Source: UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS submitted to
HUMAN NATURE RELATIONSHIPS AND CONSERVATION BEHAVIOR
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0200536
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
ILLU-875-386
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2004
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2010
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Vining, J.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
URBANA,IL 61801
Performing Department
NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
Non Technical Summary
Worldwide, natural resources are under unprecedented pressure. It is vital to ask how human relationships with the natural world might be improved. The purpose of the project is to determine the relationship between how humans experience their own ecosystem (i.e., as being part of or separate from nature) and environmentally responsible behavior and attitudes. This study will explore human-nature relationships through a studies of human perceptions of non-human animals, community configurations, and lifestyle choices (agricultural versus urban).
Animal Health Component
50%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
50%
Applied
50%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1316010307050%
8046099307050%
Goals / Objectives
a. Conduct survey of environmental attitudes, environmentally responsible behavior, and cognitive and emotional relationships with domestic and wild animals. b. Explore the possible relationship between resident-planned communities and the occurrence of environmentally responsible behavior. c. Explore human-nature relationships in agricultural settings. d. Examine the role played by life experiences, including experiences in natural environments, in developing environmentally responsible attitudes and behavior. e. Analyze human-nature data from previous externally funded surveys.
Project Methods
The proposed studies will make use of both new and existing data sets. The existing data sets are qualitative in nature and consist of interview, process-tracing, and journal data. These data sets are rich sources of information about the place of humans in nature, but were developed for other analyses. Qualitative analytic procedures will be used to analyses these data sets. The remaining data will be collected through interview and written questionnaires. Data analyses will comprise conventional statistical techniques such as ANOVA and multiple regression.

Progress 10/01/04 to 09/30/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: 1). I completed work, with Emily Price (grad student) on a study of children's reactions to an environmentally-oriented program at the Hamil Family Zoo at the Brookfield Zoo. We have one paper published in a peer-review journal and two others in revision for publication. 2). I worked with Corrin Behm to develop a survey examining UIUC freshmen's perceptions of sustainability, both on campus and elsewhere. We incorporated a measure of students' perceptions of their place in nature and plan to perform statistical analyses with this variable and the qualitative analyses of their definitions of sustainability. Analyses are continuing on this project and Ms. Behm will complete her thesis and an article for publication in spring 2011. 3). With several students I performed an evaluation of users' perceptions of the UIUC Arboretum. We used Visitor Employed Photography to help determine what the most admired features of the Arboretum were. We also conducted written survey research with Champaign County residents, UIUC faculty and staff, and members of the Illinois Green Industry. We are completing analyses of the data and anticipate having a final report prepared in the next month. 4). In fall 2010 I implemented a survey examining Champaign-Urbana residents' perceptions of four species: red fox, coyote, groundhog, and deer. The purpose of this study was to understand the place of both people and wildlife in an urban or semi-urban ecosystem. I am currently entering data and preparing for data analysis. This study will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. 5). Former student Melinda Merrick and I are writing one journal article and one invited book chapter on the topic of Environmental Epiphanies. The work on this topic was partly funded by Hatch and formed Dr. Merrick's doctoral research. PARTICIPANTS: Students trained under the auspices of the Hatch grant include: Emily Price, Master's degree, now Ph.D. candidate at Utah State Univ. Melinda Merrick, M.S. and Ph.D. and now instructor at Northwestern University. Corrin Behm, current M.S. student. Others who worked on the project (specifically the Arboretum Project) include Bill Kruidenier and Diane Anderson. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the projects listed above include: academic audiences who might read our scholarly publications, applied audiences, e.g., land and wildlife managers, who read our scholarly publications, and UIUC administrators who review the final reports of the Arboretum and Sustainability studies. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
1). The outcome of the Zoo-based studies were communicated to the Brookfield Zoo. I believe that some modifications of the nature-swap program were made as a result of our study. We evaluated the nature swap program, in which children brought non-perishable items collected in nature and traded them for either points or other objects. We found that children were very proud of their program activities and that they often became social drivers of environmental values in their homes, often persuading parents to organize trips outside or simply accompany the children outside in the search for materials to trade. 2). I expect that Ms. Behm's study of perceived sustainability among campus freshmen will have an impact on how campus sustainability initiatives are formulated and implemented. We will provide a copy of the report/thesis to the Office of Sustainability. When published, this study may help other universities and even private businesses develop and implement sustainability programs with the perceptions and attitudes of students and employees in mind. 3). The study of the UIUC Arboretum will have direct effects on how the Arboretum is managed and how new features will be designed and implemented. Our findings indicated that all groups of subjects found much more to like than to dislike about the Arboretum. The very few negative comments pertained primarily to maintenance issues that are easily modified. Our findings also show that the Arboretum is under-utilized, with only a minority of Champaign-Urbana residents familiar with it. The study of Green Industry representatives revealed a number of avenues that would make the Arboretum more familiar and utilized. Overall, our study demonstrated that the Arboretum is highly admired, but that it could reach more of a constituency. 4). The Champaign-Urbana urban wildlife study is not complete. When analyses have been finished I will publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal. I expect the findings to be of both academic and applied interest. 5). We found a five-part topology of environmental epiphanies and also examined the circumstances under which epiphanies occurred, the sequelae of environmental epiphanies in terms of behavior and cognition, and the social milieu in which such epiphanies may occur.

