future. The diversity of ecosystems and environments is decreasing, and by preserving these environments we can save them for use by future generations and various species. The U.S. government has worked towards conserving certain natural areas in our country, which are set off as national parks. However, society is slowly degrading parts of these areas for economic reasons. “Local pressures for new roads knock of a chip here and a slab there…there is pressure for extension of roads” (Leopold). Our slow expansion of civilization is affecting preservation attempts, which needs to be dealt with. In my own experience it is much more enjoyable for me to look out and view the wild without sight of civilization. I traveled to Yosemite in California a couple years ago, and when I looked out on the top of Glacier Point I saw a diversity of environments ranging from rushing waterfalls and green trees to a mountainside layered in snow. When I looked out on the top of a different mountain in Yosemite I saw roads next to roads with houses, stores, and buildings on either side. This ruined the nature effect for me. Without seeing civilization I was able to reflect to myself and connect with Earth, and seeing civilization made me imagine a world filled with factories without the natural beauties it now holds. The importance of biodiversity affects humans as well as other species, and it should be preserved and not degraded so it can continue to benefit various species.

Biodiversity is at risk and because humans are so dependent on it we should work to preserve it to prevent future problems. An example of an environment with great biodiversity is tropical rainforests, which is home to more than two-third of the world’s organisms. Rain forests are at high risk of destruction, and with destruction of the land comes destruction of many organisms. I reject the anthropocentric view that humans are the center of everything worthwhile, and everything only has value if it benefits us. All organisms have inherent value and they all benefit each other. “Human beings have no right to bring other creatures to extinction or to play God by deciding which species serve us and should therefore be allowed to live” (Wilson). The variety of species in the wilderness provides shelter and food for other species, and for humans also provides medicine and clothing. Species are important to each other because they contribute to the successful functioning of the ecosystem. For example, species provide food, pollinate, and trees provide oxygen which can affect the climate of that ecosystem.  Our dependence on biodiversity, in addition to our moral responsibility to value all living things, should be our motivation to preserve wilderness. Although we may not see it now, the degradation of biodiversity will impact many species. “Rare species in the system cannot easily be assessed for a moment but only when viewed over periods of environmental change” (Wilson). As parts of biodiversity in a specific ecosystem go extinct, it affects the entire ecosystem which can lead to a slow degradation of that ecosystem and environment. “Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play” (Shah). Biodiversity yields more crops, and healthy ecosystems can withstand and recover from natural disasters. Healthy biodiversity not only benefits us in giving us food, medicine, and other resources, but it also works at storing and recycling nutrients, stabilizes climate changes, protects water and soil formations, and helps the ecosystem recover from unpredictable events (Shah). Biodiversity affects all species, and should be preserved for the benefit of all species. “The anthropocentric idea of dominion over the land reflects short-term thinking… viewing the land as the foundation for an interconnected support system that sustains human life gives wilderness a different meaning” (Roberts). Thinking about how the wilderness can benefit humans now will lead to many problems in the future. By preserving the wild now we can save ourselves and other species from future problems while acting in an ethical manner towards all living things. 

Preserving the wild is extremely important to protect the wildlife living in the various wilderness environments on the planet. When thinking of why we should preserve the wilderness we resort to thinking of all the ways we as humans can benefit, but other species survive off the wilderness too. While it is morally right for humans not to increase the rate of extinction of wild animals for the animal’s sake, they benefit us as well. Throughout history wild animals have been used for food, fur, and leather, and in recent years have provided entertainment in attractions such as zoos. Without getting into the dilemma of wildlife conservation, these animals have instrumental value and need the proper ecosystem to survive. To protect these animals and save biodiversity from a preservationist view, “wild places should be allowed to develop on their own with as little interference from humans as possible” (Gamborg). Human interference affects the ecosystem and habitat that animals survive in. While the government has tried to preserve certain areas set off as National Parks, it still affects the wildlife. “National Parks do not suffice as a means of perpetuating the larger carnivores” (Leopold). Leopold discusses how grizzly bears are fewer in number, even in National Parks, because of roads and other manmade contraptions. Wildlife needs larger area that does not include manmade objects. By preserving places for wildlife the biodiversity of animal species will be maintainable rather than having species go extinct from degrading ecosystems.

