Papers & Forums from the 8th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM)

June 17-22, 2000, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA

Sub-theme on:

Caring For and About Nature:

Toward a field of Conservation Psychology?

This page contains titles and abstracts from the 8th ISSRM, from sessions organized by Gene Myers (Huxley College, Western Washington University) and Carol Saunders (Communications Research, Brookfield Zoo) on the theme above. We wish to extend our gratitude to the conference organizers for affording an excellent forum for exploring the roles of psychology in understanding and encouraging conservation attitudes and behaviors, and to the participants and those who came to listen. We hope that these papers will provide material for reflection on what psychologists (of every sort) may contribute.

Click on the links in the following Overview to see a synopsis of each session. From the synopses you can follow links to author information and abstracts of individual papers. Some abstracts also have links to complete papers. This is a long page with many internal links; use the 'back' button to retrace back to the top. If you have trouble with any links, try quitting and restarting your browser. You can also just scroll down to find any section or abstract.


SENSE OF SELF / SENSE OF PLACE (Monday, 8:00 to 9:30)



Forum 1: Do we need a field of Conservation Psychology? (Monday 2:30 to 3:45)

RELATIONAL CARING / ETHIC OF CARE (Tuesday 8:00 to 9:30)




Forum 2: Conservation Psychology: Sub-group meetings and de-briefing (Wednesday 10-12:15)


SHOW AND TELL SESSIONS (3 sessions: Wednesday 1:00 to 2:15 & 2:30-3:45; Thursday 9:45 to 11:15)



SENSE OF SELF / SENSE OF PLACE (Monday, 8:00 to 9:30)

Moderator: Carol Saunders

Synopsis: Psychology and ecology are similar in being difficult sciences that deal with complex, multidimensional, changing, interdependent systems that resist reductive models. But their subject matters would seem to be so different as to not even intersect. Papers in this session, however, explore one chief connection: how we can think about the human psyche's ties to its generative matrix of the earth. Issues explored include identify and identification, self, sense of place and related notions. The common thread here is a critical search for conceptual resources from psychology. We seek concepts that lead toward compelling empirical evidence for, and understanding of, the intersection of mind and nature. This intersection is multidimensional, and includes our varied subjective experiences of, closeness to, caring about, and action for, nonhuman nature.

Einar Strumse -- The ecological self as a framework for psychological conceptualizations of the human relation to the natural environment

Linda Riebel & Marc Pilisuk -- The caring paradigm and how to get there

James Cantrill & Susan Senecah -- A "sense of place" for the environmental self in conservation psychology

Gene Myers -- Human development and human ecology


Moderator: George Cvetkovich

Synopsis: How do humans process environmental information? We perceive the environment through our senses but our brains make sense of it all. There are clearly both cognitive and affective aspects to how we see the world, including how we value social goods such as clean air and unobstructed vistas, our different perspectives of what environments we prefer and find most aesthetic, and our limited ability to recognize our own contribution when destruction of the environment is caused by many. The talks in this session show how the psychological factors underlying these perceptions have implications for natural resource management.

Russ Parsons & Terry C. Daniel -- Good Looking: In defense of scenic landscape aesthetics

Britton L. Mace, Paul A. Bell & Ross J. Loomis--The role of psychology in defining natural resources in pristine environments

Andrej Birjulin, Paul A. Bell & Ross J. Loomis--Valuation of public goods using the method of paired comparison

Hans-Joachim Mosler --Applying findings from the social-ecological dilemma research to problems of resource management

Han-Fang Ying, Yeong-Hyeon Hwang & Cary McDonald --The reconceptualization of leisure experiences: The role of emotions

John Schelhas & Max Pfeffer -- Forest and rural life in Costa Rica: Environmental values in communities adjacent to La Amistad International Park


Moderator: Gene Myers

Synopsis: What do we know about how experience in various environments affects peoples' development and well-being across the life-span? Papers in this session address 3 aspects of this question. Nature can offer us powerful psychological resources; how can we understand such experiences and their conditions? Two papers tackle this question and what we can learn about broader issues of caring from this. Second, two papers look at the impact of early experiences of nature on later concern. Of importance here is to carefully situate our understanding of development in its cultural and social as well as natural contexts. Finally, what do we know about the effects of different environments on the patterns of activity and character of youth? These papers offer cultural and historical comparisons for answering these questions.

I. Nature and well-being

Almut Beringer --Being moved by nature: Healing through nature and implications for an ethics of care for nature

Paul Heintzman & Roger Mannell --The role of nature-based leisure experiences in spiritual well-being

II. Significant life experiences

Robert Bixler -- Environmental socialization: Unraveling the process of connecting with nature

Tomoko Hamada & Charles C. Harris -- Life experiences of four Japanese environmentalists: How did they become environmentally sensitive?

Forum 1: Do we need a field of Conservation Psychology? (Monday 2:30 to 3:45)

RELATIONAL CARING / ETHIC OF CARE (Tuesday 8:00 to 9:30)

Moderator: Almut Beringer

Synopsis: From our births to our deaths, humans are exquisitely and intricately relational animals. Doubtless, our most human traits evolved from our close-living mammalian heritage. Psychology's understanding of our impressive propensity to enter relationship with others is one of the most promising tools it offers for our ecological challenges. Papers in this session apply and test the extension of models of human relational development to our patterns with non-human nature, including especially the power of an ethic of care.

Marianne Spitzform --Human empathy and its potential application to human/wildlife conflict: Review and reflection

Shari Britner -- The ethic of care in students' responses to environmental situations

Glyn Thomas -- Developing caring human-nature relationships


Moderator: Kate Wayne

Synopsis: Psychology is cultural, and the variations human cultural psychology demonstrates are both obstacles and resources for the challenges of environmental management. The several papers in this session explore the senses of this statement. The first subset of papers attempt to pull us away from our own taken-for-granted culturally constituted ways of perceiving and thinking -- far enough, at least to examine these very ways. Beyond this lies the challenge of understanding other cultures in their own terms, and the many vital ways they provide the bases for any adequate local "conservation" efforts. Finally, a greater challenge still is undertaken: to ask whether and how other cultures' "lenses" may be available and "helpful" to us, in our own situation. The issues raised in this session are challenging indeed, but of great importance on both theoretical and applied grounds.

I. Cultural filters in discourses of nature and resources

Gigi Berardi -- Cultures of natural resource management: Philosophical and practical considerations

Pasi Nuutilainen -- Finding our nature beyond the cultural filter

II. What relevance other cultures' beliefs have in their own communities; understanding the cultures of different places

Sergio Cristancho -- The cross-cultural issue in policy-making and management strategies involving symbolic plant species in the Amazon natives' territories

III. Lessons we can learn from other cultures

Oakley Gordon -- Finding an epistemology that supports loving and caring about nature


Moderator: Andrej Birjulin

Synopsis: Meanings of nature are not neutral in their implications for our actions. Meanings and values associated with terms like "natural," "wild," "resource," and "land" are part of shared and contested discourses that powerfully shape our experience and decisions. Some meanings are entrenched in exploitative histories; others have recent valences associated with new relationships to nature. Still others offer promising resources for biocultural regeneration. These papers examine the diverse and often conflicting psychological force of our ideas and words about nature.

