Environmental Writing

The Environmental Writing focus offers students the opportunity to develop their writing skills and interests in ways that promote and demonstrate environmental concerns, awareness, and sensitivities. The culminating project for the Writing focus can be a thesis, professional paper, or portfolio. The diversity of thesis project possibilities (see Thesis/Portfolio Summary tab at top of page) mirrors, on a Program scale, the great range in what is often called Nature Writing, Environmental Writing, or the Writing of Place in the wider culture.

Students are encouraged to conceive of their Writing focus thesis project as either a book in progress, a prototype for a book, a series of related non-fiction creative works with individual publication possibilities, and/or a thorough book proposal, including sample chapters or excerpts.  Environmental Writing thesis work should be original, compelling, and impassioned; grounded in knowledge of the tradition and field; informed and critical as to the issues it raises; and written to publication standards.


Offered in fall

Instructor: Mark Sundeen

Environmental Writing is a workshop class designed to help students hone their writing of environmental subjects and concerns for a general audience. The course inspires, challenges, and encourages students in their writing, and introduces them to a wide range of readings.  The workshop is a community of writers based in honesty, courtesy, commitment to craft, and shared enthusiasm for good writing and a more thoughtful world.

Offered in spring

Instructor: Mark Sundeen

In this seminar, we will consider works of environmental literature, both as creators and as critics. We will examine works of fiction, essay, memoir, literary journalism, science fiction, poetry, and film that interrogate the human relationship with nature, climate change, and racial justice. We will look both at the writer’s craft as well as over-arching thematic concerns. Students may choose to write analytical or creative papers.

Offered spring

Instructor: Varies

The Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer in the Environmental Studies Program brings an outstanding writer to teach a semester-long graduate writing course in Environmental Studies each spring semester.  See the list of our current and past visiting writers.

Environmental Writing Opportunities

Camas: The Nature of the West, Environmental Literary Magazine

Founded by Environmental Studies graduate students at the University of Montana in 1992, Camas is a biannual environmental literary magazine produced by students in the Environmental Studies program. Two editors are chosen each year to publish two issues of the magazine in an effort to encourage a dialogue on environmental and cultural issues in the West; celebrate the people who work, study, write, and live here; and provide an opportunity for students and emerging writers to publish their work alongside established environmental authors.

Wild Mercy Reading Series

This reading series features nature and environmental writing by environmental studies graduate students, Environmental Studies Visiting Writers, and alumni. The series runs every Thursday evening for two months in the spring and features two writers each evening. 

Prairie Songs

This community reading event held in downtown Missoula is coordinated by Camas editors and features prominent area writers, along with live music. Past readers include David James Duncan, Janisse Ray, Tami Haaland, Sheryl Noethe, Annick Smith, Phil Condon, Josh Slotnick, Bryce Andrews, Amy Ratto Parks, and Melissa Mylchreest.