Although it is necessary to preserve wilderness where man should not harm the environment in any way, we can go into the wild for recreational purposes as long as we leave no trace behind. Wilderness explorers and writers throughout history have “extolled the closeness to nature, education, freedom, solitude, and simplicity, as well as spiritual, aesthetic, and mystical dimensions of the wilderness experience” (“Recreational Benefits”). Wilderness brings us pleasure and understanding that we may not realize. We can learn so much from the wild, such as how ecosystems work and about biodiversity on this planet. Wilderness gives a sense of simplicity and freedom that can help spiritual and mental growth. It also gives us adventure and activity as we hike and camp out in the wild. On a trip I took to Boone through the Appalachian Mountains I was able to sit alone and quietly on the peak of Grandfather Mountain and reflect to myself. Looking out and seeing the horizon that stretched further than I could imagine gave me a feeling of freedom from myself and society. I grew spiritually on that peak as I pondered deep meanings of how civilization affects views like this. Hiking up Grandfather Mountain was another experience I would never give up. It allowed me to be adventurous and see the beautiful creations of this world that someday might not be there. Wilderness gives us enjoyable experiences, and these experiences are possible without leaving traces behind. Wilderness is a setting for human experiences that do not harm the environment. The Wilderness Act of 1964 states, “Wilderness is a place with outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation” (Bowker). We have experiences in the wild that cannot be replaced by any other area on this planet. The views we see off a mountaintop overlooking valleys filled with waterfalls and rock walls cannot be seen in the city in the center of civilization. Preserving the wilderness is necessary to humans for human recreational experiences that cannot be held in other environments.

Preserving wilderness is part of our philosophical ethic values that deal with “fairness, justice, and goodness” (Bowker). We have taken valuable resources from the wild, such as trees and land that we have a moral responsibility to replace. As Noss states in his article “Soul of the Wilderness,” it is not only a goal to protect the wild, but also to restore it (Noss). We are selfish in our endeavors with the wild, only thinking of how it can benefit us. We must keep the future generation in consideration. There are certain environments that no living man will ever see again, and we must prevent that from happening again. “Human, animal, and health benefits are cited as major reasons for protecting and maintaining ecological services” (Bowker). It is only fair to the health and well-being of humans, plants, and animals that we preserve the wild. A major ethical value dealing with wilderness is the value of existence. Existence of all plants, animals, and humans has both instrumental and intrinsic value. Bowker uses a bird as an example to show the value. The bird’s existence in instrumentally valuable because it acts as food for some animals, and give happiness to people who enjoy bird watching. The bird’s existence is intrinsically valuable “beyond human active or passive use” (Bowker). These values apply to all the other species that are present in wilderness, and contribute to the vast range of biodiversity this planet has today. Instead of being selfish towards wilderness only thinking of ourselves, we must have an appropriate respect for the environment. “Environmental ethics must be more biologically objective—nonanthropocentric” (Rolston). Many of our values are based in our cultures, but wilderness has significant meaning to all cultures. We must move past society and be responsible and respectful of the wild for its own sake. The value wilderness holds is both instrumental and intrinsic value, and we should preserve it so it can keep all its value (Rolston).

 After multiple experiences with the wild I have a better understanding of the value and importance it brings. My definition and ethic of wilderness has changed and matured through my understanding. Now that I have studied various meanings of wilderness and experienced it through a couple trips, I understand the great importance biodiversity has to us and the planet. I will not take wilderness for granted, and I will encourage others not to do so either. Going into the wild is a privilege, not a right for society as a whole. We have a right to go into wilderness as long as we leave no trace behind, and so we are privileged with the beauties and experiences wilderness holds. It is necessary to preserve the wild for various reasons, but this does not mean we cannot ever enter the wild. We can still enjoy recreational experiences in the wild without harming the environment. To benefit not only ourselves, but also to benefit all other living things, preserving the wilderness is an act that all organisms depend on.

 

 

Works Cited

Bowker, J. M., and H. Cordell. “An Organizing Framework for Wilderness Values.” The Multiple Values of Wilderness. By John Bergstrom. Venture, 2005. 48-55. Web.

Gamborg, Christian. “Ethics of Wildlife Management and Conservation.” Knowledge Project. Nature Publishing Group, 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Klinkenberg, Brian. “Saving Biodiversity.” Saving Biodiversity BC. University of British Columbia, 2013. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.

Leopold, Aldo. “”Wilderness”” The Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There. 1949. 200-13. Web.

Noss, Reed F. “Soul of the Wilderness.” International Journal of Wilderness 2 (1996): 3-8. Web.

“Recreational Benefits of Wilderness.” Wilderness.net. The University of Montana, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Roberts, Lynda. The Wilderness Debate: A Conflict between Values. 1-26. Web.

Rolston, Holmes. “Environmental Ethics: Values in and Duties to the Natural World.”Ecocentrism. Yale University Press, 1991. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Shah, Anup. “Why Is Biodiversity Important?” Global Issues. N.p., Apr. 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Wilson, Edward O. Biodiversity. Washington, D.C.: National Academy, 1988. Web.

