Many people choose to volunteer at park stewardship events for a variety of reasons and motivations. Motivations have been greatly explored in many different research contexts, with an emerging interest in environmental volunteers. In conjunction with examining motivations, researchers have also explored factors linked to the level of commitment of volunteers. I Love My Park Day is an annual event where volunteers devote their time to environmental stewardship at New York State Parks. This event has occurred every year since 2012, attracting thousands of volunteers statewide each year. Although the event has had continued success, little is known about the motivations and level of commitment of the volunteers who partake in this day of stewardship. This study used an in-person survey to explore volunteer motivations and commitment for participating in the event. On the day of the event, surveys were distributed to all volunteer participants over the age of 18 in state parks participating in I Love My Park Day, excluding museums and historic sites, located in New York State’s Central Region. The questionnaire included a series of motivation statements using a five-point agreement scale (as per Bruyere & Rappe, 2007), as well as questions regarding demographics, past involvement with I Love My Park Day, and past involvement with other environmental stewardship events. Means were calculated for each variable and factor. Regressions and ANOVAs were performed to identify significant relationships or differences between certain demographic characteristics and motivations, level of commitment, and past involvement. In addition, content analysis of one open-ended question was performed to identify the most important reason why volunteers chose to take part in the event. The factor “helping the environment” was the most important motivation for responding volunteers. Significant differences were found between age groups for career motivations. The most important reason for volunteers to participate in the event (based on written responses) was their frequent use of the park at which they were volunteering. This information may help those in charge of managing the event to better promote it to volunteers, and to make adjustments to future events to increase volunteer satisfaction by better matching motivations to volunteers. Furthermore, attempting to appeal to more volunteers can lead to an increase in the number of projects and work being done at the parks during the event, and can help promote the stewardship of New York State Parks.
|Advisor:||Kuehn, Diane M.|
|Commitee:||Folta, Beth, Hughes, Tom|
|School:||State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry|
|Department:||Forest Resources Management|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 56/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Environmental volunteer, Motivations, New York State, State parks, Stewardship|
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