Joanna Beyers -- Ecosystem stewardship and the care for nature: Charting the range of meanings in Canadian forestry

Cathy Setterlin -- Exploring the concept of land as a living community with land use decision makers in New Milford, Conn.< /P

Joseph Reser & Joan M. Bentrupperbäumer -- Unpackaging the nature and management implications of 'environmental concern'

Joanne Vining & Joy Jo Ann Scrogum -- Animals in human lives: Analyses of four text sources


Moderator: Kate Irvine

Synopsis: Unless caring attitudes are linked with caring actions, humans will not be able to achieve a sustainable relationship with the natural world. Psychology has a great deal to offer in terms of understanding what motivates people to engage in conservation behaviors. This session will explore the complex relationships between knowledge, attitudes/values and behavior. We will examine the tools necessary to inspire conservation behaviors in different settings - - such as school systems, zoos, and communities - - along with ways to measure how well we are addressing our behavior goals. The types of behaviors considered include behaviors that protect wetlands, behaviors that conserve private lands, forest stewardship planning behaviors, and efficacy in dealing with environmental issues in general.

Daphne Minner -- Using human development theory to assess why environmental education curricula may be ineffective at creating conservation behaviors

Carol Saunders, Andrej Birjulin, Todd Gieseke & Lynd Bacon -- Can an exhibit affect visitor conservation behaviors?

Ben Tyson, S. Broderick, L. Kane & T. Worthley -- Lessons learned promoting forest stewardship

Amara Brook -- Landowner responses to an Endangered Species Act listing: Some psychological dimensions

Forum 2: Conservation Psychology: Sub-group meetings and de-briefing (Wednesday 10-12:15)


Kate Wayne -- Stripmining the morality of place: Renegotiating a Post/Modernist perspective of time, space and context

Susie Ellis, Frances Wheatley, Robert Lacy, Jonathan Ballou & Ulysses S. Seal -- Social dynamics in strategic conservation planning: Lessons from the field

Beth Covitt -- Being asked versus being told: A proposed study to evaluate the effects of mandating service-learning

Kate Irvine & Raymond de Young -- Perceptions of consumption: An empirical analysis


Mike Cohen, Allison Weeks & John Scull (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:15 and 2:30-3:45) -- The science of nature connected psychology: Using sensory, global consciousness as a tool for motivating sustainable behaviors in society

Oakley Gordon (Thursday 9:45 to 11:15) -- An intimate connection with nature: Teaching Andean epistemology to Westerners


Elaine Atkinson -- Public attitudes and perceptions of the coastal environment


Einar Strumse

Department of Health and Social Studies, Lillehammer College, N - 2626 Lillehammer, Norway

The ecological self as a framework for psychological conceptualizations of the human relation to the natural environment

The philosopher Arne Naess introduced the "ecological self" as a framework for understanding how individuals relate to the environment. According to Naess, the ecological self is field-like and expansive, and can be defined as that with which the individual identifies. Thus, there are in principle no limits to this identification. The concept of the ecological self was made more psychologically relevant by the philosopher Warwick Fox, who proposed a "transpersonal ecology". Fox's contribution was to elaborate upon the concept of the ecological self by contrasting this view with a more common psychological view of the self. Naess's ecological self appears well suited as a framework for a psychological understanding of the self, as it takes all levels of the environment into account, including identifications not only with human beings, but also with the non-human and physical world as well.

Within environmental psychology, theory and findings from the field of environmental perception and cognition that are compatible with the ecological self-framework will be described. Moreover, theory from developmental and transpersonal psychology together with selected findings will be highlighted, in order to point out domains that seem particularly relevant to a proposed field of "conservation psychology." The contributions reviewed will include classifications of environmental experience, a developmental view of the self in terms of processes of identification, the concept of place-identity, a view of the potential for human development drawn from transpersonal psychology, as well as various empirical findings.

Linda Riebel

Saybrook Graduate School

Marc Pilisuk, Saybrook Graduate School

The caring paradigm and how to get there

The paradigm for Western psychology, as for most things in the Western world, values development, an evolving progression by which an individual, organization, or nation consumes matter and information from its environment and moves to a state deemed "better" than the previous one. Even our theories of individual psychology assume that linear movement towards a more "mature" self is essential and desirable.

This paradigm exalts the individual at the expense of the collective and the human to the detriment of the non-human. Conceivably we could reverse our environmental destructiveness while remaining within the development/individualist paradigm, but as admirers of deep ecology, the authors think it necessary to challenge the paradigm. An alternative, more prominent in non-Western cultures, is interdependence. We briefly outline the advances ecopsychologists have made in articulating a new worldview, paying special attention to caring and noting the relevance of non-Western themes.

However, getting people to relinquish the development/individualist paradigm and care about creatures and ecosystems that may be of no direct benefit to them may not be easy. Psychological obstacles exist in the forms of inertia, greed, fear, guilt, and attachment to a self-image as the species at the pinnacle of creation, entitled to fulfill every wish. A second contribution that ecopsychologists can make is to use psychology's knowledge of motivation and attitude change to generate effective appeals and actions to overcome these obstacles. Such work may represent psychology's most important contribution to the struggle to save our planet -- ironically using knowledge about human development to tailor environmental appeals to the various stages of the human lifespan.

In the tradition of Erikson, Kohlberg, and Loevinger, the authors outline a matrix which tailors environmental messages to cognitive and moral stages. Six aspects (impulses, principles, actions, obstacles, response to obstacles, and earth-friendly environmental traits) are described across five life stages (childhood, adolescence, young adult, middle adult, and older adult), yielding thirty cells within which environmental messages are presented. One presenter's experience on an EPA task force will also be described.

James Cantrill

Communication Studies, Northern Michigan University, 1401 Presque Isle, Marquette, MI 49855

Susan Senecah, Environmental Studies, SUNY - Environmental Science & Forestry

A "Sense of Place" for the environmental self in conservation psychology

Although the study of how people perceive features in the environment is an established focus of inquiry, research concerning the relative salience of conservation values and themes given such perceptions is not as substantial. Nonetheless, there is an emerging recognition among social scientists that, as people develop a sense of self, their senses of place serve as potent mediators in the process of attending to or embracing conservation-oriented practices. That is, we all tend to live by Mile's Law: "Where you stand depends on where you sit" and where we sit is framed by the psychological schema we have for that place called "home."

This paper takes the "sense of place" construct as a foundation for examining the relationship between self-schema and environmental awareness, or the environmental self. We argue that it is from the vantage of the environmental self that we understand terms dealing with ecology, process claims regarding the environment, and thus relate ourselves to those advocating conservation of natural resources. To advance this argument, we begin by discussing the association between a sense of place, how the self gets related to the environment, and the processing of conservation-oriented advocacy. We then review a series of empirical studies conducted over the past decade, as well as reinterpret other quantitative and qualitative examinations, which demonstrate elements of the environmental self and its relationship to senses of place. In turn, we apply conclusions growing out of this line of research to contemporary case studies in conservation involving the Lake Superior Binational Program, Ontario's "Lands for Life" initiative, the Long Island pine barrens controversy, and conflict management regarding cormorant populations in the State of New York. The paper concludes with an examination of ongoing studies and applied conservation contexts that may contribute to the emerging field of conservation psychology.

Gene Myers

Huxley College of Env. Studies, Western Washington University, mail stop 9085, Bellingham WA, 98225

Human development and human ecology

The task of joining knowledge of human development with that of human ecology illustrates the challenges and possibilities of developing effective care for and about nature. Both human development and human ecology are multi-disciplinary (many fields of knowledge are relevant) and trans-disciplinary (dependent on seeing past the conceptual and methodological boundaries imposed by disciplines). Together they have acute bearing on practical problems of human adaptation to local ecosystems and global biophysical constraints. Human development and human ecology can be integrated with reference to at least three levels of understanding and action.

Behavior is the concrete, immediate, biological manifestation of development, thought, motivation and learning. Behavior also represents the direct and reciprocal interface between humans and ecology (i.e., impacts on, and influence by, the environment). These effects are, however, difficult to perceive directly due to complexity and spatial-temporal scales to which human sensory/cognitive systems are not adapted. Psychology can help by exploring pathways of individual development that lead to more adequate cognitive structures, decisions-under-uncertainty, ecological morality, sense of self, and caring connection with non-human nature.