 

Final Draft- Polished Paper

 

Choosing a Seminar: Wilderness Writing

            A new semester is coming upon us and it is time to choose a seminar for the honors college requirement. There are numerous seminars to choose from, each one having its own unique syllabus and characteristics. Although it may seem stressful trying to choose a writing intensive seminar that will benefit students and be enjoyable, there is a seminar that is both entertaining and will give students new perspectives on writing. The Wilderness Writing seminar is a great choice for an honors seminar because it allows for great opportunities to explore the wilderness across North Carolina. What other class allows you to travel to another city for five days and experience what you have learned about all semester? The assigned readings allow us to make connections between nature and what we read, which really enhanced our experience in the wild. The class teaches values such as teamwork and persistence, which allowed us to grow individually and with each other. The format of the class gives students new perspectives on both scientific and creative writing, and gives us a chance to use both in various situations. Students should take this seminar for these reasons, which can be seen by focusing on the Boone trip taken early in the semester.  

            Hiking the mountains in Boone gave us an opportunity to connect our understanding of wilderness with others from various readings, and it also allowed us to go on an adventure and make discoveries. The hike up the mountains became challenging at points along the trail, but by staying determined and motivating each other everyone in the class made it to the top, most with positive attitudes. After the hike you can tell your friends you’ve hiked more than three miles up a mountain, impressive right? We encouraged each other and found the inner strength to keep going the whole way. Without my hiking partner I would not have been motivated to keep walking up the mountains in the front of the pack without taking a lot of breaks. At some points I started breathing hard because of how fast I was hiking, but overall it was a great workout and I’m sure I built leg muscle along the way. Along the trail we were able to see breathtaking scenery, many different plant and tree species, and we also saw the climate change to snow at the top. Have you ever walked a green path that turned to snow, because I have. Leaves were different colors and the stream running alongside the trail had water that was so clear you could see the bottom. The plants with snow draping the leaves like a blanket made the landscape look like a winter wonderland. Observing these things is not something you can do every day, but it is being in wilderness that gives us the opportunity to explore what is all around us. As we continued to hike and gain a better understanding of the wilderness we related what we know to passages we had read in class. For example, Thoreau’s “Walking” discusses how the wild is untouched by humans, and to go into the wild you must leave civilization behind you. While we were walking we did not see any buildings, houses, or any man made contraptions. We also drove over six hours away from campus to arrive to a place we can call the wild. I never thought of leaving civilization as I hike, but thinking about it made the hike seem more serene and adventurous. This enhanced our understanding of the wild according to Thoreau because the land we hiked on was untouched by human and was away from a big city. Another example is a book we read, Walk in the Woods. This book gave us another perspective of how a man views wilderness and all it entails. We were able to hike up a mountain that is part of the Appalachians, just like the protagonist in the book. It was very intriguing to compare our own thoughts and challenges while hiking to the character’s in the book. While hiking I thought of the determination Bryson, the protagonist, had and I compared that with my determination to make it up the mountain. These and other stories we read prior to the trip made us think differently while hiking because they gave us various understandings of wilderness. Your hiking experience is completely enhanced by having thoughts from readings that make you notice things you never have before, such as what a squirrel is thinking as it runs by you. I personally thought hiking up the mountain was very thrilling and exciting because it is a challenge that gave me a sense of accomplishment once I reached the top. It was fun hiking with the class because we all motivated each other and made the journey up more enjoyable. Overall I had a great time hiking and I would recommend this trail to any college student that wants an adventure.  

The next day our class ventured to Hebron Rock Colony where we gained an even deeper understanding of the wild and learned personal values such as teamwork and persistence. Hebron Rock Colony is a waterfall covered by many boulders that lead up a large hill to the top where a river lies. The boulders were mostly round and perfect for climbing on. The waterfall made a soothing sound as it raced its way through the boulders. Just think, you will be seeing all of this natural beauty while your friends are sitting in a boring math class back on campus. You can make ascending the rocks as easy or as challenging as you wish depending on which path you take to the top, if you choose to climb. Climbing with classmates allowed us to help each other up the rocks and be aware of other’s safety. Teamwork was really valued during this journey up the rocks because we all stuck together and did not leave anyone behind. We made sure everyone who wanted to made it to the top safely and enjoyably. As I stepped onto one of the rocks on my way up my foot slipped on the ice and I was caught in a tough position to get out of. One of my classmates grabbed my hand and helped me up the rock. Through this teamwork we grew closer as a class and built friendships stronger. I felt like we were a family by the end of the trip. This climb promoted adventure and responsibility by making us understand our physical limits. You were also given an opportunity to grow spiritually during quiet times of writing and reflecting. I sat on a boulder listening to the sound of the waterfall while reflecting to myself, and at that moment I felt like I was in paradise. Learning and acting on these personal values was an experience that I would never give up. I wish every class would be able to go on a trip like this where classmates grew stronger both mentally and physically. If you are sore after this trip it is normal and it just means you are building leg muscle, probably muscle you didn’t think you ever had. Venturing to Hebron Rock Colony also allowed us to connect our thoughts to previous readings dealing with the wild. For example, Dillard viewed the wild as living based on necessity and survival. We connected this with the journey up the rocks by only taking steps that were necessary to achieve the goal of reaching the top and doing it safely. My group that hiked up together did not make any dangerous jumps to rocks that were too far away, but instead we took a path that would lead us to the top safely. Another example of a reading we connected with is “Thinking like a Mountain.” The mountain these rocks have been on has been here longer than any human, plant, or animal. It was interesting to see the formation of the rocks and wonder how they fell in the place they did. This formation has been here far longer than anyone can remember, and so the mountain itself is the only thing that has been around longer than the formation. Didn’t think you could think like a mountain? You will after this class. Making these new connections while exploring the wild, and also learning and understanding personal values was an amazing experience that no one should pass up.

