Orion in the Wilderness with the Omega Institute

March 8-14, 2020  Portal, AZ

Hone your writing skills with an exceptional faculty in a setting that can inspire nature writers to do their best work. The Orion in the Wilderness Environmental Writers Workshop was so successful last year that it will be offered again in the same remarkable wild part of southern Arizona. 

The American Museum of Natural History Southwestern Research Station sits in remote Cave Creek Canyon, surrounded by designated wilderness in the Chiricahua Mountains. This unspoiled area is known for its abundant bird life and network of hiking trails.

The immersive program provides a unique opportunity to connect with Orion Magazine writers and editors. In addition to breakout sessions in creative nonfiction, fiction, or poetry, there will be faculty readings and lectures, student readings, presentations on local ecology and lore, and optional birding and hikes. Each participant receives individualized attention, feedback, and a focused meeting with a faculty member to discuss manuscripts or projects.

Orion’s partner for this extraordinary experience is the Omega Center for Sustainable Living, which offers workshops and conferences on environmental issues, regenerative thinking and design and is a key part of the Omega Institute, based in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Application Process: This program, by application only, requires submitting writing samples. To learn more see orionmagazine.org/workshops.

Applicants who are accepted into the workshop will be given information on how to contact the Omega Institute to register for housing at the Arizona site.

Workshop prices range from $1,100 to $1,900 per person and include the full program as well as meals and accommodations for the week. For those who require it, bus transportation can be arranged from the Tucson Airport to the workshop site for an extra fee.

If you have any questions about the application process after viewing the application page, send an email to questions@orionmagazine.org.

Questions about the workshop site? Please call 877.944.2002 (toll free in the United States).
 


 

Tentative Schedule

SUNDAY, MARCH 8
4:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Check In (Check in by 4:00 p.m. if you plan to be at dinner.)
6:00 p.m. • Coach bus leaves Tucson International Airport
• Dinner for early arrivals
7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Opening Event for early arrivals
9:00 p.m. Late arrival check-in
 
MONDAY, MARCH 9
6:30 a.m. Bird Walk with Chip Blake (Optional)
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
Noon Lunch
1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Free time
3:15 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Individual Conferences*
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Orientation to the Canyon
 
TUESDAY, MARCH 10
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
Noon Lunch
1:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Writer and naturalist Ken Lamberton speaks on the region, followed by hike with him
4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. Individual Conferences*
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Faculty Reading, Discussion of Wilderness
 
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11
6:30 a.m. Bird Walk with Chip Blake (Optional)
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
Noon Lunch
1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Forum on Editing—Chip Blake and others
3:15 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Individual Conferences*
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Readings by faculty
 
THURSDAY, MARCH 12
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
Noon Lunch
1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Open with hike option
3:15 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Individual Conferences*
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Readings by participants
 
FRIDAY, MARCH 13
6:30 a.m. Bird Walk with Chip Blake (Optional)
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m.–Noon Workshop
Noon Lunch
1:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m. The Business of Writing
3:15 p.m.–5:00 p.m. Individual Conferences*
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Participant readings and farewell
 
SATURDAY, MARCH 14
6:00 a.m. Coach departs for Tucson Airport
7:30 a.m. Breakfast for those remaining
10:00 a.m. Checkout

 

* To be scheduled with individual instructors.

The above schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the faculty.


 

Meet The Teachers

Sherwin BitsuiSherwin Bitsui, Diné of the Todí­ch’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), is an ecopoet whose poems have appeared in American Poet, The Iowa Review, LIT, and elsewhere. Recipient of a Whiting Award, an American Book Award, and the PEN Book Award, he has published three collections--Dissolve, Flood Song, and Shapeshift.

Gary FergusonIn addition to his 26 books on nature and science, Gary Ferguson has written for a variety of periodicals, from the Los Angeles Times to Vanity Fair. His lead essay for Orion—titled "A Deeper Boom"—was selected by the American Society of Journalists and Authors as the Best Essay of 2016.

Joe WilkinsJoe Wilkins grew up on the Big Dry of eastern Montana. His debut novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, speaks to the community, struggle, violence, and care Joe knew growing up in the rural West. His memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers, captures the lives of boys and men in that desolate country.

Joy WilliamsJoy Williams is the author of eleven books, including the novel State of Grace, a finalist for the 1974 National Book Award for Fiction, The Quick and the Dead, shortlisted for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the book of essays, Ill Nature: Rants and Reflections on Humanity and Other Animals, a finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. She has also written a book on The Florida Keys, now in its 10th edition.

 


 

Workshop Fees

The workshop tuition, meals and accommodations are included in the following fees. Participants must first apply to Orion to be accepted into the program. Once accepted, participants should call the Omega Institute to set up their preferred housing, 877-944-2002 (845.266.4444 International).

Dorm room/Single Occupancy/shared hall bath   $1,800 per person
Dorm room/Double Occupancy/shared hall bath   $1,600 per person
Dorm Room/Triple Occupancy/shared hall bath   $1,400 per person
Camping/Single Occupancy   $1,100 per person
Triplex/Single Occupancy/private bath   $1,900 per person