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Current Course Offerings

Below is a current list of workshops being offered by Molly Murfee. Check back often for updates on courses to be offered in the various seasons as the year progresses.

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Writing the Wastelands 

Sunday, May 28. 12 - 2 p.m.
$50

with the Mountain Words Literary Festival 

Our Wastelands are destroyed, dismembered, and disemboweled places. Here, all is not right. Carl Jung’s theories of the collective unconscious and archetypes combine with storytelling, poems and mythology, leading the way into a mystical world of sacred and animate nature. Connecting to the earth through meditations, actively listen to the wounded and forgotten places of the Wastelands. Learn to speak the land’s language, then enter into a conversation with it. What is the land trying to communicate? What does it need? Explore through generative freewriting what has historically, culturally and philosophically paved the way for the Wastelands, as well as what your relationship and responsibility is to them. How can you lend your voice to the Wastelands? What is your calling or purpose here? This inspirational workshop lends the tools to process and intentionally interact with the grave issues of climate change and environmental destruction with a sense of empowerment rather than despair. Any focused writer—from fiction to poetry to creative nonfiction and beyond—is welcome, as well as participants simply seeking ways to creatively interact with the grave issues of our times.

  

Logistics: Please meet in the lobby of the Center so we can carpool to our workshop location.

 

This is an outdoor workshop with a small amount of easy walking, and sitting on the ground. Wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring a small backpack with water, a warm layer, a rain jacket, a sun hat or visor, sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses and a portable camp chair if you have one. Also bring a journal and writing utensil (instead of a laptop, tablet, or cell phone). Drawing tools such as colored pencils are welcome.

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Come see me at the
Mountain Words Literary Festival!

Thursday, May 25 - Sunday, May 28

THURSDAY, MAY 25

5:30 – 7 p.m.              Crested Butte Magazine Summer Release Party + Reception

A fun happy hour celebration of the writers of the Crested Butte Magazine – of which I’m one! (Check out my article “In the Time of the Melting Side” in the Winter ’22-’23 edition). Free - just pop in!

 

FRIDAY, MAY 26

5 – 6 p.m.                    Festival Reception

Come happy hour with me with Montanya Rum cocktails and nibbles by Crested Butte Personal Chefs. Meet the other Writers-in-Residence – they’re awesome, by the way. Free – just pop in!

 

6 – 7:30 p.m.              Writers-in-Residence Readings

I’ll be reading an excerpt of what I wrote during the Residency, along with other Writers-in-Residence Alessandra Bautze, Claire Boyles, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher and Jenny Qi. Free – just pop in!

 

SATURDAY, MAY 27

5 – 7 p.m.                    Forest Woodward Gallery Opening & Readings

The Writers-in-Residence, plus local writers Marcie Telander, Leath Tonino and Cosmo Langsfeld, used images from Forest’s exhibition to inspire short creative written works, which were hand-bound into a beautiful booklet. Along with the others I’ll be reading my piece. Free – just pop in!

 

SUNDAY, MAY 28

12 – 2 p.m.                  Writing the Wastelands Workshop

Working with concepts of the collective unconscious and animate earth, settle in to the damaged lands of our modern times to reveal your relationship and responsibility to them. Open to writers, dabblers and the just plain curious! $50 or included in festival pass. Register HERE!
 

For more info on the Mountain Words Literary Festival visit: www.mtnwords.org

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Outdoor Citizenry: Engagement, Skills, Connection & LNT

Thursday, June 8 - Saturday, June 10

8 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day

Offered through Western Colorado University's Teacher Institute: A graduate level, accredited course designed for all levels and types of educators seeking their continuing education credits. 2 credits available. ENVS 510
 
Become an engaged, connected steward of nature and teach others to be the same! Through daily hiking excursions, acquire outdoor skills for safe and ethical backcountry travel, including Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Additionally nurture a relationship to place by learning natural history and plant and animal identification, and relaxing into connection to nature activities on the trail. Any participant looking to: connect to nature for self-rejuvenation; learn outdoor skills for personal fulfillment; or teach these same to students, find inspiration here. Outdoor skills include: learning the perfect equipment to bring in a daypack; what a first aid kit should contain; confidence in navigation and reading maps, and more. Additionally tucked inside this course is a Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop. Here, participants learn to reduce physical impacts on the landscape through: proper trail etiquette; choosing the best lunch sites; preserving flora and fauna; “toilet” practices; dealing with trash; preserving water quality, and more. Throughout the course, participants actively work with field guides to identify flora and fauna, as well as engage in meditation, journaling, and creative writing activities for connecting to nature. Each day includes hiking, journaling and meditation, practice teaching activities in the four focus areas (LNT, outdoor skills, natural history, and nature connection), and independent research. At the end of this field-based course participants receive a “Leave No Trace Outdoor Awareness Certificate,” as well as a treasure chest full of LNT, outdoor skills, and connecting to nature activities to subsequently share with students.

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Writing & Wildflowers

Sunday, July 9

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

With Western Colorado University's
Center for Learning & Innovation

This wildflower saunter stops to appreciate the flowers and views through creative writing, personal journaling and mindfulness exercises. Get the creative juices flowing with inspiring poetry readings and natural history information. Learn writing techniques for capturing the inherent metaphor of nature. Writers, dabblers and the just plain curious all welcome.

This is an all day outdoor saunter! Bring water, snacks, layers (include a warm layer and rain jacket), water, a sun hat or visor, sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, and be prepared to sit on the ground ( you can bring something to sit on such as a camp chair if you like). Also bring a journal and writing utensil. Drawing tools such as colored pencils are welcome. Wear comfortable hiking clothes and closed toed shoes (tennis shoes / low-top hikers are fine!)

