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Nature Poetry & Prose
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When: Thursday, August 4, 2016
6:30 PM
Where: 3190 W Rockton Rd
Rockton, Illinois  61072
United States
Contact: 815/964-6666

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Enjoy a lovely and relaxing summer evening under the big tent overlooking the prairie wildflowers while listening to writers read their nature themed poetry and prose. Complimentary refreshments including iced tea, lemonade, wine, beer and light snacks will be served. Nationally recognized and award winning poet and writer, Christine Swanberg will lead the line up of featured writers. She will also be our MC for the evening. Additional featured writers/readers will be Sandra Fenton, Wilda Morris, Ed Cope, Chelsea Peterson, and Lani Richardson. Admission is free, and registration is requested by Wednesday, August 3, 2016. Call 815/964-6666 or Donations will be accepted to benefit the ongoing restoration and management of Nygren Wetland Preserve.

More about the writers:

Christine Swanberg, former Pushcart Press nominee and winner of the Rockford Mayor’s Arts “Lawrence E. Gloyd” Award for Community Impact, has published several books: TONIGHT ON THIS LATE ROAD (Erie St., 1984), INVISIBLE STRING (Erie St., 1990), BREAD UPON THE WATERS (UW:Whitewater, 1990), SLOW MIRACLE (Lake Shore, 1992), THE TENDERNESS OF MEMORY (Plainview Press, 1995), THE RED LACQUER ROOM (Chiron Press, 2001) and WHO WALKS AMONG THE TREES WITH CHARITY(Wind Publications, KY, 2005). Her work appears in women’s anthologies such as I AM BECOMING THE WOMAN I’VE WANTED, PRIDE AND JOY, and STILL GOING STRONG ; and journals such as THE BELOIT POETRY JOURNAL, SPOON RIVER, CREATIVE WOMAN, EARTH’S DAUGHTERS, THE LOUISVILLE REVIEW, and WISCONSIN REVIEW.

Among her awards are the YWCA Leader Luncheon Award for the Arts, and the Womanspirit Award from Womanspace Center. Swanberg founded the Rock River Poetry Contest and has judged many contests. Christine is a writing teacher and mentor for museums, churches, arts councils, schools, conferences, and women’s organizations, and has given workshops at The Clearing. Sandra Fenton has a history degree from Rockford University, where she was editor of the college's literary journal, THE FEAST. A gifted singer and sometimes leader for Mendelssohn Chorale, Fenton is an active stay at home mom. Her unique poetry is starting to gather recognition nationally in journals such as THE AVOCET, a nature journal based in Arizona; as well as AFTER HOURS, a well-respected Chicago publication. Sandra is not afraid of taking creative leaps in her poetry, which makes her voice strong and unique, not to mention a quirky and vivid sense of humor. She lives in Rockton with her family and participates in the Monday Writers Group led by Christine Swanberg. Two-time Pushcart nominee, Wilda Morris, of Chicago has published over 400 poems (in journals, anthologies, newspapers, and websites). She has won awards for free and formal verse and haiku. Wilda is the Workshop Chair and past president of Poets & Patrons of Chicago and current secretary and past president of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Her book, SZECHWAN SHRIMP AND FORTUNE COOKIES: POEMS FROM A CHINESE RESTAURANT, was published by RWG Press.

She is available to lead poetry workshops for all ages. She has provided workshops at the Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin, in bookstores, schools and public libraries. In June 2015, she led a workshop at the Printers' Row Lit Fest in Chicago. In April 2016 she presented readings of her poetry at Rockford Public Library in celebration of National Poetry Month. Ed Cope has worked for the past two years as the Restoration Ecologist for Natural Land Institute. He is a graduate of Hononegah High School in Roscoe, Illinois, and has B.S. degrees in Land Rehabilitation and Natural Resource & Rangeland Ecology, and Wildlife Habitat & Management. He wrote and created guides on ferns and freshwater mussels of Winnebago County for the public and staff of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. He considers himself an amateur enthusiast of ferns and orchids and also loves birding. He has written for NLI publications and blogs about his experiences surveying and monitoring bird migrations, rare plant discoveries, and general observations about the natural world. Chelsea Peterson just finished her first year of college and is a graduate of Hononegah High School in Roscoe, Illinois. She will attend Cornell University in the fall in pursuit of an environmental engineering degree. While at Hononegah High School Peterson started the Gaia Environmental Club and recruited members of the club to volunteer for monthly land stewardship service days at Silver Creek Woods Preserve (owned by Natural Land Institute).

She has been a volunteer for NLI for the past several years. Her first exposure to Nygren Wetland Preserve was when she visited it with her biology class as a freshman at Hononegah. She writes poetry and prose reflecting on her experiences in nature. Lani Richardson graduated from Beloit College with a major in Modern Languages & Literature and a minor in Asian Studies. She taught ESL at Rockford College when her two sons were little then helped her mom lead Charlotte’s Web for the Performing Arts until its “marriage” with Mendelssohn PAC. Richardson grew up in the country and has returned to live with her family where she now serves as support staff for her mom & dad, husband and sons, including: , a deconstruction services company; , an entrepreneurial retail network;, a live performance recording and archiving services company. Lani harvests fruit in the summer and wood in the winter. Most of her poems are found in the prairies and woods while walking with her mom’s dog, Maggie.