            Through our experiences on this trip we were able to have time to ourselves to write and reflect on our journey. We were more attuned to our senses based off of what we wrote about. We were able to put more focus on what we saw, heard, and felt than we normally would walking through wilderness. If you don’t think you can stay quiet and think that deeply for that long, I assure you it is possible because if I can do it, anyone can. I heard the wind rustling through the trees, and I felt the tightness in my legs as I climbed up the steep part of the mountain. We also got the opportunity to pay close attention to detail on our journey. Part of our writing assignment was to take field notes, which was writing our observations while interpreting those observations. This gave us a chance to think scientifically and creatively in our writing. We observed things like the calming sound of the waterfall, the spots of ice that remained on the rocks, trees growing on top of boulders, and the clear water that lied under us. I have never paid such close attention to detail and I loved it because I felt like I wasn’t missing out on anything as I hiked. We used our creativity to interpret our observations, such as describing how the water is clear because there is not as much pollution since not as many people venture up the mountain as in the city. This introduced a new perspective on writing that we could use later in life. Some people focused more on their observations and the scientific aspect of the writing, while some were more absorbed into the creative interpretations. I enjoyed writing facts because I am more scientific minded, so I paid more attention to the details I was observing in nature around me. An example of a field note I took was the leaves on a tree at the top of the mountain were swayed to one side because the wind is constantly blowing at the tree from the same side. Having the opportunity to use both methods changed the way I view writing in the sense that I could focus on the scientific facts or the creativity of my expressive writing. It is one thing sitting in a desk in a classroom writing a reflection, but it is a whole new experience sitting on a rock on the peak of a mountain writing a reflection. Which would you rather do? I know you’re lying if you wouldn’t rather sit on a peak of a mountain. Having time to yourself to reflect on the adventures of the day while looking up and seeing beautiful scenery created a magical moment. Inspired ideas flooded through the mind while taking mental snapshots of the incredible mountains that seemed never-ending in the background. Writing has never come so easy. The quiet reflection time also gave us a moment to focus on what we were feeling physically and mentally. We thought about how our body’s felt after the challenge of climbing the mountain and the rock formation. I focused on the soreness of my muscles and the adrenaline rush I was feeling when I reached the top. We also thought about how determined and motivated we all were with each other. Another writing assignment that helped us focus our ideas was a web of thoughts. This is where we wrote one main idea, such as Hebron Rock Colony, and wrote words that associated with the idea, and then more words that related to those associations. The assignment allowed us to organize our thoughts, feelings, and attitudes towards the journeys we took on the trip. In my word associations with Hebron Rock Colony I included emotions such as curiosity and fear, and I also included aspects of nature I observed such as untouched by man. This assignment showed me what I felt at different stages during my experience which was really cool to see on paper. These writing assignments taught us ways we can organize thoughts into factual essays or creative writing papers.

