HOME: The Story of Maine

"A Love for the Land": Where Are You? Who Are You?
Writing Assignment

"The way people have used the landscape has really defined Maine to the rest of the nation. It's been a crucial part of our own self-identity as Mainers, and it's been a very crucial part of the way people outside the state view Maine today."

--Richard Judd, Professor of History, University of Maine

Though we might take it for granted, we are all affected in some way by the environment that surrounds us. Think about the landscape that surrounds you. What is it like? How do you use it? How does it help make you who you are? In this assignment, you will have a chance to consider these questions. Follow the directions below.

Make a map of your neighborhood. First, choose what you will put on your map. You must include your home and your street. You might also want to include your school, your place of worship, a nearby park or place you like to play, or a good friend's house. Your map should include places that you consider to be a part of your neighborhood. It does not have to be exactly to scale, but all the places you include on your map should be carefully labeled.

Next, describe how you use the land around you. Are you a sailor, because you have access to the ocean? Do you like to fish on a nearby lake or a river? Maybe you play golf, because there is a golf course nearby, or maybe you ride your skateboard in the city square. In about half a page, describe something you normally do in your neighborhood or community. How does where you live affect who you are?

Now, in about half a page, describe how people who lived in your town 100 years ago might have used the same land. Use your imagination, but base your conclusions on what you saw in the video, A Love for the Land. Which streets or houses might not have been there? Would there have been more fields? Less forestland? Would children of your age have been doing the same thing you described in part 1? Would they have been using the land in different ways?

Bring your writing to class and be prepared to share your observations with your classmates.

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