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Breaking trail

The wilderness environment brings things out in ways that can’t be experienced in other places,” says Debbie Lee, associate professor of English at WSU Pullman. Those insights will be captured in writing by about 10 women led by Lee and English instructor Andrea Clark Mason on a backpacking trip over the Labor Day weekend.
Upon their return, Lee and Mason expect to organize either a reading or
online exhibit of the participants’ writings.  In the future, they hope to offer similar expeditions as WSU courses or seminars.
“Debbie and I have informally discussed continuing this for our students as weekend trips or potentially as a course,” Mason said. “We both think it would be fun to do this with student groups.”
The inaugural 18-mile loop hike through northeast Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness was organized by Caroline Pechuzal of the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute, headquartered in Moscow, Idaho.  
“Exciting things can happen when women are challenged physically, emotionally and intellectually in an expedition like this,” Lee said. “It’s empowering.”
Teaching personal and environmental writing in wilderness settings encourages student enthusiasm, as well as increased confidence and skill, Mason said.
“I see this as a natural extension of our program’s emphasi
s on writing about the West,” she said.

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