At another level, both human development and human ecology entail important contextual effects. Culture--beliefs, social organization, and technologies--fundamentally shapes both of these phenomena. We need to understand how individuals' development across the lifespan is affected by these contexts, and how individuals can and do transform these structures to be more (or less) sustainable. Issues of mind and culture, of ethical norms and participation, and of self and emotion are raised.

Finally, in terms of epistemology, both fields challenge the fragmentation and abstraction of knowledge and action typical of complex modern societies. At their furthest extensions, both fields invite integration of embodied knowing, practical inhabitation of place, and critical dialogue. Among the potentials are an expanded sense of individual relatedness and responsibility, and social transformation.


Russ Parsons

Landscape Architecture, U. of Illinois, 101 Buell Hall, 611 E. Lorado Taft Dr., U. of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820

Terry C. Daniel, Departments of Psychology and Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona

Good Looking: In defense of scenic landscape aesthetics

It has become de rigueur among U.S. writers on environmental aesthetics to leverage Aldo Leopold's legacy against the proliferation of "popular" landscape tastes, which are typically seen to have their origins in 17th-19th century European traditions of landscape painting and aesthetics. These writers regard victims of popular or "scenic" landscape tastes (exemplified by Olmsted's Central Park) as intellectually shallow, motivated by momentary "sensory pleasures", and passively and anthropocentrically drawn to "naturalistic" environments rather than actively and biocentrically engaged with natural environments. This implicit refusal to grant sensory information and affective processing the power to catalyze and inform serious reflection is not new; neither is the facile attribution of popular landscape aesthetics to the elite society of a limited culture and historical period surprising, given the current preponderance of postmodernist sensibilities. However, in the often highly-charged atmosphere of local environmental planning and management arenas, both positions are needlessly polemical. More importantly, there is good evidence to suggest that both positions are founded on misconceptions about how humans process information, including environmental information. In this paper we will review work that establishes the intellectual bonafides of visual imagery, the important contributions that emotions make to cognition, and the likelihood that explanations of environmental aesthetics rooted in European Enlightenment-era landscape painting are inadequate. This review suggests that frequent calls for new normative environmental aesthetics based on a cognitive understanding of ecological sustainability are likely premature. As social scientists, we suggest that attempts to impose prescribed environmental aesthetics (albeit ecologically pure environmental aesthetics) are inappropriate and may well be self-defeating. Instead, we suggest that a thorough understanding of visual and nonvisual environmental aesthetics is needed, including examinations of the possibility that affect elicited by scenic encounters with preferred landscapes can lead people to form emotional attachments to the land and develop a greater consideration for sustainability goals.

Britton L. Mace

Department of Psychology, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 84720

Paul A. Bell & Ross J. Loomis, Colorado State University

The role of psychology in defining natural resources in pristine environments

Since the early 1970's and the rise of the environmental movement in the United States, psychologists have investigated a wide variety of topics that relate to environment and behavior (Altman & Stokols, 1987). One important field of research has focused on psychological aspects of environmental problems such as air pollution and ambient noise. Recently, psychologists have extended the study of these ambient environmental stressors from the urban world to natural to ascertain their effects on such natural resources as clean air and natural quiet (Mace, et al., 1999). Although escape from urban stress and restorative experiences in natural settings are thought to be therapeutic (Driver, Nash, & Haas, 1987; Ulrich, 1993), intrusion of air and noise pollution into pristine settings may minimize or reverse the psychological benefits of such settings.

We will discuss both of these forms of pollution in this paper and report how psychological theory and research is essential for a more complete understanding of both visibility and freedom from ambient noise. Our discussion will be in the context of protection of natural resources commonly found in pristine natural areas of the United States and the world, including national parks and wilderness areas.

Psychologists can and should provide lawmakers with empirical data, which can then be used by legislators and other decision makers as a part of their decision making process (Kaplan, 1995). Many specializations within the field of psychology, including environmental, social, sensation and perception, cognitive, physiological, clinical, and cross-cultural psychology, to name just a few, can contribute to a more complete understanding of natural resource issues in the United States and the world.

Andrej Birjulin

Communications Rsch, Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513

Paul A. Bell & Ross J. Loomis, Colorado State University

George L. Peterson & Thomas C. Brown, Rocky Mountain Forest & Range Experiment Station

Valuation of public goods using the method of paired comparison

The paired comparison method is a valuation procedure that attempts to place dollar value estimates on public goods such as clean air and unobstructed vistas. Attempts to place an economic value on such public goods have met many pitfalls. The most commonly used valuation method, contingent valuation, is increasingly under attack by the policy-makers who rely on the results as well as research scientists who question the validity and credibility of the dollar estimates derived therefrom (Arrow et al., 1993; Cambridge Economics, 1992; Kahneman et al., 1993).

Nonetheless, policy-makers require valid dollar estimates for these public goods in order to consider trade-off issues in a variety of allocation circumstances and must use whatever methods are available, whether credible or not. Paired comparison has a number of strengths over contingent valuation because it creates a hypothetical market which forces participants to think of income and substitution effects when making choices. Furthermore, it lends itself well to examining how participants make their decisions and allows for testing of transitivity which is at the heart of economists' assumptions of rational choice. Transitivity occurs in the form of a circular triad where if A is preferred to B, and B is preferred to C, then A should be preferred to C. However, research has demonstrated that intransitive triads are common enough to threaten the validity of the underlying assumptions. The current study tested whether intransitivities could be explained by close psychological similarity between pairs of goods and by lower memory capacity as assessed by a digit span test.

Respondents in this investigation were 190 undergraduate students between the ages 18-45 years old (73% were between 19-23), with approximately equal numbers of males and females, who participated for class credit. The experiment was conducted on a computer where participants were asked to make 155 binary choices between goods and/or dollar values. Participants were then asked to rate the degree of similarity between all possible pairs of goods and/or dollar values.

Respondents were randomly assigned to two different sets of goods. These goods included a mix of public and private goods and sums of money. The sets had two public goods that were identical and four that were different. The different sets of goods did not have a significant impact on the target goods' derived dollar value estimates which indicates that these estimates are a rather stable attribute of the good itself rather than an attribute created by the set of goods that it is imbedded into. It was also found that respondents who scored low on the WAIS-R digits forward digit span test were more likely to generate many intransitivities.

Furthermore, the present investigation showed that although some intransitivity is due to error, a substantial number of intransitive triads are attributable to high perceived similarity between the goods. That is, the goods involved in intransitivities are so close in psychological space and value, from the participant's perspective, that making consistent judgments was very difficult.

Hans-Joachim Mosler

Abteilung Sozialpsychologie, Universität Zürich, Plattenstrasse 14, CH-8032 Zurich, Switzerland

Link to complete Mosler paper

Applying findings from the social-ecological dilemma research to problems of resource management

Resource problems very often arise from massive collective overtaxing of generally accessible and exploitable resources, or common property. When destruction of the environment is caused by the very many, it becomes difficult for the individual to see his own contribution to the destruction, for example air pollution over city agglomerations, water pollution caused by excess fertilization and so forth. The individual person regrets the damage caused to the environment, but does not grasp that he himself is involved, and therefore the individual undertakes no action to protect the environment. From our perspective, this phenomenon can be understood as the consequence of specific interactions at the interface between individual, environmental resource and social system. The main reason for overuse stems from the consequence of problematic interactions at the interfaces between individual, environmental resource and social system. These mutual interactions, which take place on the one hand between human thought, feeling and action, and specific characteristics of resources and laws of the social system on the other, are outlined in the paper. In the social sciences, resource management problems are treated as ecological-social dilemmas. The main findings of this area of research will be presented in the paper.