Publications

  • Vining, J., Merrick, M.S. and Price, E. 2008. The distinction between humans and nature: Human perceptions of connectedness to nature and elements of the natural and unnatural. Human Ecology Review, 15, 1-11.
  • Vining, J. and Merrick, M. 2011. Environmental epiphanies. Chapter in Clayton, S. (Ed), Handbook of Conservation Psychology (In Press).
  • Merrick, M.S. and Vining, J. 2011. Environmental epiphanies: A qualitative study. Manuscript to be submitted to the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
  • Vining, J. and Behm, C. 2011. User perceptions of the University of Illinois Arboretum. Final Report to be submitted to the Office of Research.
  • Price, E., Vining, J. and Saunders, C.D. 2009. Program evaluation of a zoo-based environmental education program designed to enhance participants' caring for nature. Manuscript in revision for publication in Visitor Studies.
  • Price, E.A., Vining, J. and Saunders, C.D. 2008. Connection with nature: A family pattern? Manuscript submitted to Conservation Biology.
  • Vining, J, Price, E., Goldman, W. and Zawacki, J. 2006. Understanding environmental attitudes and behaviors through significant life experiences. Manuscript submitted to the Journal of Environmental Education.


Progress 01/01/09 to 12/31/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: I continued research on human nature relationships this year, completing drafts of two new journal articles for which revised versions are under review. Work on children's conceptions of the natural world, conducted at the Brookfield Zoo's children's Nature Swap exhibit, is now complete except for these articles. I began planning for a study of wildlife returns to the urban ecosystem, in which I will examine the human place in the ecosystem that now includes species of wildlife, such as the fox, that have become more commonly sighted in urban areas. My students and I have completed coding work on a very large qualitative data set in which research participants were interviewed regarding their perceptions of ecosystem quality and ecosystems aesthetics. We continue the qualitative and quantitative work on this study, examining the frequencies with which certain concepts arise and determining the exact nature of these concepts. Concepts include forest features such as trees and ground cover, and also psychological constructs such as emotions and inferences. PARTICIPANTS: Emily Price earned her Master's Degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, partially supported by this Hatch grant. In her thesis research, she examined the relationships between children and nature in the context of the Nature Swap program at the Hamill Family Play Zoo in the Brookfield Zoo. She and I have produced one peer reviewed journal article in print and two others that are in final reviews for publication. Price is now a Ph.D. candidate at Utah State University. Corrin Behm is currently working on a project in which we are comparing perceptions of ecosystems aesthetics and quality. She participated in developing the coding analyses for the project and is currently performing qualitative and quantitative analyses on the data set. Former Ph.D. student Melinda Merrick, now an Assistant Professor at Ball State University, performed the interviews and participated substantially in developing the conceptual basis for the project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the work supported by this grant include researchers, environmental planners and managers, and individuals involved in environmental education and conservation behavior exhibits at zoological parks and aquaria. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
The work that my students and I conducted on children's perceptions of nature and the natural world will soon have resulted in three publications in peer reviewed journals. Our findings will advance not only basic understandings of children's understandings of nature, but also applications in the form of similar exhibits in children's zoological parks worldwide. The research that my students and I conducted on adults' perceptions of their own naturalness, combined with assessments of what is natural and what is not was published in the Human Ecology Review last year. This work has stimulated interest in the topic and has been cited by others interested in the human place in ecosystems.

