As a researcher, I have always been fascinated and wonderfully humbled by Nature. Almost 10 years ago, when I took up songwriting as a hobby, I quickly found Nature to be a rich source of inspiration, and I started meeting others who either talk about experiences in Nature as part of their songwriting process, or reflect this in their work. So you can imagine how excited I am to have the Songs 4 Nature project underway, and that people seem to be enjoying it.

Besides giving people a chance to meet other artists and create music in a beautiful prairie setting, this is an exciting project because it includes research that will deepen our understanding of the relationship between creative activities and our affinity for Nature. Once we’ve sifted through all the information we collect, the results will provide valuable insights for school teachers, other educators, and organizations that are responsible for parks and other protected areas.

The next phase of the project will be a retreat for experienced adult songwriters from September 22 to 24. This will be the third songwriting event we’ve held at the National Wildlife Area (NWA) at the north end of Last Mountain Lake, an inspiring place that has been protected as wildlife habitat since 1887. The NWA Headquarters, includes a fully-equipped meeting room, a kitchen, and several public washrooms. So, while we’re encouraging people to stay in tents, we’re not exactly roughing it! There will also be yoga, guided hikes, plenty of time for solo or group work, campfires, and a public song circle on Saturday evening that may be sponsored by Nokomis Brewery. For those who can’t or don’t want to tent, there are places to park an RV, without hookups. We can also set up cots in other buildings on site. We want people to connect with Nature – but we also want you to be comfortable and happy.

The fun will continue after the retreat as well. Participants will be invited to perform the songs they create at a public showcase at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in November. They will also have a chance to add recorded versions of them to the Nature Inspires exhibit at the RSM, which will be on display for a year and seen by at least 100,000 visitors.

 Register for the Songs 4 Nature Songwriting Retreat by September 15, 2017. To learn more about the Songs 4 Nature project listen to episode 81 and 82 of the Saskscapes podcast.