Final Project Writeup

Minnesota Outdoor Reflection is a project completed for ENGL 3177 Weblogs and Wikis as part of the course’s final capstone project.

About Minnesota Outdoor Reflection:

Minnesota Outdoor Reflection on Blog 218 is a blogging project that explores a wide variety of outdoor-related topics that are relevant and of interest to those interested in the outdoors, especially for those who live, or have ties with, the state of Minnesota. After a great deal of debate, I finally decided on this topic because of my passion for the outdoors and my interest in Minnesota’s storied outdoor culture. I hoped to learn more about this culture as I researched and wrote on my chosen topics. I also wanted to share what I learned in the writing process with my classmates, peers, and those interested in my blog. Reader engagement was a central theme of my project as well — I tried my best to write posts that would interest a wide variety of readers and encourage those readers to comment on, like, and link my blog posts to their own blogs.

As my blog progressed, my blog changed from a mostly news blog to a combination news/personal blog. This will be discussed later on in this report.

Contracted Work:

The basis of my project started with the use of a number of established outdoor-related print and web resources, including Minnesota Outdoor News, The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website, and other websites when necessary, looking for articles dealing with topics relating to the outdoors including hunting regulation changes, fisheries management issues, and other similar topics. I worked to find new, controversial, and pressing issues in these sources to present. I did my best to find articles with content that may be new to Minnesota’s outdoor enthusiasts and inform them of the ins and outs of the particular subject. When writing about older, more known articles, I tried to look at the issue critically and present a new side to the argument to keep the information fresh and interesting for my readers.

After picking out a variety of material from the previously mentioned sources, the work began to turn them into blog posts on Blog 218. My formula for each post was to summarize the article in its entirety while emphasizing the high points of the piece, reporting on the significance of the source’s argument or information, and finally, offering my own unique perspective on the topic by drawing upon my experiences.

I tried to post three times per week on outdoor topics, plus a weekly reflection on my progress during each week. I organized each post by its specific category (hunting, fishing, wildlife management, etc.) to make them easily searchable for my readers. I also utilized tags to allow potential readers to find my posts easily. In addition, pictures, videos, and other media were added to each post to make it most visually appealing and interesting to read.

Progress

The first three weeks of the project went relatively smoothly. I jumped right into posting about a variety of topics from wildlife management scares and successes to fishing regulation changes to Lyme disease prevention:

 

Finding topics to write about for these first three weeks proved to be a bit of a challenge. My goal was to report on interesting topics that I had at least some experience with with the goal of offering my own opinion on the subject. The fact that new outdoor policies and regulations are reported on every week made the search difficult at times. In addition, procrastination was also a limiting factor on my ultimate success starting out. I would spend a vast majority of the week looking for articles in Minnesota Outdoor News, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, and other sources which forced me to scramble to meet contracted deadlines.

After a suggestion by Professor Morgan to focus more on “field trips” instead of only summarizing and reporting, I began to write more about the various outdoor activities that I personally take part in on a weekly basis. I found these posts to be a turning point in the project. They were fun to write about a share with others and I got pretty good reception on them. I found that taking the time to document my own outdoor experiences and write them up into blog posts was a good writing exercise. In fact, some of my posts brought back good memories and experiences in my past, which was actually pretty therapeutic. I kept the format the same as per my contract (three posts per week + reflection, 500 words each). Below are the posts that I wrote in this second phase of my project.

Conclusion

All in all, I feel my project went smoothly. I really enjoyed writing on a topic that I truly care about and am passionate about. This made the time I spend searching for articles, researching that particular topic, and turning it into a blog post interesting. The fact that I had a personal interest in what I was writing about helped my own understanding of the issues facing Minnesota’s outdoor culture. For instance, I learned more about the Lake Mille Lacs tourism industry, the controversy behind wolf hunting, and the science behind the decline of the NW Minnesota’s moose population than I knew before tackling this project.

I am happy that I was given the suggestion to branch out and write about my own experiences in the outdoors. It truly made the project more enjoyable while still keeping the overall “Minnesota Outdoor Reflection” theme. Engagement with readers, one of the central goals of the project, fell a bit short of my expectations. A few classmates, and even a few random strangers who stumbled across the blog, commented on and “liked” my various posts over the course of semester which helped lift my spirits and kept me motivated to continue writing. Personally, I feel like engagement would likely rise as my experience with the art of blogging increases and I find my own unique niche in the blogging world.

Weblogs and Wikis has been a very valuable course, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn about a writing medium that I had very little experience with in the past. I have a better understanding of the world of blogging now as well — no longer is it just an online journal for those to vent their frustrations. I now realize that blogging is truly a form of self-expression that gives an author tons of freedom regarding what, when, and how they want to post.

Much of the history, concepts, and practices in terms of blogging will come in handy as I continue my career in the business world after graduation. Today’s business world is largely dependent on the ability to communicate with customers, and what better way to do that than engage them with blogs and other electronic media.