Nearly every environmental and every natural conservation problem has both a social science and a natural science aspect. Effective solutions to these problems thus require cooperation between these sciences. In the paper, I sketch out a suggestion which, particularly in the environmental area, can serve as the starting point for cooperation between the social and natural sciences. The perspective provided by research on the ecological-social dilemmas has in my opinion a great deal to offer, as it throws the interfaces individual - resource - social system into bold relief.

Han-Fang Ying

Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

103 Huff Hall, 1206 South Fourth St., Champaign, IL 61820

Yeong-Hyeon Hwang & Cary McDonald, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The reconceptualization of leisure experiences: The role of emotions

The quality of leisure experiences is a central concern for both practitioners who provide such experiences, and for researchers who attempt to conceptualize and understand them. The purpose of this study is to identify critical issues in "experience quality" research and to propose a conceptual framework that enhances our understanding of experience quality. Typically, experience quality is equated with user satisfaction, determined by comparing visitor expectations, motivations, norms, and/or goals with post-experience assessment of whether or not, and to what extent, these pre-experience needs were fulfilled. Although recently more innovative methods have been explored (e.g. experiential sampling method) to identify and monitor factors that affect the experience quality, an alternative framework that overcomes the limits of this comparative paradigm has not yet emerged.

Many criticisms of the comparative paradigm have been found salient. For example, the use cross-sectional methods based on post-experience recall to assess experience quality has been challenged, and doubts have been raised about the existence of goals, motivations and normative standards. Perhaps the most serious shortcoming of the comparative paradigm is its lack of a theoretical understanding of the role of emotion in defining and shaping the experience.

The proposed framework views emotions as feelings of what happens (e.g. happiness and anger). It is particularly concerned with the relations between emotions and cognitions (i.e., thoughts about what happens) in defining the quality of an experience. How personal and situational factors affect these relations is also of interest. Based on these concerns, a review of the critical issues for investigating the quality of an experience and a framework which provides an alternative way to conceptualize the experience with special focus on the dynamic, spontaneous, and emotional aspects of leisure experiences will be presented.

John Schelhas

Research Forester, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

112 Campbell Hall, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee AL 36088


Max Pfeffer, Department of Rural Sociology, Cornell University

Forest and rural life in Costa Rica: Environmental values in communities adjacent to la Amistad International Park

Costa Rica has long been a conservation paradox, noteworthy both for its strong commitment to national parks and for extensive conversion of private forests to pastures and croplands. This paper will examine the environmental values of rural people living adjacent to La Amistad International Park by analyzing the forest and land use narratives of local people collected in open-ended interviews. I will first discuss the content of these values--that is, the individual and shared beliefs and values expressed about forests. The social importance of these values will then be discussed, particularly: (1) the sources of environmental values; (2) how forest and environmental values are negotiated with other values at the individual, community and societal levels; (3) how forest values are expressed in assigning responsibility for forests and in individual land use behavior.


Almut Beringer

Dept. of Outdoor Education and Nature Tourism, La Trobe University, Bendigo, P.O. Box 199, Bendigo, Victoria 3552, Australia

Link to complete Beringer paper

Being moved by nature: Healing through nature and implications for an ethics of care for nature

A life crisis can profoundly affect one's relationship to self and others. By implication, one's relationship to nature, it seems, would not be left unaffected. On the other hand, the healing effects of nature are well known and documented. The dynamics of healing, i.e., how nature experiences facilitate the healing of physical and/or psychological trauma, are not well understood. Further questions in need of research are: what effects do healing experiences in and through nature have on a person's environmental ethics? Are healing and caring for nature related, and if so, in what ways?

A qualitative study sought to investigate how a traumatic life event (spinal cord injury) might affect a person's relationship with nature and what role nature experiences played in the healing process (adaptation to physical disability). For the research participants, nature experiences provided an important means to come to terms with a changed body, and to accept physical limitations. Being in nature was valued as a way to 'forget' one's disability. 'Not being able to get close to nature' and the inaccessibility of many natural areas was experienced as the main barrier to receive the healing that being in nature can provide. The experience of loss, grief and healing catalyzed a deepened commitment to caring for nature.

The question how nature heals will be discussed by presenting components of a theory of healing which emerge from this study. Implications for research and theory of an ethics of care for nature will be drawn.

Paul Heintzman

Recreation Management, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada BOP 1X0

Roger Mannell

The role of nature-based leisure experiences in spiritual well-being

Driver, Dustin, Baltic, Elsner and Peterson (1996) suggested that a more thorough understanding of the spiritual meanings that nature holds for humans could improve the management of public lands. The little research conducted on this topic is of a qualitative nature with small sample sizes (Fox, 1996; Stringer & McAvoy, 1992). To explore the role of nature-based leisure experiences in spiritual well-being, findings were drawn from a larger, combined, developmental, qualitative and quantitative study which utilized in-depth interviews (n=8) and a survey (n=248) to explore the relationships between leisure and spiritual well-being, and the processes linking them. One theme emerging from the qualitative analysis was that nature is conducive to spiritual well-being. Participants explained that nature elicited a sense of wonder, helped them connect with their God, and/or was life-giving. Participants talked about nature in general; for a few participants, wilderness areas were conducive to spiritual well-being due to the absence of everyday demands and expectations. Survey findings included significant positive relationships between spiritual well-being and frequency of participation in: the outdoor recreation activity category; three of nine activities (picnicking, gardening, day outing at zoo/park etc.) in the outdoor recreation category; and the activity of flower arranging/plant care. Participation in what might be considered as nature-oriented leisure settings (primitive wilderness areas, non-urban natural areas, cottage or lodge settings, pastoral/rural areas, and urban and near-urban natural areas) was not correlated with spiritual well-being. A Leisure-Spiritual Processes Scale was developed to examine 12 processes linking leisure style with spiritual well-being. The process of 'nature' was found to have a significant positive relationship with spiritual well-being. Using stepwise regression analysis the 'nature' process was found to account for the greatest amount of variation in spiritual well-being as measured by the Subjective Spiritual Well-Being Scale.

Robert Bixler

PRTM, 263 Lehotsky Hall, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-1005


Environmental socialization: Unraveling the process of connecting with nature

A better understanding of human-nature relationships emerges from describing fundamental distinctions between individuals who do and do not have an interest in nature. Environmental socialization research examines how differing perceptions and interest in wild nature develop. Statements such as "Everyone is an environmentalist" can be quite misleading since most people’s concerns are limited to egocentric NIMBY environmental health issues. Several studies have demonstrated an aversion to being in wildland environments among large segments of the population (Bixler and Floyd 1997, Johnson, et al, 1997). For many people, nature is scary, disgusting and uncomfortable. Other studies, starting with Tanner (1980) have described the formative experiences of conservation leaders and outdoor recreation groups. Both the aversion to wildlands and conservation and leisure career studies document the importance of long-term and repeated contact with natural environments starting in childhood, and the role of supportive and protective social groups including family, friends and teachers. Two leisure careers studies provide evidence that individuals must master a wide range of environmental skills before feeling comfortable and confident in wildland settings. Environmental socialization consists of frequent and extended experiences in wild and semi-wild settings resulting in both tacit knowledge of the outdoors and habituation to natural irritants; mastery of a wide range of ancillary skills (wayfinding) providing a sense of confidence and achievement; and membership in social groups that validate their members’ interest in the outdoors. These dimensions of socialization occur over several life stages and are interrelated. More interdisciplinary research on environmental socialization is needed with groups ranging from developers and golfers to river raft guides and amateur entomologists. Developmental studies with children are critical. These types of investigation will have the greatest impact on praxis in a rapidly changing world, if they are future oriented.

