The use of citizen science in the field of conservation has expanded rapidly recently; with that expansion has come a heightened awareness of the role that citizen science can play in conservation beyond providing large-scale data. Here, I explore butterfly citizen science projects in the United States and the conservation outcomes produced by butterfly citizen science volunteers. Chapter 1 explores the current state of conservation education among butterfly citizen science projects. Chapter 2 surveys volunteers from multiple projects to determine the conservation actions in which they engage, how their participation in conservation has changed over time, and the volunteer and project characteristics that are correlated with those changes. Chapter 3 addresses the potential for citizen science volunteers to create and maintain habitat as a direct component of their participation in a project, and to engage in other forms of conservation outside of a project; this chapter also compares the conservation actions of citizen scientists to those of habitat conservation volunteers. Finally, Chapter 4 applies the findings of the first three chapters to an evaluation of the conservation education programming of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project. Taken together, the results of this work clearly indicate that 1) butterfly citizen science projects are using a number of different methods to inform their volunteers about conservation and encourage their participation in conservation actions, 2) citizen science volunteers are actively participating in habitat conservation and conservation outreach, and 3) volunteers’ participation in conservation increases after joining a citizen science project. Throughout the dissertation chapters, I provide recommendations to project managers for promoting conservation actions among volunteers.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. March 2016. Major: Conservation Biology. Advisor: Karen Oberhauser. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 131 pages.
Using Butterfly Citizen Science to Increase Participation in Conservation.
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