PERL Director

Dr. Dorothy Ibes has been faculty in William & Mary's Environment & Sustainability program since 2013. Ibes is also the founder and director of the Parks & Ecotherapy Research Lab (PERL), a certified ecotherapy guide, and co-director of the Campus Nature Rx Network (CNRx). 

Ibes earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Minnesota, M.S. in Environmental Geography from Texas State University, and Ph.D. in Urban Human-Environment Geography from Arizona State University.

As a human-environment geographer, Ibes's research, teaching, outreach, and ecotherapy work supports and enhances understanding of mutually-beneficial human-nature relationships, with a focus on promoting mental health and environmental stewardship through nature engagement. Her use-inspired, interdisciplinary teaching and research integrates theory and practice from the fields of nature and health, ecopsychology, ecotherapy, environmental psychology, human-environment geography, environmental justice, urban park planning and design, and related disciplines.

Ibes's work has been published in respected peer-reviewed journals including Environmental Psychology, Landscape & Urban Planning, Ecopsychology, American College Health, Cities & the Environment, and Frontiers in Psychology. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), US Dept of Agriculture (USDA), Center for Energy & the Environment, the Reveley Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellowship, Green Fees Grant program, and the Committee on Sustainability, and the REI Cooperative Action Fund. 

Ibes has designed innovative courses at W&M including the Science & Experience of Ecotherapy, Science Communication, and Mapping for Community Nature Rx. 

Ibes’s most research publications include: Campus Nature Rx: How investing in nature interventions benefits college students (Rakow & Ibes 2022), The role of campus greenspace and meditation on college students’ mood (Ibes & Forstell 2022), Barriers to nature engagement by youth of color (Ibes, Rakow, & Kim 2021), and Greenspace ecotherapy interventions: The stress-reduction potential of green micro-breaks integrating nature connection and mind-body skills (Ibes, Hirama, & Schuyler 2018). A forthcoming book chapter examines Best practices for engaging youth of color in parks, nature sites, and other greenspaces (Rakow, Ibes, & Kim, forthcoming).


2013      Ph.D.  Urban Human-Environment Geography, Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning, Arizona State University

2008      M.S.  Environmental Geography, Department of Geography, Texas State University

2003      B.A.  Journalism with concentration in documentary film,  School of Journalism & Mass Comm, U of Minnesota–Twin Cities

Selected Publications

Schuyler, Carolyn & Dorothy Ibes. (in progress) Ecotherapy for Everyone Field Guide.

Rakow, Don, Dorothy Ibes, & Chris Kim. (forthcoming 2023) Best practices for engaging youth of color in greenspace and nature sites. Forthcoming book chapter “The Transformative Power of Parks,” by members of the NE-1962 Multistate Research Group

Dorothy Ibes, Don Rakow, & Chris Kim. (2021) Barriers to nature engagement among youth of color. Children, Youth & the Environment. 31(3).

Ibes, Dorothy & C Forestell. 2020. The role of campus greenspace and meditation on college students’ mood. J   of American College Health. DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1726926

Ibes, Dorothy, Isabel Hirama, & Carolyn Schuyler (2018) Greenspace Ecotherapy Interventions: The Stress-Reduction Potential of Green Micro-Breaks Integrating Nature Connection and Mind-Body Skills. Ecopsychology 10 (3), 137-150.

Ibes, DC. JL Shawler, LR Hart-Moynihan, AL Schwartz, & LK Barbera. (2018). Senior-Friendly Parks? Actionable Steps for Enhancing Use, Satisfaction, and Access by Older Adults.Recreation, Parks, and Tourism in Public Health 2, 5-33

Ibes, Dorothy C. (2016) Integrating ecosystem services into urban planning and design. Cities and the Environment. Vol. 9: Iss. 1.

Ibes, Dorothy C. (2015) A multi-dimensional classification and equity analysis of an urban park system: A novel methodology and case study application. Landscape and Urban Planning. 137: 122-137. (selected as “Editor’s Choice” for Volume 137)

Ibes, Dorothy C. (2014) Sustainable urban park systems. Cities and the Environment (7)2: 1-30.

Larson, Kelli L., Dorothy C. Ibes, &Elizabeth A. Wentz. (2012) Water Resource Consumption at the Neighborhood-Level: Perceived Versus Actual Water Scarcity Risks in Phoenix, AZ. Book chapter in Geospatial Approaches to Urban Water Resources in the Springer Series: Geotechnologies and the Environment: Planning and Socioeconomic Applications.

Ibes, Dorothy, C. (2011) American environmentalism and the city: An ecosystem services perspective. Cities and the Environment 4(1): 1-22.

Turner, V. Kelly & Dorothy C. Ibes. (2011) The impact of homeowners associations on residential water demand in Phoenix, Arizona. Urban Geography 32(8): 1167-1188.

Larson, Kelli, Dorothy Ibes, & David White. (2011) Gendered perspectives on water scarcity risks: A tripartite approach. Environment and Behavior 43(3): 415-438.

Current Grant Projects

REI Cooperative Action Grant for Campus Nature Rx (CNRx)