Raptors Visit Creative Writing Classes at Virginia Tech

On September 29, 2005, Annie the Red-tailed Hawk, Otus the Eastern Screech Owl, and Education Director Nick Hales traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia to visit two Creative Writing classes at Virginia Tech. The visit was part of a larger project of former Education Director (and current VT Creative Writing Instructor) Katie Fallon.

For the week prior to the visit, Katie's creative writing students studied contemporary literature inspired by birds of prey, including the poetry of Mary Oliver and Robinson Jeffers, the fiction of Rick Bass, and creative nonfiction by Marie Winn and Katie herself. The students generated a list of abstractions usually associated with birds of prey (pride, determination, confidence, etc). During the visit, the students learned about the natural history of the birds but also discussed why writers (and others) often use words like pride to describe raptors. The students also talked about drawbacks and possible benefits of anthropomorphism in creative writing about birds of prey. The visit was sponsored by Virginia Tech's Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the VT Department of English.

In October, 2005, Katie will present a paper about using raptors to teach creative writing (and using creative writing to learn about raptors) at the international Raptor Research Foundation annual conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Click below for high-resolution photographs from the visit, all taken by photographer Richard Mallory Allnutt:

Annie meets students

Annie and Katie
Annie up close
Annie even closer
Otus meets students
Otus flaps her wings
Otus meets a student

Photo by Richard Mallory Allnutt

Last updated: 10.6.2005

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