Tomoko Hamada

University of Idaho

645W Pullman Rd. #327, Moscow ID 83843

Charles C. Harris, Resource Recreation and Tourism, University of Idaho

Life experiences of four Japanese environmentalists: How did they become environmentally sensitive?

Environmental sensitivity has been conceptualized as a "predisposition to take an interest in learning about the environment, feeling concern for it, and acting to conserve it, on the basis of formative experience" (Chawla, 1998). In recent decades, the promotion of environmental sensitivity has been recognized as a key goal of environmental education and is recognized as a growing area of research. The purpose of the research presented here was to explore the individual meanings of environmental sensitivity and the processes through which environmentalists became environmentally sensitive. This exploration was accomplished through an examination of the lives of four Japanese environmentalists. The research employed the multiple case study method, where the unit of analysis was the individual resident of western Japan and who was involved in environmental activities. The cases were selected with a snowball sampling process. In-depth interviews were conducted for the study and qualitative analysis was applied.

The findings underscore some of the contradictions posed by past studies. Previous research dealing with environmental sensitivity has typically focused on the single most important life experience predisposing individuals to become environmental activists or educators. However, the findings of the present research suggest that no "single" or "isolated" life experience led these individuals to become environmentally sensitive; rather, intricacies of various experiences developed "significance" through their lifetimes. Being environmentally sensitive has emerged as part of who they are, and the study subjects became who they are because of complex interactions among large numbers of life experiences and individuals’ interpretations these inputs. The research findings suggest some of the real world complexities that have been ignored in past studies. Alternative ways to conceptualize and study environmental sensitivity will be presented, as well as how this research relates to the future of environmental education.


Marianne Spitzform

900 N. Orange St. Suite 102 Missoula MT 59802

Human empathy and its potential application to human/wildlife conflict: Review and reflection

Empathy, a multi-dimensional concept, includes the human emotional experience of concern and compassion for others as well as a cognitive capacity for perspective taking.  Research links human-human empathy with cooperation and altruism and reduced levels of aggression.  It is not known whether human-wildlife empathy is also positively related to altruism towards non-human species.  Further, the specific components of empathy that might be most influential, whether cognitive or emotional, are not clear.  It is hypothesized that the components of empathy and links to other qualities such as compassion and altruism extend across species domains, and potential applications are considered.  A pilot study to investigate the validity of a brief written measure of human-wildlife empathy is described.

Shari Britner

Division of Educational Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322

The ethic of care in students' responses to environmental situations

A qualitative study investigated the moral reasoning of middle grade students in relation to environmental situations. Semi-structured interviews were administered to 49 black students and 32 white students in two urban middle schools. The interview presented students with environmental dilemmas, asked students to suggest solutions and to describe their reasoning. Responses were analyzed in terms of justice and care moral orientations described by Kohlberg (1984) and Gilligan (1982). The students' responses were strongly aligned toward the care orientation, with fifty-three students (65%) relying on this moral voice. Twenty-one students (26%) used both care and justice reasoning, and seven students (9%) used mainly justice reasoning to justify their suggested solutions. These findings support previous research in which students also favored an ethic of care to resolve environmental moral dilemmas (Beringer, 1994). The care orientation was slightly more prevalent among the black students, possibly reflecting the tradition of care in the African-American community (Ward, 1988, 1995). A slightly higher percentage of girls than boys used care reasoning, confirming that the voice of care tends to be used more frequently by girls than by boys (Gilligan, 1982).

This study alerts environmental educators and others to the moral perspectives from which students reason about environmental issues and to the possibility that environmental dimensions of moral dilemmas may elicit care-oriented reasoning. Further investigation into the influence of environmental moral conflicts on moral voice is indicated.

Glyn Thomas

Dept of Outdoor Education & Nature Tourism, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria 3552, Australia

Developing caring human-nature relationships

By encouraging people to develop a stronger ethic of care for non-human nature, it is hoped that more positive environmental practices may emerge. When exploring the intricacies of human-nature relationships, academics and practitioners have successfully used examples from interpersonal relationships as metaphoric tools. The paucity of specific research and writing on the nature of caring in human-nature relationships has necessitated this pragmatic use of theory from the interpersonal relationship fields. This paper continues this practice by explaining how basic theories and practices in human relationships counseling, used to improve interpersonal relationships, can also be used to help individuals improve their human-nature relationships.

Research indicates that psychologists, counselors, and other practitioners working in the helping professions often increase the effectiveness of their interventions and therapeutic relationships by using an eclectic approach. In eclectic practice, the specific and varied needs of the client are used to determine which theoretical orientation or orientations will provide the most positive outcome for the client or patient.

Educators and outdoor leaders who aim to develop human-nature relationships in their program participants can benefit from a similarly eclectic approach. Specific examples of how teachers and leaders can utilize a range of approaches to develop human-nature relationships will be provided drawing on the author's work with undergraduate students in the Department of Outdoor Education and Nature Tourism at La Trobe University in Bendigo, Australia. The Department has a twenty-year history in tertiary level outdoor education and its reputation is known throughout the world. The courses offered include a strong experiential component and focus on educating teachers and leaders who can help their participants develop positive relationships with nature and who can think critically about the implications of those relationships for the broader society


Gigi Berardi

Huxley College of Env. Studies, Western Washington Univ., Mail stop 9085, Bellingham, WA 98225

Cultures of natural resource management: Philosophical and practical considerations

Link to complete Berardi paper

Pasi Nuutilainen

920 Royal Ave. S.W., Apt. #302, Calgary AB Canada T2T 0L5

Finding our nature beyond the cultural filter

A cultural filter can be defined as the influence of the surrounding culture on the way we perceive, organize, and interpret information about our existence. It is a mental filter through which we experience reality and define ourselves, our motivations, actions, and goals. Four strains of thought have historically influenced and guided the Western culture, and continue to at present; they comprise the main facets of our cultural filter. They are:

1) A scientific understanding of reality;

2) An anthropocentric religious view;

3) A human-centred standpoint;

4) A material work ethic.

Due to the influence of the cultural filter, we think of nature as:

i) a mechanical entity that is predictable and controllable;

ii) subordinate to/separate from humans;

iii) less desirable than human-made objects and phenomena;

iv) a means to acquire material wealth and stature.

Each strain of thought abstracts and distances us from the reality of nature and our relationship with it. To try and fit earth-caring attitudes into the cultural filter is unsuccessful, as this only serves to further fragment the individual: so long as "greening oneself" is merely another thing to add to one‚s to-do list, little progress will be made because of the unsustainable structures, pursuits, and goals of the present culture, and the consequent influence of the cultural filter on the individual. An unsustainable culture makes for unsustainable individual behaviour.

What is necessary is to understand reality beyond the conceptual boundaries defined by the cultural filter, which means looking inward into oneself, and outward at "what is" with no attachments to cultural norms, definitions, or presuppositions. Through this action we come to understand the intimate connections between everything - human and non-human - and how they all contribute to life, and naturally develop a deep respect and understanding for life and all the processes around us.

