||Recent work in environmental psychology and environmental education emphasizes environmental
identity as important in predicting a broad array of environmental behaviors. However,
there are gaps in our understanding of how other identities interact with environmental
identity. We addressed this gap by conducting semi-structured interviews with 30 undergraduate
students from diverse backgrounds at Duke University. Our interviews supported the
hypothesis that gender and race/ethnicity affect the development of Duke undergraduate
students’ environmental identity by differentially influencing (1) significant life
experiences (SLE) with nature and (2) social influences on environmental identity.
In particular, we found that ethnicity shaped travel experiences to different environments,
gender and race impacted relationships with mentors, gender stereotypes limited potential
SLE in nature, and female-identification resulted in physical constraints to environmental
activity. Other themes that emerged included the effects of socio-economic status
on SLE in nature and nature as a source of empowerment for gender and racial minorities.
Our work suggests more research is needed on the interplay among different identities
and environmental identity, and that more work is needed to make the environmental
field inclusive for all.