PRL Director

Dr. Ibes founded PRL in 2009, and has been directing the lab at William & Mary since 2013. An urban human-environment geographer, Ibes's work focuses on fostering the reciprocal human-nature relationship, with a focus on mental health promotion through nature engagement, or ecotherapy. Her use-inspired, interdisciplinary research integrates theory and practice from ecotherapy, ecopsychology, public health, human-environment geography, and urban park planning and design. Ibes is a faculty member in Interdisciplinary Studies, teaching for William & Mary's Environmental Science and Policy program and Center for Geospatial Analysis.


  • Urban ecotherapy, nature therapy

  • Health and wellness promotion on college campuses and public parks via ecotherapy / nature connection

  • Urban park planning and design to enhance ecosystem services and public health

  • Methods: spatial analysis (ArcPro); interview, observational, and survey methods; documentary film production.

Courses Taught

ENSP 249: The Science & Experience of Ecotherapy

ENSP 440 / COLL 400: Science Communication (senior capstone)

GIS 201: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

ENSP 249: Campus Park Rx

Selected Publications

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

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

Dorothy Ibes, Don Rakow, & Chris Kim. (expected 2021) Barriers to nature connection among youth of color.

Ibes, D & 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

2017 - 20 USDA Hatch multi-state grant, Engaging Youth of Color in Nature Connections: Barriers, Facilitators, and Best Practices. A part of the umbrella grant titled, ‘NE1962: Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Other Green Environments: Understanding Human and Community Benefits and Mechanisms.’ Co-PI with Dr. Don Rakow, Cornell University.