People are amazed to discover that the English Department at Iowa State University finds itself overseeing and managing a 76-acre wilderness tract in rural Boone County.
When Everett Casey presented his gift of real estate to the university in 2008, he specifically arranged for its home to be English. He envisioned the land as a nature reserve for use in our Creative Writing & Environment program.
The Everett Casey Nature Reserve is a rolling wooded timberland 25 miles west of the university, a place for graduate students to engage in nature-based educational activities. Some of them take their First-Year composition classes on fieldtrips there and create assignments that incorporate the land. Some go there to find a quiet spot for observing nature, doing some writing or gazing up at the stars under dark skies.
We keep beehives, conduct mushroom inoculations, go birding, take hikes, maintain the trails, stoke bonfires and throughout the winter snowshoe up and down the bluffs.