Autumn Writing Walk

How can one capture the wonder of the outdoors on the written page? Engage your senses as we take a gentle walk around the preserve, recording focused observations, then creating short nature essays based on the trees, rocks, plants, lizards and mushrooms we come to know. Learn how to articulate your experiences of the natural world in writing!


Lakin Kahn, English Lecturer, Sonoma State University


Throughout history, literature has served to connect those who could not visit the natural world to its splendor. This writing has the ability to not only deepen the author’s relationship with the environment, but also to induce real change in the society that reads it. However, expressing our experiences with nature in such a captivating way is a challenge! Come discover new ways to engage with and write about your time in the outdoors. The rich diversity of plants, animals, fungus, and natural features at Osborn Preserve will provide you with inspiration and a jumping off point. Prepare to be surprised, have fun and end up with a good draft of something you can take home and develop further.

We’ll meet at the Education Center for a short introduction to nature essays, eco-poems and the role of sensory detail and observation in our writing practice. After a quick writing warm-up, we’ll take a gentle hike in which we stop and focus our senses on the world around us and engage in various writing exercises. Along the way, we’ll learn the names and habits of the species we encounter. We’ll return to the Education Center to continue with writing and discussion of what we observed. Information about how you can continue using your new skills will be provided before we wrap-up and say goodbye.


This event is geared toward adults of all ages and abilities, but minors age 15-17 are welcome to attend with a legal guardian. No previous experience or knowledge is required.

We will be hiking 0.5 mile with approximately 150 foot elevation gain, adaptable to participants’ abilities.

Fairfield Osborn Preserve is a 15-minute drive from Sonoma State's main campus, on Lichau Road in Penngrove. Parking is limited so please consider carpooling, and let us know if you plan to do this so we can open more registration spots accordingly. Driving directions will be provided in your registration confirmation and email.

Participants must sign a waiver upon arrival. Pets and smoking are not permitted.

A restroom, potable water and microwave are available on site.

This is a rain or shine event.

What to Bring

Please bring a backpack, sun and insect protection, rain gear if needed, a large water bottle, a hearty snack, and shoes to hike in. Please also bring a pen and notebook or paper with clipboard. Layered clothing and long pants are recommended; walking stick optional.

How to Sign Up

See registration link below. Each participant should register separately.

This event is free of charge.

About the Center

Sonoma State University’s Center for Environmental Inquiry empowers university students to work with community members on the environmental challenges of the North Bay. Our mission is to create an engaged and environmentally ready society, one where all people have the skills to find solutions to the challenges facing our earth. SSU Preserves are open to everyone engaged in education or research. Reservations are required.

Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Contact Name
Kerry Wininger
Date & Time Registration Link
Sunday, October, 13, 2019, 9:00am to 12:00pm