In short, I had fun sharing the information and my insights on topics that I care about, and especially reading my classmates’ blogs and wikis. Our class had such a wide variety of personalities and interests that I found it extremely rewarding to browse my peers’ projects.

Thank you all for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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New Year, New(ish) Me

This past weekend my girlfriend and I were sitting around watching TV when she received a notification from the Timehop app on her phone (for those unaware, Timehop is an app that reminds you daily about the embarrassing statuses and selfies you posted to your Facebook and Twitter accounts back in 2009).

Staring back at us from her Timehop was a picture of us together two years ago at a charity auction in which she spent $48 dollars for a date with me. While she was reminiscing about how much fun that event was, I couldn’t help but notice how thin I looked! I knew I had put on a few pounds since my sophomore year, but I didn’t realize how much of a difference 20 pounds could make.

So I’ve been making an effort to eat a bit healthier and limit the amount of junk food I eat. In the past, I’ve never really been one to pay any attention to what I eat – if it looks good, I eat it. It also doesn’t help that I know next to nothing about dieting. Continue reading “New Year, New(ish) Me”

Hot fishing on cold Red Lake

A group of five of my good friends and I have talked about starting an annual fishing tradition for a few years now. Until this year, busy schedules simply did not allow for it. This year, come hell or high water, it was decided that the inaugural Red Lake fishing trip was GOING to happen.

So, this past weekend five of us piled into a truck and pulled one of my good friend’s converted camper (obviously with most creative paint scheme in the area…) one hour north to Upper Red Lake to spend the weekend catching up and catching fish.

Prior to the weekend, it was decided that the six of us wouldn’t possibly fit into the single fish house, so rented an Ice Castle from Red Lake Ice Cabins (great group of guys to deal with).

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Fish Camp 2016

Despite the cold temperatures (-30 degrees), we stayed warm and caught plenty of fish over the course of the two days (for those interested, 5:30pm – 8:30pm was the hottest bite, and glow rattle spoons were the ticket all weekend). A trip was made to West Wind Resort for burgers and brews Saturday night, Borat and We’re the Millers was watched (and quoted endlessly), and memories shared among a group of friends who have been there for each other throughout their college days at Bemidji State.

 

One image that I don’t think will ever get old for me is looking off into the horizon on the frigid, clear nights on Red Lake and seeing the lights of hundreds, if not thousands, of fish houses sparkling in the distance. It is truly a mesmerizing sight, and for me, a great reminder of why I chose Bemidji State in the first place and why I hope to stay in the Bemidji area after graduation.

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Why yes, that is our friendly plastic snowman mascot. Name TBD.

We’re already making plans for next years’ trip to Red Lake, and I cannot wait to continue the annual tradition.

Until next time.

-ES

 

 

 

Reflections.

Just a quick post tonight.

I got back from an excellent weekend on Upper Red Lake fishing today with five of my good friends (which will be the subject of another post).

As I sit here trying to keep my eyes open over the drone of the TV, I can’t help but think about how lucky I am to have such great friends.

While I’ll remember the great fishing we had for quite some time, the memories made in the fish house this weekend will last a lifetime.

Expect pictures and a full write up of my Red Lake adventure tomorrow. For now, however, I challenge you to take some time to think about how much your life is positively impacted by your best friends.

Until tomorrow, friends.

-ES

First blog post. Much success. Wow.

So after getting set up in WordPress.com, picking a theme, updating my personal information, and publishing my first blog post, it seems everything is going well. There were no real major issues other than finding the widget menu, but a quick Google search fixed that issue. As of now, WordPress seems like a relatively straight forward tool. I look forward to learning more about the site and how to bring this blog to the next level both content and format wise, but for now, I think I’m happy with my current setup.

Obligatory. Yay!

 

I’m really excited about having a place to share my thoughts and engage with other students in the #en3177 class. Here’s to a great semester!

But before I sign off, I’d like to pose a question to my classmates who read this post: What led you to take this class? Was it required for your major/emphasis? Do you have a particular interest in the topic? I look forward to hearing your responses!

-ES

 

 

First post.

Hello everyone,

This is my first blog post on my first blog site, and I’m excited to embark on this new writing experience with the rest of the #en3177 class this spring!

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins by putting gas in your car (or something like that), so I guess I’ll jump right in with my first post by talking a bit about myself!

  • My name is Eric Sorenson and I’m currently a senior at Bemidji State University with every intention of walking across the stage with a diploma this coming May.
  • I’m on track to graduate with a business administration degree (marketing emphasis), and felt that taking a few classes in the writing disciplines would be a great way to end my college career.
  • I’m from a small town in southern Minnesota (population 500), and chose Bemidji based on its location (far enough away, but close enough at the same)
  • I really enjoy hunting, fishing, and just enjoying the outdoors whenever possible. This is another reason why I chose Bemidji State – seemingly endless forests and deep, productive lakes.

 

Well, I think that’s about all for now…stay tuned to read more about my interests, pursuits, likes and dislikes, and general ramblings about my favorite place – the northwoods.

 

-ES