            In addition to gaining a better understanding of the wild while learning personal values and writing techniques, I believe honors students should take this seminar because Boone was a meaningful trip that was filled with excitement. I only had a few friends going into the trip, but by the end I had built a stronger relationship with every classmate and I felt like the class became a family. We were able to bond during free time back at the house playing cards, games, cooking, and even having a snowball fight. One night some of us bonded by going in the backyard and sled down the hill when it snowed. Nights like this bring funny stories to go tell your friends back home; I still laugh at Daniel sledding into a thorn bush. Now I am really glad I am friends with everyone in my class because they are all trustworthy people and enjoyable to be around. The activities we did every day were very meaningful. It is not every day we get to hike up a mountain. The journey up the mountain was so amazing because we were able to get out and be active while looking out and seeing beautiful mountains beyond the horizon. Hiking in the mountains with family may restrict the intensity level of the hike because parents or little siblings might not be able to go up a strenuous trail, but taking on the challenge with a group of fit college students was an incredible experience. I loved hiking with friends because they made the trip funny and exciting while hiking with my family can get boring after hearing my brother complain the whole time. Bouldering up Hebron Rock Colony was a new adventure for many of us, and was tons of fun. We were able to go up our own path at our own speed, and we could make it challenging or easy getting up. Using teamwork we bonded even more with each other by trusting others and helping others to overcome any fears or challenges getting up the rocks. I felt so much adrenaline hopping from boulders that I normally wouldn’t have jumped if I didn’t have people there for me in case I fell. The view from the top was well worth the climb up. We looked out and saw an obstacle course of boulders with towering mountains filling in the background. The final day we went sledding as a class down a large hill we drove to down the street. We had races down the hill and partnered up on sleds to all go down together. Not only was it a ton of fun, but for most of us who don’t get to see snow that often it was a day that brought excitement and great memories. Aside from the academics we learn in class, honors students should take this seminar because it provides more fun and adventure than any other seminar.

            Focusing on the Boone trip encompasses the main aspects of the class that give reason for taking the Wilderness Writing seminar. We were able to think differently while hiking by connecting our thoughts to previous readings. We learned new perspectives of writing by writing scientifically and creatively. Our understanding of wilderness, its history, and what it comprises of was deepened. I never knew people were so passionate about the wild, and now I am inspired by them and look forward to more experiences in the wilderness. Personal values were learned and acted upon by every student in the class. The trip was a lot of fun and honestly one of the better weeks of college so far. I loved Boone, even enough to call my parents and tell them I want to go back on vacation this summer. These aspects make this class unique and recommendable to honors students. Would you rather hike in the natural beauties earth brings us or sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture? If this is not convincing enough to take the class, there is another class trip later in the semester. The next trip is camping for three days and two nights on Roanoke River. This trip includes canoeing, camping in tents and sleeping bags, and a whole new experience in the wilderness. We are looking forward to going into part of the wilderness that is untouched by man without any buildings or houses to take away from the wild. Without civilization right next door we will be able to gain a deeper understanding of the wilderness as it is defined as untouched by man and separate from society. This trip will build even stronger relationships and teach us more personal value. I believe honors students should take the Wilderness Writing seminar to experience the wilderness through the class trips and learn personal values and writing techniques while having an amazing time. This is my favorite class this semester, and I know it can be yours too. 

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Wilderness Manifesto

Kate Donato

Mrs. West-Puckett and Ms. Eagan

Wilderness Writing

24 April 2013

Wilderness Manifesto

            Many people have their own opinions about wilderness, and if it even exists in our world today. Their view on wilderness, as well as their interaction with the wild, creates a wilderness ethic that is unique to each individual. There are many different stances one can take on the wilderness debate, and many combinations of viewpoints. I have combined several viewpoints to create a wilderness ethic I strongly believe in. I believe that we as human beings should preserve the wilderness so that it does not degrade to nothing. When I discuss preserving I do not mean mankind totally abandoning the wild, or having land that is fully and completely untouched by man. I believe humans have the right to enter into the wild for personal reasons; however, for whatever reasons they enter they should not harm or degrade the wild in any way. The wild does not need to be untouched by man, but it should be untouched by society as a whole. This meaning cities and neighborhoods should not overwhelm wild areas. Humans can enter the wild for recreational purposes that do not harm the wilderness, such as hiking, reflecting, or camping. The wild is not here for our own benefit, but for many reasons that we may be included in. The wild should be preserved to protect biodiversity, protect wildlife, for recreational purposes, and for ethical values.

            Before exploring interactions between humans and the wild and stances on the wilderness debate, one must define wilderness in their own terms. Before studying the wild and before I had an understanding and experience of what the wild was, I had defined wilderness in my own words. I wrote wilderness means not restrained by anything, and natural. Wild plants grow in the wilderness without being restrained by something such as civilization, and grow naturally without man-made fertilizer. This is the same with wild animals. Wild animals can roam freely in their habitat without being restrained by something such as a cage. Growing up in a city, the term wild and wilderness made me think of places like forest reserves where there are no houses or buildings to restrain wild plants and animals. Going into the wild meant going into the woods, or somewhere open and natural without any man-made objects. After having several experiences in the wild and much time reading and learning about wilderness, my definition has changed and matured into a wilderness ethic. While it is true that the wilderness is not restrained by anything and does not contain many man-made objects, the term wilderness is so much deeper than this. Wilderness is a natural place for any species to co-live in, without harming the ecosystem. It is a place that should not be degraded because of its many benefits. This reinforces my previous statement that it is alright for humans to enter the wilderness as long as they do not harm or degrade it in any way. The wilderness is not for our own benefit, although we can and do benefit from it. We need to preserve the wilderness for several reasons, and it is important that we as humans work to preserve it since humans are the species that is degrading the wilderness.

