Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Phil Condon


land ethic, land aesthetic, children's literature, natural history illustration, illustration

Subject Categories

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


Yucca Dreaming is an illustrated children's book. The story was inspired by my own experience as a child spending time with my grandmother on our family's working cattle ranch in central Montana. My grandmother has a connection to her land that embodies what the great ecologist Aldo Leopold calls a land ethic. This view of the world means that individuals see themselves as part of a larger biotic community, sometimes called a biocentric worldview. I take this concept a step further with Yucca Dreaming to address the unique way in which a land ethic leads one to see the world. Beauty, in the context of a land ethic, is the deep sense of pleasure that arises from a landscape where the relationships between humans and the biotic community are healthy. In my book, I present the idea that a land aesthetic comes not from the superficial beauty of a landscape, but an intimate knowledge of geography and natural history. The result is a children’s book with pen and watercolor paintings done in the style of natural history illustration.

Honors College Research Project




© Copyright 2015 Mara K. Menahan