Sergio Cristancho

University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana, 202 N. Coler Apt. B, Urbana, IL 61801

The cross-cultural issue in policy-making and management strategies involving symbolic plant species in the Amazon natives' territories

Any kind of local, regional, national or international policy and management strategy involving the use of plant species with a strong cultural meaning for indigenous societies should incorporate an active participation of these communities throughout the formulation and implementation process in order to avoid long-run undesirable social and cultural impacts. Unfortunately, this has not been the governments' prevailing practice. The importance of the relationship between native people of South America and the Coca plant as a pivotal element in the preservation of their social and cultural order is presented as a framework for developing knowledge and proposing alternatives of solution regarding this issue. Due to cross-cultural differences and the lack of a holistic understanding of the traditional use of Coca coming from the Western societies trying to meet the goal of "eradication", and also, the economic interests raised upon "industrialization" of other similar natural goods, Amazon indigenous communities have been historically going through a smooth but increasing process of social and cultural disintegration. Moreover, the actual psychosocial importance of the indigenous people's relationship with nature is examined as a means to widen the perspective about the significance of the traditional use of specific species, and the deleterious consequences of neglecting this fact. The case of a Uitoto community in the Colombian Amazon, where significant social, cultural, and health-related problems have occurred as a consequence of inadequate policy and historical exploitation concerning their plant species, is analyzed to illustrate this issue. The emphasis is placed not only upon potential causes such as the lack of acknowledgement that official institutions of control and private actors have given to the indigenous cultural practices but also upon the negative consequences that the derived problems have brought to Uitoto youth. Furthermore, some proposed mechanisms for creating and adapting policy and management plans involving natural resources in indigenous territories is discussed.

Oakley Gordon

Psychology Department, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT, 84720

Finding an epistemology that supports loving and caring about nature

An intellectual understanding of ecology may not provide sufficient motivation for people to behave in an environmentally healthy manner. What may also be required is an attitude of respect or love for the natural systems in which we operate. Western epistemology, however, is not well suited for the development of such an attitude. Through the contributions of Plato and Aristotle, the Bible, the Cartesian division of spirit and matter, and the subsequent development of scientific materialism we experience reality as an isolated consciousness interacting with a mechanical and devalued world. In such a reality, loving or respecting a tree is almost as ludicrous as loving a copy machine, the only difference being an intellectual awareness that we are--in the long run--more reliant upon the trees than upon office equipment.

If the problems we face in caring about nature are inherent in our epistemology, then an exploration of other epistemologies may provide solutions that would not be apparent within our own. For the past five years I have been studying the epistemology of people who live in remote areas in the Andes of Peru, in communities that are relatively isolated from Western culture. They operate within an epistemology that supports an entirely different relationship with nature, a relationship of mutual care and support. My task as a psychologist has been to identify those patterns of the Andean people's relationship with nature than can be incorporated into our society. To test the efficacy of these findings I have created a number of workshops for my students, and have been encouraged by how the workshops have influenced their relationships with nature. This paper will present some of the challenges, and some of the solutions, to transplanting elements of the Andean epistemology into our own.


Joanna Beyers

York University, 63 Ashburnham Road, Toronto ON, Canada M6H 2K4

Ecosystem stewardship and the care for nature: Charting the range of meanings in Canadian forestry

Ecosystem stewardship has become the new standard for natural resource management. The concept is ill-defined but an ideal of care for the natural world is central. Just how this ideal should be interpreted is also wide open. A study of the 50 submissions to the first phase of the Canadian Model Forest Program, a program begun in 1992 and designed to accelerate the implementation of sustainable forest management, indicates the range in meaning of 'care' for professional forest managers, policy makers, First Nations and community organizations. Submissions to the program fell into five categories with respect to their nature philosophy: values-based or unbundled forest management, ecocentrism, geo-ecocentrism, cosmocentrism and finally a modernistic, pre-sustainable development approach. Although the potential for the middle three philosophies to affect a changed human presence in forests is great, nine out of the 10 successful proposals were of the values-based variety. This type holds that humans are part of nature and recognizes the intrinsic value of forests, but it also builds on the humanistic, utilitarian tradition in the nature-human relationship. This is evident from its anthropocentric aims and the supposition that nature can be and has been invented by humans. Accordingly, forest managers who apply this notion of care view forest management planning as the creation of fibre baskets where desirable benefits and forest values are balanced with stakeholder interests and other forestry objectives. The success of this model in the program can be accounted for by its close fit with the needs of industrial forestry.

Cathy Setterlin

Antioche University New England, 20 Paper Mill Road, New Milford, Ct. 06776

Exploring the concept of land as a living community with land use decision makers in New Milford, Conn.

Land conservation and development is a hotly debated land use issue in many New England towns. The late twentieth century has seen the rise of ecological concern among local citizens as well as an ever-present desire for their towns to thrive economically. Local land trusts and open space advocates seek to protect land that developers claim for potential profits and tax dollars. However, little recognition is given to the land itself -- the living community of trees, grass, soil, rocks, streams, and animals which enables our successful human habitation.

Using a qualitative research approach I am proposing to explore the concept of land as a living community with local land use decision makers representing a range of land uses from conservation to development. They will each receive a study guide with excerpts from scholarly literature defining land as a living community and the services it provides, identifying the historical roots of land as property in New England, and discussing our connections and obligations to the land from several viewpoints. I will interview each person to elicit their response to the readings and clarify their point of view. Then I will invite them to a one session focus/dialogue group. My analysis follows three themes: 1) identifying the knowledge gained by exploring this concept with local land use decision makers, 2) interpreting and describing the views expressed by each participant, and 3) evaluating the public participation process.

I am confident this research will make a significant scholarly contribution to our understanding of the concept land as a living community as well as encourage this group of local citizens to identify, reflect on, and share the beliefs and values that define their connections to the land.

Joseph Reser

Dept. Applied Psychology, Univ. of Durham, Ebsworth Bldg, Univ. of Durham, Stockton Campus, University Boulevard, Thornaby, Stockton on Tees TS17 6BH England

Joan M. Bentrupperbäumer School of PSychology and Rainforest CRC, James Cook University

Unpackaging the nature and management implications of "environmental concern"

This paper examines the nature, use and meaning of 'environmental concern', and its importance as a central but to date atheoretical construct in those literatures addressing environmental attitudes and value. The argument is made that this expression is used to cover a multiplicity of meanings and functions and that little care has been taken to conceptually and operationally disentangle 'concern' from such constructs as environmental awareness, consciousness, knowledge, attitudes, values, perceived risk, or willingness to pay. The specific use and meaning of environmental concern in social science articles addressing environmental attitudes, values and concern is reviewed, with particular focus on conceptual definition and measurement. This is followed by a critical discussion of an encompassing perspective and theoretical model proposed by Stern and others relating to global environmental change and environmental concern. A logical consideration of the compass and domains of environmental concern is then provided, along with taxonomy of current use and meaning. The costs of the current state of affairs with respect to credible social science and psychological involvement in applied environmental research are briefly addressed, along with the practical requirement for meaningful measures of concern in the areas of environmental assessment and management. The paper explores basic requirements for an integrative model of environmental concern and outlines a pragmatic strategy for operationally defining environmental concern and concerns, and relating this construct to environmental assessment and behaviour change strategies.

Joanne Vining

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, 1201 S. Dorner Dr., Urbana, IL 61801

Joy Jo Ann Scrogum Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

Animals in human lives: Analyses of four text sources

The purpose of the analyses presented here was to explore the meaning of non-human animals in human lives. Separate qualitative analyses were conducted on four text-based data sets. The data sets included public commentary submitted to a National Forest during management plan development, personal environmental history interviews, process-tracing transcripts from environmental decision-making tasks, and written environmental autobiographies. References to non-human animals were retrieved from these data sets and subjected to qualitative analyses. Some results were consistent with previous studies of human-animal interactions, and others offer some new insights. Values associated with non-human animals include existence values, mastery/dominance, nurturance, morality, and communion with nature. Emotional reactions to animals were also analyzed.


