PULLMAN, Wash. – Michael Salvador, associate professor in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, recently received the 2011 Christine L. Oravec Research Award in Environmental Communication for the article “The Weyekin Principle: Toward an Embodied Critical Rhetoric,” at the National Communication Association (NCA) annual conference in New Orleans.
Salvador shared the honor with his former graduate student and co-author Tracylee Clarke, who is assistant professor at California State University Channel Islands. The paper was published in Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture.
 
The award is given by the Environmental Communication Division of the NCA to distinguish one published article each year that: addresses significant scholarly questions about the relationship between communication and the environment; demonstrates intellectual rigor appropriate to its mode of inquiry; is forward-looking in its contributions to the field; has the potential to influence future research in the field; and is clear and compelling to its intended audiences.
The article breaks new ground in the study of environmental communication by linking phenomenological inquiry with Native American cultural perspectives on the relationship between humans and nature. The term “weyekin” comes from the Nez Perce language and expresses a particular connection between human experience and natural surroundings. 
 
Salvador and Clarke spent several years studying the Nez Perce management of gray wolf reintroduction in north Idaho.
 
“With so much outstanding work being done in the area of environmental communication, it is both gratifying and humbling to be recognized with this award,” Salvador said. “Professor Clarke and I hope our work contributes to improving the ability of people everywhere to communicate effectively in understanding and solving the critical environmental problems we face.”