Prof. Willard’s research focuses on environmental communication. She examines the rhetoric of landscapes as they are both read by and created by humans. Most recently she has been exploring how the transformation of blighted urban areas into farms and community gardens become symbolic sites of empowerment and reconnection with community and the land. She also conducts research that assists in the development of public campaigns that encourage pro-environmental behavior such as natural landscaping and support for restoration practices. Additionally, she examines how the rhetoric of popular culture and environmental rhetoric intersect, informing and influencing cultural practice.