Citizen science is an emerging approach to conducting research in the National Parks System. As National Parks work to cultivate stewards for the parks’ second century, this strategy may support scientific efforts while educating, engaging, and connecting participants with parks. Citizen science enlists the public in elements of the research process, providing valuable scientific insights and a unique educational experience for participants. As this practice is increasingly leveraged, it is important in understanding both the impact for participants and its effectiveness as an engagement strategy for the National Park Service moving forward, gaining a sense for how participating may foster bonds with place and inspire stewardship deserves additional research, particularly in National Parks. Accordingly, this phenomenological study examined 22 undergraduate and graduate students contributing to citizen science in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Participants were members of the Rocky Mountain Sustainability and Science Network, an organization introducing students to science using citizen science observations and databases. Pre-post surveys and focus groups were used to investigate place attachment and stewardship motivations of the students. Findings indicate a shift toward greater place attachment and stronger stewardship desires following the experience. Additionally, factors including the social element, hiking, aesthetics of the location, and learning opportunities were viewed as strong contributors to the shift. While additional research is needed, these findings support citizen science as a technique that offers participants a rich science experience that encourages place attachment and stewardship while serving as an effective tool to promote science and stewardship for the National Parks.
|Commitee:||Bowser, Gillian, Crimmins, Theresa, Dunlap, Julie|
|Department:||Education / Sustainability Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social research, Environmental education, Education|
|Keywords:||Citizen science, Grand teton, National parks, Place attachment, Stewardship, Yellowstone|
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