Ecological Identity Essay Assignment
(Be sure to read the entire assignment before you begin; click on the title of this assignment to submit your essay using the Text Submission–> Write Submission
The purpose of this exercise is for you to think about your own sense of ecological identity. An ecological identity is the sum of the various ways you see yourself in
relationship to the Earth—how it is reflected in your personality, actions, values, and behavior. It refers to your connection to the Earth, your understanding of
ecosystems, and your past experiences of nature, which collectively contribute to your sense of self (Thomashow, 1995). Ecological identity is a process of
constructing meaning and an ecological worldview that can promote personal change.
To get yourself started on this assignment, take some time to do the following:
1. Write down places from your own experiences that fit into the following categories:
a. a special place in your childhood memories, ( Beach) My answer connect me with my brother when we go swimming.
b. a place that you perceive as damaged, and ( City) My answer connect me with my father when we go for shopping.
c. a place that you think of as wild ( Forest) My answer connect me with my cousins when we go haunting.
2. For each of these three places, write down people who you connect with these places
3. For each of these three places, write down three to five words that you associate with that place
Next, choose one (or more) of those places that you feel most contributes to your knowledge and sense of the environment, and how that shapes your ecological identity
– that is, your relationship to the Earth. Write a one page essay about your chosen place and its relationship to your ecological identity. End you essay with at
least one paragraph that demonstrates how your time in college has helped, or will help, shape your ecological identity and your futureby citing actions, activities,
events, and direct experiences involving this course and others. Use some of the words you associate with your place in your essay.
Submit your essay by copying and pasting it directly from your word program into the text window that will open when you open this assignment. Your essay must be at
least one page (~ 500 words), but no more than two pages (~1000 words) in length. DO NOT ATTACH A FILE!
Here’s the RUBRIC I’ll be using to assess your essay. The way I use it is to circle the cell that best describes what you have written, and then I assign the ‘grade’
based on what column is most populated by circled cells. RUBRICs should also be useful for YOU because they let you know what I am looking for in the essay, and what
characteristics I value most. I will not give you full credit for the class until you have achieved at least a “basics there” – but shoot for the Well Done!
Appears rushed, but basics there Good Thoughtful, insightful, well written. Well done!
Many mistakes Grammar/spell. mistakes Grammar/spell. mistakes Minor grammar/spell. mistakes None
Shorter or much longer than requested. Shorter or much longer than requested. 500 – 1000 words, submitted through the Blackboard interface 500 – 1000 words,
submitted through the Blackboard interface 500 – 1000 words, submitted through the Blackboard interface
Place not clearly identified Place identified, but only briefly. Identifies place(s) that most contributes to knowledge and sense of the environment
Identifies and describes place(s) that most contributes to knowledge and sense of the environment. Clearly and honestly identifies and describes place(s) that
most contributes to knowledge and sense of the environment.
Relationship not stated. Relationship between place and ecological identity implied. Explains relationship between place and your ecological identity
weakly. Clearly explains relationship between place and your ecological identity. Clearly and convincingly explains relationship between place and your
Last paragraph does not address role of college. Last paragraph implies role of college, or it is addressed elsewhere in the essay. Last paragraph explains
how college has, or will, shape ecological identity/future identity, but main point not obvious and no actions, etc, cited to support argument. Last paragraph
explaining how college has, or will, shape ecological identity/future identity is clearly written with obvious main point. Last paragraph explains how college
has, or will, shape ecological identity/future identity by citing actions, activities, events, and direct experiences involving this course and others.
References and resources:
Thomashow, M. 1995. Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Wagner, Travis and Robert Sanford. 2010. Environmental Science: Active Learning Laboratories and Applied Problem Sets, 2nd Ed. John Wiley & Sons, NY. pg 207
Wingfield, Andrew. 2008. Nature and the Personal Essay: Composing an Ecological Identity. Teachers & Writers 44:1. (Available
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