Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Italian Studies

First Advisor

Nicoletta Marini-Maio

Second Advisor

Luca Trazzi


Italian, abstract in English


This thesis focuses on the Mincio Park in Mantua, Italy, which uses volunteers to protect the Park and is part of an important watershed. Before going to Mantua, a list of vocabulary and research about the Park and volunteers were compiled to be able to discuss scientific concepts during interviews. Research questions were created to understand how the Park is managed, the motivations of volunteers and administrators, the role of volunteers, and the main environmental problems that the Park faces. Through interviews, the goal of the project was to understand the entire watershed. It became clear during this process, however, that the concept of a watershed does not exist in Italy. This linguistic and cultural barrier made the research experience difficult, yet informative. This lack of concept changed the direction of this project. It became a project about what a watershed is and how to define one, using a local example, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, as a starting point. The last part of the thesis is the reconstruction of the watershed and research about the watershed’s main problems. Using resources found on the internet and all of the information collected in Italy, the Mincio River’s course, and how it is connected to the Po River, was constructed and mapped. This research reveals some cultural differences that exist between the United States and Italy, such as the lack of the concept of a watershed, how this can be problematic, and how this can be solved through communication and partnerships. These partnerships, in the case of the Mincio Park, could include the Park, the volunteers, and the city of Mantua, and would consider the importance of educating the public as a strategy for being as successful as possible.