Loren Eiseley - Essayist, Philosopher, Literary Naturalist

The Message of Loren Eiseley:

Using Eiseley Passages in the Classroom
Eiseley Curriculum Materials

Produced by the Loren Eiseley Society
by Michael W. Antrim


Listed on the Eiseley Society web site is a collection of passages taken from several books by Loren Eiseley. Below are several examples of how the classroom teacher may use these passages. The teacher is encouraged to find and use additional passages from these and other writings by Loren Eiseley (including his poetry).


1. Open Discussion. The instructor leads a general, open discussion on a passage.

2. Essay--What may have been the context of the passage? Students write an essay describing what they believe may have been the context in which the passage occurred. After the essay, a comparison of the actual context to the student's essay may serve as a follow-up activity.

3. Silent reading. The instructor gives students silent reading time to read and contemplate one or more of the passages.

4. Art poster. The student draws or paints a picture that illustrates a passage. These could be done on regular size paper or made into posters for display.

5. Essay--General. The teacher assigns a general essay, in which the student expands on the meaning of a passage.

6. Writing--metaphors. Eiseley often uses metaphors to describe events, animals, man. The students look for metaphors in the passages and explain what the metaphors represent.

7. Postings. The teacher could print out passages and post in the classroom.

8. Bookmarks, book covers. The students make bookmarks and/or book covers using Eiseley passages. They may add artwork.

9. Multimedia. The students use HyperStudio or HyperCard to create a multimedia stack using Eiseley materials. Passages could be organized and linked by category, by book, etc. Art work and sound could be included.

10. Interpretive nature hikes. Eiseley passages could be read on interpretive nature hikes.

11. Essay--describe the scene. Students write a narrative description of a scene noted in a passage.

12. Biology content. The teacher leads a discussion, or makes an assignment relating to the biology of a given passage. (Example: the concept of co-evolution of the insects with the flowering plants in the passage from How Flowers Changed the World).

Note: This lesson has been developed as an activity of the Loren Eiseley Society (Education Outreach Committee). Additional classroom materials are being developed, including lessons that focus on creative writing activities. A $500 Loren Eiseley Memorial Scholarship (essay contest) is available for high school seniors through the Nebraska Academy of Sciences.

Any comments, suggestions, and support will be appreciated. Education Committee contacts:

Dr. Mary Liz Jameson
Member, Educational Outreach Committee

Deborah Derrick, University of Nebraska
Member, Educational Outreach Committee


Event: Eiseley's 110th Birthday Celebration
Date/Time: Sunday, Sept. 17, 1:30-2:30pm
Location: Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room, Bennett Martin Public Library, 136 S. 14th St, Lincoln, NE
About: Free and open to all
Book Available:
Loren Eiseley Reader advertisement The Loren Eiseley Reader is now available for purchase from the Nebraska Book Source.
Price: $26.95
S&H: Shipping charges based on weight
Tax: NE residents pay 7% sales tax
"The door to the past is a strange door. It swings open and things pass through it, but they pass in one direction only. No man can return across that threshold, though he can look down still and see the green light waver in the water weeds."

- Loren Eiseley, "The Snout," The Immense Journey
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