Conservation Volunteers’ Connection to Nature

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Conservation Volunteers’ Connection to Nature

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St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota Extension Service




A better understanding of conservation volunteers’ motivation can provide insight into the relationship between humans and nature and help conservation programs increase their 9 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 desire 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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Guiney, Peggy; Blair, Rob; Lorek Strauss, Andrea; Meyer, Nate; Oberhauser, Karen; Ragar, Amy. (2009). Conservation Volunteers’ Connection to Nature. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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