Daphne Minner

Institute for Policy Research and Evaluation, Penn State University

104 Benedict House, University Park, PA 16802

Using human development theory to assess why environmental education curricula may be ineffective at creating conservation behaviors

The ultimate goal of environmental education is to produce environmentally responsible behavior, yet little systematic evaluation of the components of environmental education takes place. This paper presents findings from an interdisciplinary evaluation of 35 environmental education curricula, which is an initial step in the evaluation process. Two meta-theories of human development, Life-Span Perspective (Baltes, 1987) and Motivational Systems Theory (Ford, 1992), were used to develop a questionnaire to assess the quality of these curricula (i.e., content, contextual sensitivity, structure, developmental appropriateness). The questionnaire was reliable across time, and raters were able to distinguish between low, medium, and high quality curricula.

Findings indicate that a majority of the curricula reviewed do not incorporate knowledge, attitudes, and behavior within each lesson. Thus, the educational experience fails to engage the individual as a multi-faceted functional system. Most of the curricula address these components in separate lessons, if at all. Curricula do not tend to connect environmental issues and concepts to the daily lives of students.

The end result is a lack of deep understanding of issues and a lack of efficacy in dealing with environmental issues. Implications for creating conservation behavior through education will be discussed and suggested changes to current thinking about conservation/environmental education will be offered.

Carol Saunders

Communications Rsch, Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513

Andrej Birjulin, Todd Gieseke (Brookfield Zoo) & Lynd Bacon (Lynd Bacon Associates, Ltd.)

Can an exhibit affect visitor conservation behaviors?

A goal of many conservation organizations is to encourage people to care for the natural world by engaging in conservation behaviors. How do we know if we are succeeding? One precursor to environmentally-responsible behavior is the stated intention to do that behavior. The purpose of this study was to develop useful ways to measure behavioral intentions of zoo visitors, and determine whether an exhibit experience can influence such intentions.

The study took place near The Swamp exhibit at Brookfield Zoo. Two methods were used to explore visitors' interest in doing 22 different conservation behaviors: (a) interviews utilizing a card sort activity (N = 400), and (b) forced-choice surveys (N = 760). There were 14 behaviors specifically related to wetland conservation and 8 control behaviors.

The card sorting activity asked visitors to divide the 22 behaviors into three piles: (1) behaviors they had done in the past six months, (2) behaviors they were interested in doing, and (3) behaviors they were not interested in doing. Information was also collected about level of commitment and barriers to action. For the survey method, visitors rated their degree of interest in doing each behavior on a four-point scale. A subset of participants was interviewed over the telephone at a later date to further examine the link between intention and actual behavior.

Item Response Theory and factor analytic techniques were utilized to examine the relative difficulty of the behaviors and underlying dimensions. Results indicated that interest in doing certain wetland-related behaviors was significantly higher for people who spent a lot of time in the Swamp exhibit. Controlling for key psychographic characteristics, an analysis of covariance confirmed that this was a true exhibit effect. The behavior-focused approach of this study has implications for how to select which behaviors to target, and how to measure the effectiveness of conservation programs in general. Funding was provided by the USDA Forest Service.

Ben Tyson

Communication Department, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley St., New Britain CT 06050

S. Broderick, L. Kane & T. Worthley, University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System

Lessons learned promoting forest stewardship

Outreach is an integral part of conservation efforts in the 40,000 acre Eight Mile River watershed in south-central Connecticut. A four-year effort, cooperatively implemented by The Connecticut Cooperative Extension System and The Nature Conservancy, has sought to foster greater stewardship among private forest landowners. Campaign goals included: (1) increasing knowledge about forest stewardship, (2) creating positive attitudes toward stewardship planning, and (3) increasing the adoption of stewardship planning behaviors, particularly the development of formal, cost-shared forest stewardship plans. The campaign incorporated development and direct mailing of a video and stewardship planning manual, semi-annual field tours of the watershed, and the use of local media (Tyson, Broderick, and Snyder, 1998). This study reports findings from an evaluation of the campaign's progress.

Results pertaining to knowledge and attitudes were promising. Landowners' use of information about forest stewardship doubled. Additionally, they increased their appreciation of the importance of forest stewardship to the environmental health of the greater watershed community. Findings relating to behavior goals were mixed. While the number of formal plans developed during the project exceed statewide averages, they fell short of campaign goals. Many landowners did not take advantage of the opportunity to develop a formal plan with the help of a professional forester through the cost-sharing program. Instead, they conducted forest inventories and developed plans on their own.

Evaluation suggests that campaigns like this can be effective at attaining some but not all goals. Given that limited resources are available in most regions for promoting forest stewardship, educational resources might best be directed to providing landowerns with the knowledge and skills needed for planning in a less formal, more autonomous manner.

Amara Brook

University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Dana Building, 430 East University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1115

Landowner responses to an Endangered Species Act listing: Some psychological dimensions

Conserving private land is critical for meeting species conservation goals. Many rare species primarily inhabit private lands (GAO, 1994). The primary federal wildlife policy that affects private lands is the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Little empirical research exists concerning how private landowners respond to ESA listings. Do they, for example, help species recover, or eliminate the species from their property due to fear of regulation? Understanding the effects of the ESA on landowner behavior may lead to more effective private land conservation interventions.

This study empirically investigates landowner responses to the listing of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) as threatened under the ESA. Three primary questions were addressed: 1) How are landowners responding to the listing? 2) Can distinct subgroups of landowners be identified to which specific interventions may be directed?; and, 3) What types of interventions might be most successful in encouraging landowners to protect the species? These questions were addressed using interviews and a standardized questionnaire.

Results indicate that an approximately equal proportion of landowners engage in land management behaviors that are helpful and detrimental to Preble's mouse protection. This suggests that the ESA is having a net neutral effect on species' survival prospects. How might this situation be improved? A social marketing approach may offer promise. Based on agricultural occupation, parcel size, and residence on the land, landowners, despite diverse interests, could be divided into relatively homogeneous subgroups. These grouping variables predict differences in social and community ties, conservation orientation to land, expertise in land management, and financial stake in land. Recommended types of interventions, based on the characteristics of each group, are suggested.


Kate Wayne

Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University, mail stop 9087, Bellingham, WA, 98225

Stripmining the morality of place: Renegotiating a Post/Modernist perspective of time, space and context Place differs from landscape, habitat, or environment in that it reflects a moral/ethical system which guides specific worldviews. For a number of indigenous peoples, the concept of people existing outside of Place and being valued exclusive of Place speaks to an amoral, non-centered existence. A temporal perspective (emphasizing, for example, progress and anthropocentrism) denies the highly interactive relationship between the natural landscape, in its role as caretaker of the people, and the people, as children of the landscape, which results in the concept of Place. Instead, a temporal perspective replaces that role with another, that of resource material and technological fodder. In this paper, I do not wish to romanticize indigenous peoples but to emphasize a spatial worldview which reflects a Batesonian perspective, redefines context, and which differs from and falls prey to multinational corporations and politicians. This paper includes, among others, the work of Vine De Loria, Keith H. Basso, Paula Gunn-Allen, Winona LaDuke, Gustavo Esteva, and Jose Maria Sbert.

