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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Writing Workshop Will Combine Lyrics and Landscapes


A northern Illinois nature center is fusing the celebration of Earth Day and National Poetry Month.  

“To Create is in Our Nature” is the latest workshop being offered by Rockford’s Severson Dells Nature Center.  

Ann Wasser is the director of the center. She said the organization will focus on writing poetry inspired by nature, with the help of local poet Christopher D. Sims.  

“And it was something I think that was a little unique to bring to the audience here at Severson,” she said. “And hopefully encourage other people that maybe are followers of Christopher and his work to think about incorporating nature into some of their own creativity.” 

This workshop isn’t just for wordsmiths.

“So, for those that are like, 'I'm not a writer, I'm not creative' -- [it] doesn't matter,” Wasser explained. “This is just an opportunity to come kind of play with that a little bit. You don't have to share your work. This is purely for your own education and experience.” 

Participants can hike and write as the weather permits.   

The workshop takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 17 at the Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road. Admission is $25 for members and $30 for non-members.  

Christopher D. Sims is a contributor to WNIJ’s Poetically Yours Segment.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.