Presenter's Name(s)

Rachel PiersonFollow

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Kris Stepenuck

Status

Graduate

Student College

Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources

Program/Major

Natural Resources

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Presentation Title

The Role of Place Attachment in Volunteer Monitoring: A Transnational Study of Engaging Volunteers

Time

12:10 PM

Location

Jost Foundation Room

Abstract

While many studies have identified motivations for public participation in scientific research, few have sought to understand the role that place attachment may play as a potential driver of initial or sustained participation. This study will apply a mixed-method approach to assess and compare the motivations of new and continuing volunteers in stream-based water monitoring programs in three countries: the United States, Canada, and New Zealand via: 1) surveys of stream-based volunteer monitoring groups, and 2) follow-up interviews with a subset of survey participants. Survey data collected to assess volunteer motivations will incorporate place attachment items as a metric to determine volunteers’ level of attachment with a particular site or stream. Interviews will be used to expand upon survey results. This research aims to determine the extent to which place attachment influences participants’ decision to volunteer, and if the level of such attachment may change over time. Subsequently, advocacy for protection of local natural areas is a potential benefit of volunteer monitoring that may be influenced by volunteers’ attachment to a specific site or place. Volunteer monitoring programs could be strengthened by focusing on the aspects of volunteering that draw participants and keep them engaged as well as identifying if place attachment has an influence on creating support to protect local natural areas.

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The Role of Place Attachment in Volunteer Monitoring: A Transnational Study of Engaging Volunteers

While many studies have identified motivations for public participation in scientific research, few have sought to understand the role that place attachment may play as a potential driver of initial or sustained participation. This study will apply a mixed-method approach to assess and compare the motivations of new and continuing volunteers in stream-based water monitoring programs in three countries: the United States, Canada, and New Zealand via: 1) surveys of stream-based volunteer monitoring groups, and 2) follow-up interviews with a subset of survey participants. Survey data collected to assess volunteer motivations will incorporate place attachment items as a metric to determine volunteers’ level of attachment with a particular site or stream. Interviews will be used to expand upon survey results. This research aims to determine the extent to which place attachment influences participants’ decision to volunteer, and if the level of such attachment may change over time. Subsequently, advocacy for protection of local natural areas is a potential benefit of volunteer monitoring that may be influenced by volunteers’ attachment to a specific site or place. Volunteer monitoring programs could be strengthened by focusing on the aspects of volunteering that draw participants and keep them engaged as well as identifying if place attachment has an influence on creating support to protect local natural areas.