Scout Island Nature Centre is offering a unique Nature Writing Adventure program for four days during spring break.
“Children ages seven to 14 are welcome to join us for a no-pressure exploration of writing about what we see, feel and discover while playing in nature,” says nature centre education co-ordinator Sue Hemphill.
The program will be taught by writer and author Anne Theresa White and nature educator Mary Forbes and run March 27 to March 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Forbes will combine nature walks and outdoor games with White’s writing activities to nurture children’s expressive potential. Participants will check out returning birds, follow tracks in the mud or snow, learn about animals living at the nature centre and help to feed the nature house residents.
White has been mentoring young writers in Williams Lake since 2009.
A consummate writer who keeps a daily journal as well as a dream journal White has written columns and stories for magazines and newspapers around Canada and the U.S.
White is currently in the final stages of editing her first novel for young readers.
“The goal is for the children to create their own stories using the characters from my book,” White says. “It will be a writing and exploring adventure. Hopefully the weather will be warm enough so that we can do some writing outside using notebooks.”
White’s book was inspired by her daily walks at Scout Island. It is titled The Willow Trail after one of her favourite trails at the nature centre.
The story idea came to her one snowy winter day as she was looking out over Williams Lake from near the duck blind.
“The words, ‘the fairies skate on Williams Lake,’ just came to me,” White says.
She envisioned fairies wearing skates with their little boots made of willow seed fluff and the blades made of pine needles.
She originally intended for the story to be a children’s picture book, but when she took a draft copy to the Surrey International Writers conference and consulted with a children’s book author, she was told that what she had should be a novel.
So for the past seven years she has been working on developing the novel off and on between family and work commitments.
“It just took off from there,” White says. “Many of the scenes were written while I was sitting at Scout Island. Some places are just so beautiful and magical that the words would just fly out of me there.”
The Willow Trail follows the adventures of Ethan and Molly as they become involved in the lives of the inhabitants of an island where three separate dimensions have come to reluctantly realize that they must learn to co-exist if their precious worlds are to survive.
The reader is invited to join the duo as they experiment with creating their own reality, while travelling between the worlds of faeries, mermaids, dolphins and dragons and one stubborn, but not unteachable, librarian.
There is an owl named Quimzie, a fox, a grumpy muskrat, a dwarf who truly doesn’t like to wear shoes, a crow who acts as a sentinel over the Willow Trail, a horrendously large and furry black spider, a fascinating mermaid, and a tiny little man who may be a wizard, White says.
One of White’s older writing students, Will Reierson, who is now 18, is helping with the final editing of the book and has created a five minute YouTube audio reading from the story.
Each day of the school spring break workshop will present different activities. Workshop participants can sign up for one or all four of the activity days offered at $25 per day.
To assure placement call Sue Hemphill at 250-398-8532 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.