Biodiversity is a concern many scientists have regarding wilderness, and has great significance that much of society does not realize. Biodiversity benefits many species, including humans. Without biodiversity there would be no agriculture. The farming industry relies on diverse crops, and biodiversity is essential to maintain a diverse range of crops. The biodiversity of fish species is threatened by fisheries, so if we do not stop killing fish they will soon go extinct and there will be no fish for future generations. This not only affects the fish and humans, but also the underwater ecosystem. Many other species relies on fish, so by threatening fish species, we threaten others as well. Biodiversity within animal and plant habitats is being destroyed by housing, factories, and roads. By ignoring the importance of wilderness as urbanization grows, we will be in a world of concrete and pollution (Klinkenberg).  As Klinkenberg states, “Biodiversity is the foundation for sustainable development.” For the world and all its species to properly develop, biodiversity is essential. To protect biodiversity, we need to take measures such as “market incentives, development assistance, biodiversity-friendly trade and international governance processes” (Klinkenberg).

In addition to preserving biodiversity to save a variety of species, protecting biodiversity allows us to enjoy the various beauties this earth holds. Leopold explains, “No living man will see again the long-grass prairie…no living man will see the virgin pineries of the Lake States, or the flatwoods of the coastal plain” (Leopold). Some of the biodiversity that once existed on this earth is gone, and no one will ever see it again. If there are some environments that have been degraded, it is possible for more to be degraded in the future. The diversity of ecosystems and environments is decreasing, and by preserving these environments we can save them for use by future generations and various species. The U.S. government has worked towards conserving certain natural areas in our country, which are set off as national parks. However, society is slowly degrading parts of these areas for economic reasons. “Local pressures for new roads knock of a chip here and a slab there…there is pressure for extension of roads” (Leopold). Our slow expansion of civilization is affecting preservation attempts, which needs to be dealt with. In my own experience, it is much more enjoyable for me to look out and view the wild without sight of civilization. I traveled to Yosemite in California a couple years ago, and when I looked out on the top of Glacier Point I saw a diversity of environments ranging from rushing waterfalls and green trees to a mountainside layered in snow. When I looked out on the top of a different mountain in Yosemite I saw roads next to roads with houses, stores, and buildings on either side. This ruined the nature effect for me. Without seeing civilization I was able to reflect to myself and connect with Earth, and seeing civilization made me imagine a world filled with factories without the natural beauties it now holds. The importance of biodiversity affects humans as well as other species, and it should be preserved and not degraded so it can continue to benefit various species.

Biodiversity is at risk, and because humans are so dependent on it we should work to preserve it to prevent future problems. An example of an environment with great biodiversity is tropical rainforests, which is home to more than two-third of the world’s organisms. Rain forests are at high risk of destruction, and with destruction of the land comes destruction of many organisms. I reject the anthropocentric view that humans are the center of everything worthwhile, and everything only has value if it benefits us. All organisms have inherent value and they all benefit each other. “Human beings have no right to bring other creatures to extinction or to play God by deciding which species serve us and should therefore be allowed to live” (Wilson). The variety of species in the wilderness provides shelter and food for other species, and for humans also provides medicine and clothing. Our dependence on biodiversity, in addition to our moral responsibility to value all living things, should be our motivation to preserve wilderness. Although we may not see it now, the degradation of biodiversity will impact many species. “Rare species in the system cannot easily be assessed for a moment but only when viewed over periods of environmental change” (Wilson). As parts of biodiversity in a specific ecosystem go extinct, it affects the entire ecosystem which can lead to a slow degradation of that ecosystem and environment. “Biodiversity boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play” (Shah). Biodiversity yields more crops, and healthy ecosystems can withstand and recover from natural disasters. Healthy biodiversity not only benefits us in giving us food, medicine, and other resources, but it also works at storing and recycling nutrients, stabilizes climate changes, protects water and soil formations, and helps the ecosystem recover from unpredictable events (Shah). Biodiversity affects all species, and should be preserved for the benefit of all species. “The anthropocentric idea of dominion over the land reflects short-term thinking… viewing the land as the foundation for an interconnected support system that sustains human life gives wilderness a different meaning” (Roberts). Thinking about how the wilderness can benefit humans now will lead to many problems in the future. By preserving the wild now we can save ourselves and other species from future problems while acting in an ethical manner towards all living things. 

