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Rebecca  Johns

Rebecca Johns

Rebecca Johns
Associate Professor
St. Petersburg


Office: DAV 269
Phone: 727-873-4556



Rebecca Johns, Ph.D. is an associate professor of geography based on the St. Petersburg campus. She teaches courses in nature-society relations, environmental thought, animal geography, qualitative research methods and world regional geography. Dr. Johns works with students majoring in geography, environmental science and policy, interdisciplinary social science, and sustainability studies. Undergraduate students are important team members in Dr. Johns’ research, often presenting joint research at local conferences. She also supervises graduate students in Florida Studies and Environmental Science and Policy. Her master’s students have gone on to complete the Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina, the University of Washington, and USF Tampa. Dr. Johns held the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies endowed chair from 2016 to 2018.

Dr. Johns’ recent scholarly work focuses on rhetorical representations of human-nature relationships in environmental education programs and exhibits, including parks, museums, zoos and aquariums. Dr. Johns also works with the Initiative on Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (iCAR), for which she serves as Director of Community Education and Outreach. With Dr. Barnali Dixon, she has worked on several research projects related to building community resilience to climate change in vulnerable and marginalized neighborhoods of St. Petersburg, including a project funded by ATT & the Argonne Lab of the Department of Energy. Dr. Johns recently received a grant to conduct research at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and has a contract to publish her book on the social creation of nature, environmental citizenship and social action with the University of Florida Press.

Visit Dr. Johns’ website at .


  • M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Ph.D., Rutgers University


Johns teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in human geography, political geography, global conservation, and exploring cultural diversity. She has been the recipient of the USF Award for Excellence in Teaching and served as the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies at USF St. Petersburg from 2016-2018. Johns frequently publishes papers on societal connections to environmental science and serves as a graduate student advisor.


Rebecca Johns studies how humans interact with the natural world. Her research interests include human perceptions of nature, nature-society relationships, environmental citizenship and the commodification of nature through neoliberalism.

As the Director of Community Outreach and Education for the Initiative on Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, Johns helps promote environmental science throughout the local community and beyond. She serves as the principal investigator for the Environmental Citizenship Project, which aims to engage citizens emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally with environmental knowledge and foster resilience to climate change. Johns has co-led programs such as Climate Science 101, a community-oriented climate education program, and the Mapping Flood Vulnerabilities and Solutions workshop for middle and high school students from south St. Petersburg.

Specialty Area

Society-Nature Relationships, Environmental Citizenship, Environmental Education, Community-Based Climate Resilience

Recent Publications

Learn more about Johns' research and publications