Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation

Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation addresses the relationship of people to the land and wildlife. In this series, we introduce you to the subject through educational broadcasts. The broadcasts provide up-to-date academic theory and on-the-ground natural resource management examples.

Please also view our webinar series.

Human Dimensions Broadcast Recordings

A Dose of the Outdoors: The Connection Between Nature and Human Health (00:43:10)

Hear about research studies that prove how nature positively affects human health and well-being with host Danielle Ross-Winslow, USFWS, Social Scientist, Department of Human Dimensions (NRPC), Natural Resources Program Center and presenters Dr. Frances (Ming) Kuo, Georgia Jeppesen, and Robin Will. August 4, 2016.

Millions of Americans are in poor health and most major health problems, including those related to physical, mental, and social well-being, may be attributed to environmental causes. By the same token, environmental factors may also enhance health. There are multiple studies that prove how nature positively affects human health and well-being. In this broadcast, we will hear about these research studies. We will also hear from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service practitioners who are working with health professionals and neighboring refuge communities on efforts to improve human health by connecting people with nature. Promoting links between nature and health could play a critical role in growing support for conservation and the protection of natural areas for our health and enjoyment.

Presenters: Dr. Frances (Ming) Kuo, NRES, Associate Professor & Director, Landscape and Human Health Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Georgia Jeppesen, USFWS, Team Lead, Career Awareness Branch, Division of Education and Outreach, National Conservation Training Center; Robin Will, USFWS, Supervisory Refuge Ranger, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Host: Danielle Ross-Winslow, USFWS, Social Scientist, Department of Human Dimensions (NRPC), Natural Resources Program Center.

Collaborative Conservation for Collective Impact 01:03:46

What do you do when the only way to achieve your conservation goals is by working with others? Throughout the Service and across the conservation community, we’re increasingly recognizing that we have to collaborate to achieve desired outcomes at larger scales. The issues we face are complex and cut across jurisdictions, disciplines, organizations, and boundaries. Collaborating with others can be challenging, especially when our neighbors have different interests and needs or there is a history of conflict. However, when we work to find common ground and focus on relationships, collaboration can generate creative and durable solutions to some of our most difficult conservation problems.

In this broadcast, we will dive into key aspects of collaborative conservation, a term often used to describe work with private landowners, state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and others to achieve collective impacts. We will hear from social scientist Wylie Carr about some key concepts for successful collaboration, followed by perspectives from the field with Heidi Keuler, Fish Habitat Biologist and Fishers and Farmers Partnership Coordinator, as well as Todd Sutphin from the Iowa Soybean Association. Video recorded August 1, 2018.

**The link for the survey mentioned in the recording was for the live broadcast only and is no longer available.


Wylie Carr, Ph.D
Social Scientist, Southeast Region 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Heidi Keuler
Fish Habitat Biologist, Midwest Region 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Fishers and Farmers Partnership

Todd Sutphin
Senior Operations Manager, 
Environmental Programs and Services 
Iowa Soybean Association 
Fishers and Farmers Partnership


Kaylin Clements 
Social Scientist, Human Dimensions Branch Natural Resource Program Center 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Community-Based Social Marketing - Behavior Change Strategies That Work (01:02:09)

Human Dimensions Broadcast Series. Hosted by Kaylin Clements, USFWS & presented by Lori Large, Dir. of Research Operations, Action Research & Susan Burks, Forestry Invasive Species Program Coord., MN Dept. of Natural Resources. November 17, 2016.

As conservationists, it seems we spend a lot of time encouraging people to “do” things like bring reusable bags when they go to the grocery store, pick up trash around campsites so wildlife isn’t attracted, remove mud from boots or clean gear to stop the spread of invasives. Sometimes, it may feel that these efforts aren’t working as well as we would hope. So, what really works to influence people’s behavior to act responsibly? How do we instill awareness and commitment to take environmentally responsible action? In this broadcast, we will explore the principles and strategies of community-based social marketing, an approach to behavior change based in behavioral psychology and general marketing principles. We’re not talking about Facebook, Twitter, or other social media marketing. We are talking about an approach that has been successfully applied across the U.S. and the globe, including nationwide efforts by USFWS and partners to eradicate invasive species. Learn from our expert panelists how you can use behavior change strategies that work.

