Public engagement is essential to conserving biodiversity. We are embarking on empirical research coupling environmental education, citizen science, and stewardship including the following lines of inquiry:
1) What social and intellectual benefits do people receive from naturalist training and public participatory research?
2) What motivates people to participate in environmental education, citizen science and stewardship activities?
3) What are the barriers to engagement and what interventions can increase engagement?
4) What experiences promote self-efficacy for improved environmental behavior and action?
5) How do naturalist communities of practice improve outcomes for participants, citizen science efforts, and the environment?
6) What are the conservation impacts of naturalist communities?
The California Naturalist program is an ideal framework to examine these questions as it includes participation at multiple scales by diverse institutions and participants who are engaged in a wide range of activities.
See the California Naturalist Website