Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Environmental Writing

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies

Committee Chair

Mark Sundeen

Commitee Members

Mark Sundeen, Phil Condon, Keetje Kuipers


creative nonfiction, environmental writing, place, memoir, environmental studies


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Environmental Studies | Human Geography | Nature and Society Relations


The proposed thesis is a collection of place-based, long- and-short-form creative nonfiction essays. The places of interest are where the author spent different amounts of time in during her twenties, including Iceland, Miami and Seaside, Florida, Butte and Missoula, Montana, and a series of National Parks on the western side of the Continental Divide. This thesis is informed what cultural geographer Yi Fu Tuan coined as topophilia: the affective bond between people and place. “Place” and “sense of place,” while each having their own array of definitions in environmental scholarship, are considered interchangeable in the context of my work. A given place can shape one’s perspectives of their natural environment. On a larger scale, communal sense of place can inspire environmental action, as is the case with the success of Missoula’s Open Space program.

The author's time in the Environmental Studies program has taught her that in order to be a meaningful part of something—whether it be a place, community or ecosystem—you must be willing to invest time and energy into being rooted into one place, easy or difficult as it may be, in order to understand how it works. Knowing one’s place involves reveling and building up the good, uncovering and amending the bad, and being mindful and accepting of the neutral.



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