Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Where the Wild Things Roam: A Semiotic Study of Wildlife in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Public Deposited

  • This thesis researches the significance of wildlife in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, which used to be an industrial site beginning in World War II. This study analyzes wildlife using a semiotic approach and various methods. These methods include ten interviews, visits to the Arsenal, interpretation of archive materials from the University of Colorado Boulder’s library, and analysis of previous scholarly work carried in landscapes that used to have a military presence. Based on the collected archival materials, I argue in Chapter Three that certain animals act as semiotic signs, such as the ducks and the bald eagle. After providing a historical overview of the Arsenal, in Chapter Four I analyze the current day conditions of the site by concentrating in the interactions between visitors and wildlife, in order to determine the type of relationships that are being emphasized. Finally, I apply the notion of hyperreality to support the idea that the Arsenal has become a constructed site where humans can experience an idealized version of wildlife that is framed by educational tours and experiences. This last notion of a fabricated space eventually determines how we interpret the site, while shaping the legacy of the Arsenal.

Date Awarded
  • 2020-03-16
Academic Affiliation
Committee Member
Granting Institution
Last Modified
  • 2020-05-11
Resource Type
Rights Statement


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