Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Florida Master Naturalist Program: The Motivations, Psychological Benefits, and Climate Change Perceptions of Program Participants
by Newberry, Milton G., III, Ph.D., University of Florida, 2015, 215; 10679157
Abstract (Summary)

The Florida Master Naturalist Program has grown in popularity and enrollment. Participants are known to contribute to various organizations in the state through activities such as educational programming. Determining what draws adults to join this program and what they gain from it can help guide module development and assess program outcomes. Determining global warming perceptions can help gauge whether participants would address this or similar issues with Florida residents.

This study aimed to determine the motivations, psychological benefits, and global warming perceptions of master naturalist volunteers. The questionnaire included the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) modified for this study, a scale on psychological benefits of participating in conservation stewardship programs, the Six Americas scale, and items on participant demographics. The sampled population was 3904 Florida Master Naturalists with a total response rate of 46.11%. The majority of respondents were female, white, age 61 years or older, earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, and were very satisfied with the program. Forty-one percent of respondents stated participant tenure at 2-4 years and over 50% spending 5 or more hours over the past month in activities where they use their FMN knowledge.

Respondents felt Helping the Environment and Learning were very important motivators for joining the program. Meanwhile, respondents agreed that Exploration was a pertinent psychological benefit of participating in the FMNP. Many respondents fell in the Alarmed and Concerned audience segment for the Six Americas scale. Age played a significant role in the Career motivation for joining the FMNP. Educational level was a significant predictor of the Values, Career, and Social motivations. Motivations were significant predictors of their congruent psychological benefits.

Age, Helping the Environment motivation and psychological benefit, and the Career motivation significantly predicted FMNP tenure variable. Helping the Environment psychological benefit, Exploration psychological benefit, and the Social motivation significantly predicted Hours spent in the Past Month variable. Due to the growth of the program and its impact on Florida residents, FMNP developers should consider the motivations, psychological benefits, and global warming perceptions to market the program, influence module development, and evaluate program outcomes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Israel, Glenn D.
Commitee: Harder, Amy, Monroe, Martha, Roberts, T. Grady
School: University of Florida
Department: Agricultural Education and Communication
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 79/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Climate Change, Environmental education, Natural Resource Management
Keywords: theory of planned behavior
Publication Number: 10679157
ISBN: 9780355401776
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