 

Register at HERE , or by calling 970-943-2885, or emailing extendedstudies@western.edu

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Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

Come hike with me in the wildflowers July 7 - 16!

Wildflower hikes are one of my absolute most favorite things. I love the natural history, folklore, medicinal uses, and role in the ecosystem these bright blooms play. And you can learn all of these things too on a hike with me through the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival. I'm leading half days, full days, easier saunters, and more difficult hikes to mountain passes. Click on the links below to find out more on individual hikes. You'll be taken to the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival website where you can register. 
 
Splendor on Snodgrass: Friday, July 7. 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. 5 spots left!

Poverty Gulch & Daisy Pass: Saturday, July 8. 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. FULL (but there's a waitlist)

Rustler Gulch: Monday, July 10. 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. 1 spot left!

Wildflowers & Waterfalls of the Oh-Be-Joyful Valley: Tuesday, July 11. 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. FULL (but there's a waitlist)

Scarp Ridge: Friday, July 14. 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. 

Lily Lake Wildflowers: Saturday, July 15.  8:3o a.m. - 1 p.m. FULL (but there's a waitlist)

Trail 403 to Viewpoint: Sunday, July 16. 7:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. FULL (but there's a waitlist)

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A course offering with the
Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability at Western Colorado University 

Nature Writing Immersion

August 21 - September 29, 2023

3 credits, ENVS 397

Course Description

This expedition-based, experiential course combines wilderness immersion; close analysis of nature and environmental writers; and skillfully written personal essays weaving these experiences together. Through a series of multi-day backpacking and river expeditions, explore the definitions of wildness and wilderness, and our personal relationships with these endangered spaces. Using connection to place as a writing tool, experiment with the multi-disciplinary Nature Writing Portfolio for in-the-field freewriting incorporating your observations and learnings about the natural history and ecology of the land. Through campside readings and discussions of the nature writers, uncover their influences on how our culture defines and interacts with nature. When the field portion of the course concludes, we’ll gather together for a sidecountry writing workshop, and frontcountry peer review, editing and rewriting your backcountry freewrites. With the technical guidance of our writing mentors, we’ll translate these profound experiences into personal essays aimed to educate, inform, inspire, and activate readers towards an ethic of connection and stewardship toward our natural world.

 

About the Wilderness Expeditions

The two courses, Nature Writing Immersion and Mountains & Rivers are designed in an expedition style, synergistically working together through a variety of wilderness immersions. Taking learning outside the four walls of a traditional classroom to connect with the land, each component of the Wilderness Expeditions is mandatory. Field dates are offered now so arrangements can be made in your schedule to accommodate them. Additionally, because we will be in wilderness field environments for multiple days at a time, with no access to communications, it will not be possible for you to participate in other courses or have other obligations during this five-week session.

Contact Molly directly for more information at mmurfee@western.edu

For more information on the Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability of Western Colorado University click HERE.

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Private Guided Hikes

Hiking, peak climbs, backpacking, snowshoeing and more!

I guide with Colorado Backcountry, an awesome, independent guiding company here in Crested Butte owned by long-time locals Janae and Ben Pritchett. You can ask for me by name when you book hiking, peak climbing, backpacking, or snowshoeing trips. I'll cater the trip to fit your needs according to distance, strenuousness, and what you want to do be it make some miles or doddle about looking at wildflowers. In all of my trips I'll offer information on wildflowers, natural history, local history, and other information gained from my multiple decades living and guiding in the Gunnison Valley and beyond, to help make your hike more in depth and enjoyable. I know the area like the back of my hand, and I can share it with you!

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Mountain Savvy Backcountry Hike

Custom, educational LNT hikes
through Colorado Backcountry

Want to learn the skills, not just be guided through? Get mountain savvy by learning from a local and gather the necessary skills to hike independently with knowledge, confidence and respect! This full-day hike not only takes participants into a beautiful wilderness setting, but teaches backcountry skills and natural history along the way. Make friends with the wildflowers by learning their names and interesting natural history facts. Gain exposure to the perfect equipment to bring in a backpack; what a first aid kit should contain; and confidence in navigation and reading maps. Learn Mountain Manners by becoming proficient in Leave No Trace skills to reduce physical impacts on the landscape such as trail etiquette; choosing the best lunch and camp sites; making a low impact fire; preserving flora and fauna; “toilet” practices; dealing with trash; preserving water quality and more. Have an inspiring day hiking and learning in the backcountry, making future independent adventures even more enjoyable and respectful! 

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Writing Through the Changes

Seasonally based with activities for
Winter - Spring - Summer - Fall 

 

A Self-Directed Study Course!
Rolling Registration Coming Soon!

Seasonal pivots in our calendar are times of transitions, profound places to contemplate what is shifting in both our internal and external worlds. Writing through the Changes is a self-directed, writing-driven experience marking the changes of winter, spring, summer and fall. Contemplative exercises included in seasonally delivered Portfolio Packets include journaling and meditation prompts; connecting to nature exercises; and inspiring readings to incite calm, balance, grounding and a sense of belonging to self, community and place.

Portfolio Packets are delivered before each Winter and Summer Solstice and Spring and Summer Equinox. Materials are formatted in various downloadable modalities: video, audio and pdf document so you can complete them anytime, anywhere, and for however long you choose. Individual seasons: $60 each, multiple season discounts often available.
 
This course is made possible through the generosity of the Artistic Enrichment Grant of the Crested Butte Arts Festival. 

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