Preserving the wild is extremely important to protect the wildlife living in the various wilderness environments on the planet. When thinking of why we should preserve the wilderness we resort to thinking of all the ways we as humans can benefit, but other species survive off the wilderness too. While it is morally right for humans not to increase the rate of extinction of wild animals for the animal’s sake, they benefit us as well. Throughout history wild animals have been used for food, fur, and leather, and in recent years have provided entertainment in attractions such as zoos. Without getting into the dilemma of wildlife conservation, these animals have instrumental value and need the proper ecosystem to survive. To protect these animals and save biodiversity from a preservationist view, “wild places should be allowed to develop on their own with as little interference from humans as possible” (Gamborg). Human interference affects the ecosystem and habitat that animals survive in. While the government has tried to preserve certain areas set off as National Parks, it still affects the wildlife. “National Parks do not suffice as a means of perpetuating the larger carnivores” (Leopold). Leopold discusses how grizzly bears are fewer in number, even in National Parks, because of roads and other manmade contraptions. Wildlife needs larger area that does not include manmade objects. By preserving places for wildlife, the biodiversity of animal species will be maintainable rather than having species go extinct from degrading ecosystems.

Although it is necessary to preserve wilderness where man should not harm the environment in any way, we can go into the wild for recreational purposes as long as we leave no trace behind. Wilderness explorers and writers throughout history have “extolled the closeness to nature, education, freedom, solitude, and simplicity, as well as spiritual, aesthetic, and mystical dimensions of the wilderness experience” (“Recreational Benefits”). Wilderness brings us pleasure and understanding that we may not realize. We can learn so much from the wild, such as how ecosystems work and about biodiversity on this planet. Wilderness gives a sense of simplicity and freedom that can help spiritual and mental growth. It also gives us adventure and activity as we hike and camp out in the wild. On a trip I took to Boone through the Appalachian Mountains I was able to sit alone and quietly on the peak of Grandfather Mountain and reflect to myself. Looking out and seeing the horizon that stretched further than I could imagine gave me a feeling of freedom from myself and society. I grew spiritually on that peak as I pondered deep meanings of how civilization affects views like this. Hiking up Grandfather Mountain was another experience I would never give up. It allowed me to be adventurous and see the beautiful creations of this world that someday might not be there. Wilderness gives us enjoyable experiences, and these experiences are possible without leaving traces behind. Wilderness is a setting for human experiences that do not harm the environment. The Wilderness Act of 1964 states, “Wilderness is a place with outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation” (Bowker). We have experiences in the wild that cannot be replaced by any other area on this planet. The views we see off a mountaintop overlooking valleys filled with waterfalls and rock walls cannot be seen in the city in the center of civilization. Preserving the wilderness is necessary to humans for human recreational experiences that cannot be held in other environments.

Preserving wilderness is part of our philosophical ethic values that deal with “fairness, justice, and goodness” (Bowker). We have taken valuable resources from the wild, such as trees and land that we have a moral responsibility to replace. As Noss states in his article “Soul of the Wilderness,” it is not only a goal to protect the wild, but also to restore it (Noss). We are selfish in our endeavors with the wild, only thinking of how it can benefit us. We must keep the future generation in consideration. There are certain environments that no living man will ever see again, and we must prevent that from happening again. “Human, animal, and health benefits are cited as major reasons for protecting and maintaining ecological services” (Bowker). It is only fair to the health and well-being of humans, plants, and animals that we preserve the wild. A major ethical value dealing with wilderness is the value of existence. Existence of all plants, animals, and humans has both instrumental and intrinsic value. Bowker uses a bird as an example to show the value. The bird’s existence in instrumentally valuable because it acts as food for some animals, and give happiness to people who enjoy bird watching. The bird’s existence is intrinsically valuable “beyond human active or passive use” (Bowker). These values apply to all the other species that are present in wilderness, and contribute to the vast range of biodiversity this planet has today. Instead of being selfish towards wilderness only thinking of ourselves, we must have an appropriate respect for the environment. “Environmental ethics must be more biologically objective—nonanthropocentric” (Rolston). Many of our values are based in our cultures, but wilderness has significant meaning to all cultures. We must move past society and be responsible and respectful of the wild for its own sake. The value wilderness holds is both instrumental and intrinsic value, and we should preserve it so it can keep all its value (Rolston).

 After multiple experiences with the wild I have a better understanding of the value and importance it brings. My definition and ethic of wilderness has changed and matured through my understanding. I will not take wilderness for granted, and I will encourage others not to do so either. Going into the wild is a privilege, not a right for society as a whole. We have a right to go into wilderness as long as we leave no trace behind, and so we are privileged with the beauties and experiences wilderness holds. It is necessary to preserve the wild for various reasons, but this does not mean we cannot ever enter the wild. We can still enjoy recreational experiences in the wild without harming the environment. To benefit not only ourselves, but also to benefit all other living things, preserving the wilderness is an act that all organisms depend on.

