Students explore poetry on campus Nature Trail

December 1, 2017

I had two goals when I created “Poetry Spots” on the SPC Seminole campus where I teach in the heart of Pinellas County. First I wanted students to discover the little oasis of natural Florida tucked away on campus and connect that environment to Florida poetry I teach in Composition. The campus Natural Habitat Trail is a boardwalk park meandering through campus upland scrub, including tall pines covering an under story of palmetto bushes surrounded by a lily pond. This landscape was threatened by urban sprawl surrounding the campus. When the college expanded and built a new campus in Seminole, it pledged to set aside several acres for a nature preserve.  Since many of our students are new to college and new to Florida, my second goal was to introduce them to a natural, non-beach Florida landscape. For their environmental sciences writing assignment, I take them to the Natural Habitat Trail on campus. They’re sure to see turtles, birds, and butterflies. If they’re lucky, they might see the otters playing in the ponds or a hawk sitting on a tree branch. A few hundred yards away, a four-lane highway rumbles with traffic. I hope by taking them on a campus field trip to this micro ecosystem, it makes it easier for students to understand this swampy Florida environment and why we should protect it. I created stickers printed with QR codes that link to a poetry webpage and called the project Poetry Spots. The picture below shows three of my students discovering  poetry  and botanical information as they walked the natural habitat trail.

Poetry on the Trail

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