Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Schneider, Stephen

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Williams, Bronwyn

Committee Member

Williams, Bronwyn

Committee Member

Anderson, David

Committee Member

Paliewicz, Nicholas

Committee Member

Cagle, Lauren

Author's Keywords

Environmental care; crisis; place-based rhetoric; environmental education; environmental art


Environmental communication has been situated as a crisis discipline; however, scholars have recently explored how to shift to include care within the discipline. To be sure, this does not mean the crisis element should be abandoned, but, instead coupled with care so that environmental messages are positive and forward looking. This project contributes to this shift by looking at how green spaces are constructed to deliver messages of environmental care. More specifically, I analyze how Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, located about 30 miles South of Louisville, KY, has been constructed and works to promote environmental care in a variety of ways. To do this, I immersed myself as a participatory observer and, over the course of three years, attended eight education classes and two research hikes, talked with Bernheim employees, and, overall, spent around 100 hours at the arboretum. My findings show how various ways of delivering environmental messages (e.g., education classes, hikes, art) work to promote specific aspects of environmental care such as reverence, nurturance, restoration, and inspiration. This project points to one way that environmental communication scholarship can further the discipline’s understanding of how to promote care.