Publications

  • Price, E. and Vining, J. 2009. Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards as motivators in a non-formal environmental education program. Zoo Biology, 28, 361-376.


Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Questionnaire data from snorkelers and divers regarding conservation behavior have been coded with content analysis categories. Further analyses of these data will take place in early 2009 and a journal article prepared soon afterward. We began work on the Arboretum Evaluation Project by administering a visitor employed photography procedure with 40 visitors to and users of the Arboretum. The resulting 468 photos and photolog entries are currently being content analyzed. We will begin contacting representatives of the green industry and preparing a public survey instrument after the first of the year. PARTICIPANTS: The following students worked on this project: Corrin Behm, John Crue, Kyle O'Konis, Kristin O'Brian, Emily Price, and Katelyn Hilst. All of these students have learned about visitor employed photography as a scientific data gathering technique, about Institutional Review Board applications and requirements, about approaching research participants and engaging them in a study, about data coding, conducting data analysis on the photo and photolog data, performing literature reviews, and writing manuscripts for publication. We also partnered with Bill Kruidenier, acting director of the University of Illinois Arboretum and with C. Diane Anderson to begin the work at the Arboretum. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for the work we are doing include the general public, who may have interest in our applied work, the academic public, who may be interested in our scholarly findings, and administrators and managers of arboreta, zoos, and aquariums. All of our projects are designed with management/administration of natural areas and resources in mind. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
No outputs other than journal articles were generated this year. Journal article influences and outcomes are not yet accumulated.

Publications

  • Price, E. and Vining, J. 2008. Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards as motivators in a non-formal environmental education program. Zoo Biology (In Press).
  • Vining, J., Merrick, M.S. and Price, E. 2008. The distinction between humans and nature: Human perceptions of connectedness to nature and elements of the natural and unnatural. Human Ecology Review, 15, 1-11.


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Preliminary analyses of survey data for the attitudes, behaviors, animal attachment project are complete. Comparisons between the 2001 and 2006 data collection points are currently under analysis. A manuscript based on the resident-planned communities and environmentally responsible behavior is currently under review. Data collection for the comparisons of farmer and non-farmer human-nature relationships is complete and analyses are underway. A revised manuscript based on our study of life experiences and environmentally responsible behavior and attitudes has been submitted to the Human Ecology Review. Our program evaluation of the Nature Swap Children's Program at the Brookfield Zoo is complete. Two manuscripts have been submitted to journals and another is nearing completion. We have not yet begun analyses of archived human-nature relationship data. PARTICIPANTS: Emily Price earned her Master of Science degree as a direct result of the work on the Nature Swap program at the Brookfield Zoo. She is now a Ph.D. candidate at Utah State University's Environment and Society department. Lucienne Burrus is currently a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. She is analyzing data from our study of farmer and non-farmer relationships with nature. Whitney Goldman completed her honors research on our study of life experiences and environmentally-responsible behavior, in partial support of her Bachelor's Degree in NRES. Melinda Merrick, a Ph.D. candidate in NRES, completed work on human-nature relationships that is now in press (2008). TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for our work include those involved in both basic research and applications. Academic researchers use our published (or presented) data to compare with their own research and to develop ideas for new research projects. Our work is also used by applied researchers and practitioners to plan and develop new programs encouraging environmentally responsible behavior. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Hatch funds were used to support an emergent project evaluating the Nature Swap program at the Chicago Brookfield Zoo. This project emerged as a Master's student was developing ideas for her thesis topic. We coordinated our activities and obtained access to experimental participants by working with Dr. Carol Saunders, a Conservation Psychologist at the zoo. We used Hatch funds to support this project because we believed that the Nature Swap program would have ramifications for our other studies of human-nature relationships. We used very little funding (<$500) for this project, yet it will produce at least three publications and has already led to cooperative projects with other zoos and aquariums.

