English Language and Literature ETDs


Daniel Cryer

Publication Date



This dissertation explores the changing, multifaceted ethos of Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), one of the twentieth centurys most versatile environmental communicators. Drawing on scholarship in environmental rhetoric, rhetorical genre theory, citizenship theory and ecofeminism, I argue that throughout his career Leopold offered evolving rhetorical versions of himself as ideals of ecological behavior to be emulated by his readers. The chapters analyze Leopold's ethos as it was constructed in his early-career writings in the New Mexico Game Protective Association Pine Cone, a wildlife protection broadsheet; in the Report on a Game Survey of the North Central States, his first book; in reports and articles he wrote during the Wisconsin deer irruption debates of the early 1940s; in the essays of A Sand County Almanac, his best known work; and in its current manifestation on the property of the Aldo Leopold Foundation in central Wisconsin. By focusing on these key rhetorical moments in Leopold's ethos formation, this study reveals the sources from which his ethos arose, including nineteenth and early-twentieth century conservation movements and scientific literature, and the specific environmental crises to which he responded. In revealing, on one hand, the rhetorical strategies that excluded or alienated key stakeholders in the issues on which he wrote, and, on the other, his remarkable ability to connect with a range of audiences in a variety of genres, this study shows that Leopold can serve as both a model and cautionary tale for environmental communication in our own time.'

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Level of Degree


Department Name


First Advisor

Hall Kells, Michelle

First Committee Member (Chair)

Paine, Charles

Second Committee Member

Harrison, Gary

Third Committee Member

Milne, Bruce

Project Sponsors

Bilinski Foundation




rhetoric, composition, ethos, Aldo Leopold, environmental communication

Document Type