Embracing the Cultural Diversity of our Visitors and Stakeholders (01:13:31)

Presented by Myron Floyd, PhD, NCSU, Prof./Director of Graduate Programs, Depart. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Mgmt.; Iantha Gantt-Wright, MSA Founder and President of The Kenian Group; Lamar Gore, USFWS, NE RO, Chief, Diversity and Civil Rights. December 2012

An effective conservation strategy includes engagement of people within diverse populations. To be relevant, we need to be innovative, resourceful and also respectful of what’s important to the people we are attempting to reach. Welcoming all groups and individuals, including those who traditionally may not be as directly connected. In this broadcast, we will more clearly define what we mean by diversity which encompasses culture, ethnicity, economics, age, gender, ability, and explore ways to foster inclusion for conservation. The broadcast also includes an interactive round table discussion with the host and viewers asking the panel about their experiences with embracing diversity for conservation.

Engaging with Urban Communities: Connecting People, Conservation & Public Land Agencies (01:09:10)

Presented by Flisa Stevenson, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Refuge Visitor Services; Gus Medina, Cornell University - Expanding Capacity in Environmental Education Project; Chantel Jimenez, San Diego NWR Complex. May 24, 2012.

This broadcast will focus on "place-based" urban conservation connections: who are some target audiences, why the environment matters to them and how we can become more involved with urban communities. In part one of the session, our presenters will introduce you to urban communities and how we can connect with them. Part two is an interactive round table discussion, with the host and viewers ( through email at broadcast@fws.go ) asking the panel specific questions about linking public lands programs with conservation and urban communities.

Humans, Wildlife, and Their Shared Health (00:46:00)

Presented by Kirsten Leong, PhD, NPS, Human Dimensions Program Manger; Samantha Gibbs, DVM PhD, USFWS, Wildlife Veterinarian. September 23, 2015.

Human-wildlife interactions such as injuries and wildlife disease outbreaks can be economically, socially, medically, and environmentally costly. With the recognition that human, animal, and environmental health are interconnected, interdisciplinary fields and approaches like One Health have emerged to inform policy, expand scientific knowledge, and address sustainability challenges. In this broadcast, we will discuss some of the challenges for land management agencies to maintain wildlife health and manage human wildlife interactions and the social considerations that impact this work. The broadcast also includes an interactive round table discussion with the host and viewers asking the panel about their experiences.

Upon completion of this series, you will be able to:

  • Define human dimensions relative to maintaining wildlife health and managing human ildlife interactions;
  • Identify examples of social considerations that affect the management of human-wildlife,
  • interaction on public lands, such as on a National Wildlife Refuges, and
  • Locate resources related to human dimensions of natural resources conservation and for use in further research and application.

Land Ethic Leaders: Aldo Leopold's Land Ethic for Today (01:18:13)

Presented by Jennifer Kobylecky, Education Coordinator, Aldo Leopold Foundation and Jeannine Richards, Communications Coordinator, Aldo Leopold Foundation. October 23, 2013.

In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold set forth his most enduring idea, the “land ethic,” a moral responsibility of humans to the natural world. Aldo Leopold’s land ethic idea is extremely relevant in today’s society, but it can be difficult to define, discuss, and implement. As Leopold himself suggested, a land ethic must evolve by people considering and discussing what it means.

During the hour-long broadcast, we will introduce you to the “land ethic” and the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s Land Ethic Leaders program. We’ll explore Leopold’s ideas in greater depth and explain how environmental education containing observation, participation and reflection can lead to greater engagement in conservation. We will also provide an overview of the Land Ethic Leaders workshop and how you can participate in the future.