 

 

Works Cited

Bowker, J. M., and H. Cordell. “An Organizing Framework for Wilderness Values.” The Multiple Values of Wilderness. By John Bergstrom. Venture, 2005. 48-55. Web.

Gamborg, Christian. “Ethics of Wildlife Management and Conservation.” Knowledge Project. Nature Publishing Group, 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Klinkenberg, Brian. “Saving Biodiversity.” Saving Biodiversity BC. University of British Columbia, 2013. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.

Leopold, Aldo. “”Wilderness”” The Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There. 1949. 200-13. Web.

Noss, Reed F. “Soul of the Wilderness.” International Journal of Wilderness 2 (1996): 3-8. Web.

“Recreational Benefits of Wilderness.” Wilderness.net. The University of Montana, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Roberts, Lynda. The Wilderness Debate: A Conflict between Values. 1-26. Web.

Rolston, Holmes. “Environmental Ethics: Values in and Duties to the Natural World.”Ecocentrism. Yale University Press, 1991. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Shah, Anup. “Why Is Biodiversity Important?” Global Issues. N.p., Apr. 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.

Wilson, Edward O. Biodiversity. Washington, D.C.: National Academy, 1988. Web.

Manifesto Prospectus

Kate Donato

Mrs. West-Puckett and Ms. Eagan

Wilderness Writing

17 April 2013

 

  1. Why should we preserve the wild?

       The importance of preserving (protecting and restoring) the wild for these reasons:

  1. Biodiversity
  2. Wildlife
  3. Recreation
  4. Ethical values
  5. I chose the issue of preserving the wild because the wild has so much importance to us and other species that we do not realize, and I believe its importance must be realized before the wilderness had degraded to nothing. This is an interesting topic because there is controversy on the importance of the wilderness, and within those who believe in its importance there is controversy whether we should conserve the wild or preserve it. The difference here is conserving the wild is properly using nature while preserving the wild is protecting it from use by humans. I believe we should preserve wilderness for the previously stated reasons because if the wild is not preserved it will be degraded in years to come and it will greatly impact humans, animals, and plant species.
  6. I will further research the reasons stated on the importance of preserving the wild to get in depth detail of the significance each reason has to us and the wild. I expect to discover the great significance the wild holds to us and to the planet. My answer to the research question, also my thesis statement, will be the wilderness has significant importance to us and the planet and should be preserved for protecting biodiversity, protecting wildlife, recreational purposes, and ethical values.
    1.  

Leopold, Aldo. “”Wilderness”” The Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There. 1949. 200-13. Web.

In this chapter, Leopold discusses the importance of wilderness for purposes including recreation, science, and wildlife. Leopold argues that the wilderness should be protected, and gives specific examples and reasons why we need to protect and restore the wild. A main point he makes is how no living man will ever see some of the natural beauties that once were present in our country, but through years of degradation it is all gone. This shows the importance of ethical values and how we should preserve the wild before it is all gone.

Noss, Reed F. “Soul of the Wilderness.” International Journal of Wilderness 2 (1996): 3-8. Web.

Noss is very powerful in this article stating his goals of protecting and restoring native biodiversity and ecological integrity to our planet. He really focuses on saving large areas to preserve biodiversity and for ethical reasons as humans. The main focus is science, specifically biology and protecting biodiversity. Although, Noss states that preserving the wild will also allow us to go humbly and grown spiritually and mentally with nature.

Bowker, J. M., and H. Cordell. “An Organizing Framework for Wilderness Values.” The Multiple Values of Wilderness. By John Bergstrom. Venture, 2005. 48-55. Web.

This chapter organizes all the values of wilderness and why we should protect it. The article discusses wilderness attributes, functions, services, and values. It focuses on social, economic, ethical, and ecological values. It gives examples of why certain things in the wild are of value to us by discussing their function. The article does not make claims as to if we should protect or conserve the wild, but states the importance of various things in the wild.

Wilson, Edward O. Biodiversity. Washington, D.C.: National Academy, 1988. Web.

This article mainly focuses on biodiversity and its importance. It discusses cause and effects of diversity, and the risks that biodiversity faces. This article touches on how we can help protect biodiversity and if there are anything humans can do to restore it. Finally, this article closes by explaining present problems with biodiversity, and future problems biodiversity faces.

Roberts, Lynda. The Wilderness Debate: A Conflict between Values. 1-26. Web.

This article discusses the debate between anthropocentric views of wilderness, and environmentalist views. It goes into detail explaining how thinking of the wild in terms of how humans can benefit is short-term thinking, and that we need to think of the environment and how we can preserve it in the long run. This will allow the land to remain rather than being degraded over the years.  Another main point of this article is why preserving the wild is important, including details of reasons why we should preserve wilderness.