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Published Online: 27 September 2010

Conservation Volunteers' Connection to Nature

Publication: Ecopsychology
Volume 1, Issue Number 4

Abstract

A better understanding of conservation volunteers' motivation can provide insight into the relationship between humans and nature and help conservation programs increase their effectiveness. We used surveys and interviews of Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteers to explore conservation volunteers' psychological connection to nature. Almost all volunteers felt a connection to nature, and for most of them, this connection began in childhood. Their desires to learn about, benefit, and teach others about nature were important motivators in their decision to take part in conservation volunteer programs, and volunteering helped them to stay connected to nature. Their volunteer activities addressed these motivations and also provided other personal benefits, including stress reduction, relaxation, and exercise. It is important that conservation volunteer programs share information about the environmental benefits that result from volunteers' work, helping them understand the results of their collective action and thus increasing their motivation to volunteer.

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Information

Published In

cover image Ecopsychology
Ecopsychology
Volume 1Issue Number 4December 2009
Pages: 187 - 197

History

Published online: 27 September 2010
Published ahead of print: 22 March 2010
Accepted: 19 January 2010
Published in print: December 2009
Received: 14 August 2009

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Margaret Savanick Guiney
Conservation Biology Program, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Karen S. Oberhauser
Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Dr. Margaret Savanick GuineyConservation Biology ProgramUniversity of Minnesota1980 Folwell AveSt. Paul, MN 55108E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist for either of the authors. Human subjects research approved by the University of Minnesota (IRB# 0601E80786).

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