Impacts
A manuscript partly based on analyses of survey data for Objective A (survey of environmental attitudes and behavior and animal attachment) was published in the Human Ecology Review. The paper continues to be cited heavily. Our work on the children's Nature Swap program at the Brookfield Zoo has already attracted attention among zoological parks and aquariums.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
We completed data collection and entry on our second survey on pets, environmental attitudes and behavior, and quality of life. The first was conducted in 2001 and we retained many of the same measures, so we will be able to examine longitudinal trends. Preliminary analyses show more similarities than differences with the 2001 survey. We completed work on our studies of perceptions of naturalness and unnaturalness and submitted a manuscript to the Human Ecology Review. The manuscript has been accepted with revisions. Taking advantage of an opportunity at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, we began a new study that incorporates many of the same constructs. We are examining the Nature Swap program at the Children's Zoo facility. We have interviewed parents, children, and play partners and are currently analyzing results.

Impacts
Our longitudinal study of pet keeping, environmental attitudes and behavior, and quality of life remains the only study combining these variables. This study has been presented at two conferences and met with great interest. The study of the Nature Swap Program at the Brookfield Zoo's Hamil Children's Zoo will have impacts not only for zoos and aquaria developing such programs, but also for basic science on how children interact with the natural world. Our study of perceptions of naturalness and unnaturalness is the first of its kind and has been received extremely well by the scientific community. We expect these studies to have a lasting impact on basic scientific inquiry into human-environment relationships and on policy, design, and management as well.

Publications

  • Vining, J. 2006. Review of identity and the natural environment. Society and Natural Resources (In Press).
  • Vining, J. and Saunders, C. Conservation psychology. 2004. In: M.J. Manfredo, J.J. Vaske, D.R. Field, P.J. Brown and B.L.Bruyere (Editors), Society and Natural Resources: A Summary of Knowledge. Jefferson City, MO: Modern Litho.


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
Longitudinal Conservation Study: We continue to enter data for the 7 time points in this longitudinal study. Agrarian/Urban Lifestyle Effects: We are reviewing literature and consulting with colleagues in order to develop measures to examine extent of contact with nature and its effects on environmentally-responsible attitudes and behavior. Perception of Human Naturalness/Unnaturalness: We are nearing completion of data analyses on this project. A draft manuscript is being prepared. Humans, Pets, and the Environment: We delivered a paper from our previous survey at the meeting of the Society for Human Ecology. Valuable feedback from attendees is being used to construct a questionnaire for a followup study. A draft manuscript has been prepared and will be submitted soon. Living Community and Environmentally-Responsible Behavior: The design of this study has been solidified and we continue to search for appropriate communities and measures. Life Experiences: We are currently interviewing an additional twenty subjects for this study in order to strengthen quantitative analyses.

Impacts
The results indicating a positive relationship between environmental attitudes and pet animal attachment are the first to link pet keeping with a pro-environment orientation. We believe this finding provides support for the idea that people in developed countries may be trying to reduce alienation from the natural environment by bringing animals into the home. In addition, our longitudinal study of conservation behavior is among the first to examine changes in conservation over a long time period (1982-2003). Our studies of perceptions of human-nature relationships also represent the vanguard of this area of inquiry. We expect that these studies will have lasting impact not only on scientific study of human-environment relationships but also on environmental policy and management.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 10/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
We have begun data entry for archival data for a longitudinal comparison of conservation behavior, values, and attitudes.

Impacts
This project will be the first longitudinal study of conservation behavior and we expect that it will have significant environmental management ramifications.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period