Parting Shots

National Parks Class:  Let met echo what Kelly said in her previous post.  It’s been a great course and a good semester, and I’ve enjoyed learning with you and from you all about landscape art, 19th-century American Imperialism, and more.  Further, it’s been a joy to see how each of you have applied these ideas, which in reality are about much more than just the national parks, to your own art and meditations on humans and nature.

Inness, The Lackawanna Valley, 1855

I’ll also echo what Kelly said about grades.  We sat down and tabulated these together, and for the most part, those who got below a B in the class did so because they did not write all of the blog posts.  Again, blogging, forming ideas, and having extended meditations on cultural artifacts and actual works of art was a big part of the course.  There were no exams, no researched essays, and no traditional projects like annotated bibliographies.  That’s why blogging comprised so much of the final grade.

I hope you all thought that the skill of blogging was a valuable one to learn. Each of you has developed the ability to participate in public discussions.  One shout out goes to Jack Vest, whose “Where the Wild Things Are” was the most popular post all semester. So far, it’s scored over 900 hits!

We also evaluated your final projects, and many of them were excellent.  Kelly and I have extensive notes on your presentations and projects, and if you are in fact curious about how we evaluated your final project, you are welcome to e mail us and we’ll be happy to share.

Best to everyone this holiday season, and I hope to see you all around the Carmichael Library!


Whew! You’re done! We’re done!

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A reindeer in honor of the upcoming holidays. As we have learned, people visit national parks in expectation of seeing grand wildlife, so I thought a reindeer would be appropriate!

Hey National Parks Gang!

I just wanted to post one more time and wrap things up.  I hope that you found this course interesting and that you’ve expanded your thinking about nature, culture, art, and national parks — all things that we tend to take for granted and not give a whole lot of deep, critical thought.  I hope that over the last few months we’ve changed that.

I also wanted to let you know that Andrew and I met this afternoon to evaluate, calculate, and post grades on Banner.  We looked at everyone individually and revisited all posts, discussed participation (which includes attendance, participation in discussion in and outside of class, especially via the blog), and the final projects.  There was a pattern in that those of you who did well posted all or most of the required blogs, had good participation, and had a strong final project.  Completing few blogs or posting blogs that were very short and did not meet the requirements negatively impacted grades.  Although we both don’t enjoy calculating and assigning grades (the classroom part of class is the best part of teaching) we did enjoy revisiting the class and we really did find your final projects interesting.  If you have any questions about your final grade please feel free to contact either of us.

I hope your Finals Week goes well and that you have a great break and holidays ahead!

– Kelly

A last minute thought..

I liked the discussions we had in class about the sublime. The sublime was kind of something I took for granted before I ever really thought about it. I feel like I look at things, especially in nature, differently now. Since the sublime was so intriguing to me, I really enjoyed the presentation about the sublime and most wanted landscapes. I though it was interesting how everybody seemed to want something different, because what is beautiful and sublime to one person may not be for another. It just reminds us how diverse our society really is, especially in college where you have all kinds of people coming together from all different backgrounds. There is no way to please everyone, and no one size fits all ideal landscape. I know it is cliché but, I guess beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. 

The Pastoral Trope and Its Influence on Man-Made Spaces

For my final project I wrote an essay about the pastoral trope. I’ve always been interested in how common themes are spread and I liked how pretty much everything we discussed in class could be brought back to the pastoral. I researched the beginnings of the trope and how literary pastoral inspired landscape architects like Olmsted. Parts of my essay focuses on Glen A. Love’s writings in Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment, as well as the pastoral trope and Yosemite. I’ve made a slideshow to go along with it and I’ll be showing a video of people in a time lapse in Yosemite.




Final Project: Nature and Technology

I’ve always been a technology person. Whenever I visit my parents it’s a miracle if I don’t have to fix the computer, tv, camera, or somebody’s cell phone. But there’s also a part of me that is drawn to nature as well, so the main things that stuck with me from discussions in this class have to do with the relationships between nature and technology. As I was preparing for my painting and doing some research about it, I started to see two different sides of the issue emerge. Continue reading