Welcome! I'm Sarah. This is my Eco-Narratives Site.
I'm Sarah - a senior biology major at Wright State University. This website is part of my Eco-Narratives class. Here I will be uploading assignments as I complete them. Some of them will be independent projects, while some will be a small part of a larger group collaboration. Below is an explanation of the class, as well as information about the assignments, and you can click through the different pages to read each one.
What is an Eco-Narratives Class About?
Eco-Narratives is an interdisciplinary course that combines biology majors with english majors. It encourages collaboration and discussion across different disciplines, and it forces students to move outside of their comfort zone. Classes like this are important because real world problems require work from every area of study. For example, the current climate crisis is an extreme issue that needs to be tackled by everyone - not just scientists. Biology and english majors will learn from each other to expand their skills and view of the world. The button below will take you to the website for the course.
I'm double majoring in biology and public health, with hopes to one day become a physician. This means I'm usually more interested in biology topics that relate to humans, such as anatomy and physiology. However, I love learning about animals as well, and there are many intersections between animals and humans in healthcare that are important. For example, zoonotic diseases are animal diseases that can be passed to humans, and some organisms have parasitic relationships with humans, like ticks. Studying these organisms can give us insight into how to treat diseases. I am also interested in english - reading is a fun past time for me and recently I have been reading more books rooted in biology. As someone who loves to read, I am excited about the opportunity to write my own eco-centered stories.
What are my goals for this website?
I hope to become better at working with people in a different discipline, following the intention of the class. Through this website, I hope to expand my writing skills and practice seeing from another organism's point of view. I am accustomed to writing about biology in the form of lab reports and scientific data, but this class is about knowing how to tell a story, and I hope to become better at that. People are naturally interested in listening to a good story. If I can learn how to write an interesting tale to get people excited about science, it will make me a better biologist. My goal for this website is that anyone who stumbles upon it will be inspired to learn more about biology, go outside of their comfort zone, and think about telling their own stories.
The Different Pages
Eco-Postcards This page includes pictures and information about an organism that might be found in the Dayton area - where Wright State is located. I chose to research the viceroy, an interesting creature that spends part of its life as a caterpillar and part as a butterfly. Viceroys are beautiful animals, and unfortunately they are threatened in many areas due to habitat destruction.
Nonhuman Story On this page is a story from the perspective of the viceroy - the same animal from the eco-postcards. Here you can learn about the viceroy in a different way, by trying to view the world through its senses.
Place History Here you can read the story of a place through different times in history. I chose to research Ye Olde Mill in Utica, Ohio. Now a tourist attraction owned by Velvet Ice Cream, the land is rich with an interesting history. Read the whole thing to get a complete history, or read the sections in italics to get snapshots of the place at important points in time.
Encounter Narrative Here you can read two fictional pieces about a mysterious invasive biofilm, spreading out from Yellowstone and causing a disease in every organism it encounters. This is one part of a five-part project, and there are links to the other sections at the end of the news article.
Reflection: Did I Reach My Goals?
Did I reach my goals for this website? I believe I did. Though writing my own narratives was difficult at the beginning, I worked hard to draw from my experiences as a reader and a biologist to craft the kinds of stories I would enjoy reading. I got better at interweaving my sources into the narrative, allowing me to teach the readers about biology through these fictional accounts. By comparing the eco-postcards and the nonhuman story, I could easily see how important fictional writing can be when trying to get scientific information out into the public. The narrative was much more enjoyable to read. It was also more fun for me to write, and I hope anyone who reads it feels like they learned something. Creating the encounter narrative premise with my group was challenging at times, but by going outside of our comfort zones we were able to work together and teach one another. Overall, I feel as if I am a stronger writer and a better biologist.
Reflection: How Does My Website Relate to the Course?
Throughout the course, we discussed topics such as the anthropocene, mutations, extinctions and adaptations, bubble worlds and place histories, the climate crisis, nonhuman perspectives, and the human connection to nature. This is a long list, and this website cannot touch on all the topics. However, one can learn about bubble worlds and the nonhuman perspective by reading the nonhuman narrative. As the story follows the viceroy's first day as a butterfly, we learn to view the world through its senses and experience things as a butterfly would experience them. The place history then shows how the story of a place and all the ecological relations that occur there is different from following one person or organism. To get a sense of assemblages, or large-scale interactions between organisms, looking at a place is necessary. Finally, the encounter narrative focuses on mutations and adaptations. It also works to show how humans react to natural events and disturbances, while also emphasizing the nonhuman perspective. I believe anyone who reads this website will gain at least a small insight into the topics discussed during the class, and they will (hopefully) be inspired to learn more.