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Vermont Family Forests
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Conserving The Health Of Our Local Forest Community


Hogback Community College                                            


In this writing workshop, taught by two of Vermont's outstanding writers and teachers, you'll work on developing personal essays relating your present-day attitudes and feelings toward the natural world to the personal experiences—perhaps dating back as far as early childhood—that may have laid the groundwork for those perspectives. The goal of this workshop will be to tell these personal stories in effective and accessible ways, in part by evoking the specific landscapes in which they took place.

Students will be expected to read and discuss examples of model writing in this field. You should feel comfortable about sharing your own writing with the workshop group and paying thoughtful attention to the responses of others. Class meetings will take place at Treleven Farm in New Haven, Vermont, and will at times involve outdoor activities there. Students will share writing projects on a class weblog or blog, and this will ultimately become an anthology of work that will be made available to others.

John Elder

About the Instructors 

John Elder taught English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and Bread Loaf School of English for 37 years. This will be his third course for Hogback Community College. John’s last three books combined discussions of literature and descriptions of the Vermont Landscape with memoir. He is now publishing a memoir about retirement and learning to play Irish traditional music on the wooden flute. It takes the form of a multimedia website rather than a conventional printed book.



Don Mitchell
Don Mitchell is a novelist, essayist, and sheep farmer. From 1986 to 2009 he taught a variety of workshops in Creative Writing at Middlebury College aswell as several courses inenvironmental literature. His most recent book—aptly described as an eco-memoir—is Flying Blind: One Man’s Adventures Battling Buckthorn, Making Peace with Authority, and Creating a Home for Endangered Bats.


Course Details

Location: Treleven Farm, 164 Mitchell Drive, Vergennes, VT


Tuesday, October 7, 2014 7:00-9:30 p.m.
Sunday, October 12, 2014 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 26, 2014 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 7:00-9:30 p.m
Sunday, November 2, 2014 1:30-4:00 p.m.

Student Enrollment: Minimum: 10, Maximum: 20
Fee: $150

Credit hours*: 0.8 (12.5 hours of instruction)

*While our courses offer the structure and content of college courses, we are not seeking accreditation for Hogback Community College, nor do we currently offer credits for transfer to other educational institutions. Many teachers have taken Hogback Community College courses as part of their Professional Development requirements.

How to Apply: Download a registration form here. On it you’ll find detailed information about the registration process, including fees, cancellation policies, directions to course meeting sites, etc.  Please complete the registration form and mail with payment to VERMONT FAMILY FORESTS to the address indicated on the form. We will hold your payment until we reach the minimum number of students required for offering the course. If we have already reached the course’s maximum student capacity by the time you submit your registration, we will place you on a waiting list.