University of Vermont

  • environmental leaders

    "I wanted to learn about how forest ecosystems work and find a job where I could be outside and do something meaningful."— Eric Donnelly

    Eric DonnellyForestry major, research project at UVM forest, forestry technician protecting society's forest-based natural resources long-term. More about Eric

  • environmental leaders

    "The hands-on learning approach allowed me to integrate classroom learning with real life experience." — Alex Marcucci

    Alex MarcucciEnvironmental sciences major, watershed steward & restoration intern, valued service-learning courses, environmental scientist with consulting firm. More about Alex

  • environmental leaders

    "I knew I would be surrounded by individuals who shared many of the same passions."— Carson Casey

    Carson Casey Natural resources major, student government, research on clean energy for Vermont legislature, study abroad in Tanzania, job in renewable energy education. More about Carson

  • environmental leaders

    "Here is a cool new technology for me to jump into that combines geography, natural resources, and information technology!" — Maya Thomas

    Maya ThomasEnvironmental sciences major, GIS minor, research internships, GIS specialist with consulting firm. More about Maya

  • environmental leaders

    "I wanted to become more fluent in the natural history of the region and gain the skills needed to get my students learning outside." — Ryan Morra

    Ryan MorraMaster's degree in natural resources, project in Puerto Rico, professional development programs in sustainability for educators. More about Ryan

  • environmental leaders

    "I learned that science can provide you with the outdoor adventure of a lifetime." — Ryan Sleeper

    Ryan SleeperEnvironmental sciences major, graduate student in natural resources, field research in Alaska, job with environmental consulting company. More about Ryan

The Rubenstein School offers exciting, hands-on environmental programs that integrate natural sciences and social perspectives. Our small, close-knit community challenges students to discover knowledge, skills, and values to become innovative, environmentally-responsible leaders. More about our School | More about studying the environment at UVM

Academic Programs

 Undergraduate Majors
 Undergraduate Minors
  • Environmental Studies
  • Forestry
  • Geospatial Technologies
  • Parks, Recreation and Tourism
  • Wildlife Biology
 Graduate Degrees, Concentrations & Certificates



Tuesday June 2, 2015
12:05 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. + UVM Staff Council Meeting
UVM Staff Council Meeting
Thursday June 4, 2015
Human-Nature Relationship and Faerie Faith in the American Pagan Subculture

By Sarah Goodrich

Seminar: 10:00am, Jeffords Hall room 326
Defense: 11:00am Jeffords Hall room 326

Adrian Ivakhiv, PhD, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Catherine Connor, PhD, Professor, Romance Languages, Committee Chair
Thomas Hudspeth, PhD, Professor, RSENR

Within American religious culture, there is a small but significant and growing movement that overlaps and interacts with the environmental movement. It’s known by many names, including Contemporary Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Earth Religion, and Nature Religion. A few years of observation at Starwood Festival, the largest annual Pagan gathering in North America, elucidated that many individuals who identify as Pagan (or Wiccan, Druid, animist, or another of the identities that fall under the Pagan umbrella) include in their spiritual practice engagement with faeries or other nature spirits. My research employed qualitative methods including participant observation and interviews to examine the extent to which engagement with faeries and other nature spirits among Pagan festival attendees affects their relationships with nature and their behaviors in the natural world. The Pagan understanding of the Earth and all of its inhabitants and elements as animate or inspirited—as exemplified in the phenomenon of faerie faith—conflates the wellbeing of the Earth and wild nature with the psychological wellbeing of each individual human, making this worldview highly compatible with the emerging field of ecopsychology. Drawing on theories of enchantment, consciousness, multiple realities, imagination, and play, my interpretations of the stories of my informants contribute additional perspective to the contemporary practice of Paganism as a small but growing countercultural movement within the dominant Western culture, particularly as it informs the human-(in)-nature relationship.

Friday June 5, 2015
Discourse as social process in outdoor recreation and natural resource management: Arguing, constructing, and performing

By Monika M. Derrien

Seminar: 1PM, Aiken 103
Defense: 2PM, Aiken 103

Patricia A. Stokowski, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Cheryl E. Morse, Assistant Professor, Geography, Chair
Walter F. Kuentzel, Professor, RSENR
Robert E. Manning, Professor, RSENR

This dissertation examines the language-based, discursive processes through which meanings and experiences are socially constituted in outdoor recreation and natural resource environments. Language use and discourse are seen as interactive, constructive processes, approached through the theoretical perspectives of argumentation, social constructionism, and performance.

Three qualitative studies, based in data collected at Acadia National Park and forest-related sites throughout Vermont, comprise this dissertation. The first study uses rhetorical analysis to examine the ways National Park Service managers and community leaders argue for the meanings and management of dark night skies in and around Acadia. The second study examines how national park visitors socially construct meanings of night sky experiences, focusing on the structure, functions and styles of language. The third study evaluates forest-oriented environmental interpretation materials produced by Vermont-based agencies through an analysis of performance. Each study analyzes a different type of discourse: semi-formal “expert” language solicited in interviews with managers and leaders (study 1), semi-formal “naïve” language solicited in interviews with park visitors (study 2), and formal, written texts produced by agencies (study 3). Results show how language is used to forge agreement across competing ideals; construct meanings despite vague vocabularies and intangible values; and direct visitors to perform forests in ways that develop the meanings of place.

These studies contribute to the understanding of how individuals and organizations use language within discourse practices to create the reality in which socially- and culturally-important natural resource environments are managed and experienced, forming a body of work that informs theory and practice.

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