Susie Ellis

CBSG/IUCN/SSC, 138 Strasburg Reservoir Road, Strasburg, VA 22657

Susie Ellis1, Frances Westley2, Robert Lacy3, Jonathan Ballou4 and Ulysses S. Seal5

  1. Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, IUCN/SSC, 138 Strasburg Reservoir Road, Strasburg VA 22657
  2. McGill University, Faculty of Management, 1001 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5, CANADA
  3. Chicago Zoological Society, 3300 Golf Road, Chicago, IL 60513
  4. National Zoological Park, Dept. of Zoological Research, 3001 Connecticut Avenue,



    Washington, DC 20008

  6. Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, IUCN/SSC, 12101 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley MN 55124
Social dynamics in strategic conservation planning: Lessons from the field

Strategic planning initiatives for conservation action have traditionally focused on the biology of the species or biological system in question. However, such initiatives often have been carried out in the absence of consideration of the parallel systems dynamics at play among varied stakeholders. The Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of the IUCN World Conservation Union has developed a series of scientific workshop processes designed to facilitate positive conservation action, involving a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in the future of the species or biological system in question. One of these processes, the Population and Habitat Viability Assessment (PHVA), involves expert facilitation with intensive examination of existing published and unpublished data, use of a neutral computer simulation modeling tool to examine the assumptions and complexities of existing conditions and management strategies on the risk of extinction, as well as sensitivity analyses to examine potential effects of alternative management activities. The social context of these processes provides a non-hierarchical environment for communication, analysis and collaborative thinking that leads to mutual understanding of stakeholder perspectives, development of realistic and achievable conservation action plans and, often, new collaborative partnerships. Group dynamics in each workshop, following a predictable pattern described in the social psychology and organizational management literature, will be described. This paper will discuss examples focusing on the human dimensions/systems in workshops involving several of the most threatened species in the world, including the endangered cheetah (Namibia), and the critically endangered Eld’s deer (Myanmar) and Ethiopian wolf (Ethiopia), as well as others.

Beth Covitt

School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Dana Building, 430 East University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1115

Link to complete Covitt paper

Being asked versus being told: A proposed study to evaluate the effects of mandating service-learning

Service-learning has been defined as "the various pedagogies that link community service and academic study so that each strengthens the other" (Ehrlich, 1996). Proponents of service-learning believe this pedagogical method will lead to better citizens and better societies. Placed within an environmental context, this sounds much like the overarching goal of EE. Thus, environmental service-learning seems like a good choice for fostering environmental citizenship behaviors. However, many questions about the most effective means of teaching service-learning courses have yet to be answered.

One issue currently in hot debate concerns mandating service-learning. Proponents of mandatory service-learning believe that mandating service will foster civic engagement among students. Alternatively, opponents cite evidence that external pressures or requirements for service behaviors might actually alienate some students from future service.

For my dissertation, I will conduct a field experiment in middle school classrooms using an environmental service-learning curriculum. The study will address whether potential negative effects of mandating service can be alleviated by providing students with opportunities to make meaningful choices and decisions within their mandated service-learning experiences.

Although this study will focus on mandating service-learning in schools, the question also speaks to broader issues. For instance, research suggests that mandating or providing strong external incentives for behaviors can reduce individuals' willingness to learn and perform many tasks and can even inhibit their creativity. What does this mean for communities considering making recycling or water-consumption limitations mandatory? How might mandating pro-environmental behaviors affect individuals' willingness to be proactive and creative about solving environmental problems that we face? This study will begin to address the question of whether we can make mandates seem "less mandatory" by providing opportunities for choice, creativity, and meaningful participation within pro-environmental requirements.

Kate Irvine

School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Dana Building, 430 East University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1115

Raymond de Young, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

Perceptions of consumption: An empirical analysis

Findings from a recent study (Merck Family Fund 1995) indicate that people have an intuitive understanding that current patterns of resource use harm the environment and can negatively impact their own well-being. This study explored this intuitive understanding of the relationship between consumption and the environment.

Two groups participated in the study: non-experts and experts. The non-experts were students in environmental studies courses. Experts were drawn from three fields considered relevant to the relationship between consumption and the environment: population studies, technology (e.g., engineering), and several social sciences (e.g., history, psychology). Participant's perspectives on the relationship between consumption and the environment were explored through use of the conceptual content cognitive map (3CM) method, a technique that assesses an individual's understanding of a conceptual issue. The 3CM method generated a map-like representation of how each participant understood the issue of consumption and the environment. General themes were identified through analysis of these individual representations in order to obtain an overall picture of the variety of ways in which the issue might be understood.

Several themes were identified, including the role of decisions made at the individual level (e.g., amount consumed), forces external to the individual (e.g., efficient technology, population pressure), and the impacts of consumption on the environment. Comparisons were made among the different groups to identify overlap and divergence in understanding of the issue. Not surprisingly, experts had a richer and more complex understanding of the issue than college students. Expected differences among the experts, however, were not present. Findings have implications for educational programs designed to encourage sustainable resource patterns of consumption.


Mike Cohen

Institute of Global Education, PO Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Allison Weeks ( and John Scull

The science of nature connected psychology: Using sensory, global consciousness as a tool for motivating sustainable behaviors in society

Biologically and psychologically people are part of nature, the intelligent, ever-balancing, ancient web of life that communicates within itself and creates through non-verbal attractions.

But our world is dangerously out of balance. How? Why?

A deep fear generated by our nature-separated society causes us to live, on average, more than 99% of our lives without conscious sensory contact with the web. This excessive separation from nature causes deep psychological addictions that we seldom address and that prevent us from reasonably changing our ways.

Psychological tools are available that have the ability to facilitate a shift in our society by motivating people to make choices that promote a balanced global life community. Through teachable sensory nature activities, the Natural Systems Thinking Process experientially and scientifically helps us reconnect our psyches with the wise and nurturing Web of Life. We replace our destructive subconscious addictions with unifying passions that produce responsible attitudes. Our hopes become reality. Responsible personal, social and environmental relationships arise by restoring this missing link in the way we think.

Oakley Gordon

Psychology Department, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 84720

An intimate connection with nature: Teaching Andean epistemology to Westerners

An exploration of the epistemology of people who live in remote areas in the Andes of Peru reveals an attitude towards Nature and the Cosmos that is mutually supportive and loving. The relationship is not only supportive of the environment, it is also therapeutic for the individual. It arises within a culture that has a fundamentally different epistemology than our own. Without common reference experiences it is very difficult--if not impossible--to fully communicate their world-view. This workshop will provide the participants with the opportunity to touch lightly upon the Andean experience of their relationship with Nature. The approach is based upon five years of research with people indigenous to the high Andes of Peru, and three years of teaching the products of that research to others. As the focus of the workshop is on experience--rather than on intellectual discourse--it should only be attended by individuals who are comfortable with learning through experiential, meditative, processes (which are the closest Western representations of the experience).


Elaine Atkinson

Coastal Research Laboratory, School of Environmental Studies, University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry BT52 1SA NORTHERN IRELAND

J.A.G. Cooper and D.A. Eastwood

Public attitudes and perceptions of the coastal environment

To formulate and implement an effective policy for coastal zone management, it is necessary to identify and consider the public's attitudes and perceptions of the coastal environment. This will ensure that managers are in a better position to understand any social impacts of specific coastal developments.

Since different priorities, demands and concerns, will shape the way individuals perceive the acceptability of different types of recreational development, a comparative study between visitors and locals was carried out on the NW coast of Ireland. Information was first collected on how each group views beaches and dunes. Aspects covered included; attitudes towards acceptable types and levels of usage at the coast, perceptions of coastal problems and awareness of who or what is to blame, and their understanding of what is the most suitable solution(s) to the perceived problems. The second section involved an analysis of the pre-conditioning factors that influence people's perceptions and appreciation of the coastal landscape - i.e. why do they hold such views? Background information on each respondent, was thus collected. Parameters included; gender, age, occupation, home area, number of children, level of education and familiarity with the coastline.

Recent research has suggested that by examining not only attitudes, but also associated motives and values, a better understanding can be made of environment-related behaviour and can lead to new approaches in conservation. For this reason, and since initial analysis did not reveal any significant patterns in responses when subdivided along the traditional socio-economic lines, a complementary analysis of the respondent's psychological profile was required. What respondents value and how they care about their environment, could be important in determining how an impact situation is perceived and defined. This information was collected by a psychometric test, inserted into the survey. This test assessed and classified the individual on certain personality traits. The results obtained and their implications for management of the coast, will be discussed.