Writing Assignments from Peter Lourie:

Researching Your Watershed

Start a reading list: what articles and books should you read to know about your watershed? Start a list of river people. Ask around to find out who catches the most fish, the biggest fish. Ask who the local historians are. Ask whose families have lived the longest in those parts. Ask if there are any ghost stories associated with the watershed. Ask about buried treasure. Ask how things have changed in recent years. Ask what it was like in the old days. Ask about any strange events. Ask for other experts' names, and then ask those people for more names. Before you know it, you will have plenty of answers and fresh questions. And a huge growing list of river experts.

If you do this for a number of days, even in one tiny area of the river, you will soon become an expert yourself. You'd be surprised how quickly information zooms into your head and becomes a part of your soul. Also, curiosity has a life of its own. I didn't like the Hudson River before I canoed it. It was polluted and big and dangerous for small boats. But after studying it--even before my journey--after researching it (reading Hudson River books and talking to people up and down the watershed), I began to love it. Now it's one of my favorite rivers.

View more Assignments

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
Phone: 651-523-2480 Fax: 651-523-2987
© 2001 CGEE. All Rights Reserved.