Landscape Conservation Design: Conserving Sustainable Landscapes for Natural Resources and People (01:12:19)

Hosted by Sarena Selbo, Chief, Branch of Conservation Planning and Design, USFWS, National Wildlife Refuge System. Presented by Rob Campellone, Landscape Conservation Design Policy Advisor, USFWS, National Wildlife Refuge System; Thomas Miewald, Landscape Ecologist, USFWS, North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative and the National Wildlife Refuge System; and Charlie Pelizza, Refuge Manager, USFWS, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. February 12, 2014.

Conserving sustainable landscapes in the 21st century is a significant challenge that requires a fundamental shift in thinking and action, addressing both social and ecological systems. "Landscape conservation design" involves intentional human changes to landscape patterns to sustainably provide ecosystem services that meet societal needs and respect societal values. This paradigm is innately interdisciplinary and partner-driven, involving diverse stakeholders, who plan, identify and implement strategies across the landscape to achieve diverse goals. In this broadcast, we will explore the "why," the "what" and the "how" of landscape conservation design, focusing on addressing both the ecological and human dimensions needed to achieve sustainable landscapes. The broadcast also includes an interactive round table discussion with the host and viewers asking the panel about their experiences with landscape conservation design and conserving sustainable landscapes.

Nature-Based Tourism and Economic Benefits (01:25:18)

This is the first program in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Conservation series. Presenters: Nancy Milar, Texas Convention & Visitors Bureau; Ted Eubanks, Fermata; Toni Westland, FWS. Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation addresses the relationship of people to the land and wildlife. Through understanding matters such as human values, cultural ecology, sense of place and economics, we are better prepared to effectively manage and conserve our natural resources. The Fish and Wildlife Service mission speaks to this as we strive to protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. February 2, 2012

The Nature of Americans: Disconnection and Reconnection (01:01:44)

Presented by Dave Case, President, DJ Case and Associates;  Kristen Gilbert, Chief, Communications and Digital Services Branch, Division of Visitor Services and Communications, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: and Tylar Green, Public Affairs Specialist, Northeast Region, External Affairs, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. August 17, 2017

What is the state of Americans’ connection to nature? How do we overcome disconnection? The Nature of Americans National Report: Disconnection and Recommendations for Reconnection reveals important insights from a study of nearly 12,000 adults, children, and parents, and provides recommendations to open the outdoors for all. Findings show that Americans from all backgrounds increasingly face barriers to spending time outside. More than half of adults reported spending five hours or less in nature each week and feeling satisfied with this amount, but also lamenting that children today are growing up with limited opportunities to experience nature. There is a disconnect here: just because people recognize the importance of nature, they do not necessarily actively seek ways to incorporate it into their lives. The key is to identify opportunities to help Americans overcome this gap between interest in nature and action. This broadcast will feature experts in public affairs, outreach, and social science who will share the findings of the Nature of Americans study and provide actionable recommendations for how you can use this information to bridge the gap between Americans and nature. To learn more about the Nature of Americans study before the broadcast, go to

The Social Aspects of Natural Resource Conservation (01:10:24)

Presented by Shawn J. Riley, Michigan State University, Associate Professor, Fisheries and Wildlife, Scientist, Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management; Natalie Sexton, USFWS, Natural Resource Program Center, Chief, Branch of Human Dimensions; Aaron Mize, USFWS, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Acting Refuge Manager. Host: Mike Carlo, USFWS, National Wildlife Refuge System. August 2012.

Knowledge for effective conservation includes knowledge about organisms, knowledge about the environment and knowledge about humans. In this broadcast, we will more clearly define this human aspect, which includes the application of social psychology, economics, political science, communications and more. In part one of the session, the presenters will introduce the theory and practical application of this social aspect to our conservation work. We will also introduce you to the recently created Branch of Human Dimensions at the Natural Resource Program Center. Part two is an interactive round table discussion, with the host and viewers asking the panel specific questions about their experience linking the human dimension with conservation.

Upon completion of this series, you will be able to: Define the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation; Identify examples of the application of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation in the US Fish and Wildlife Service; and Locate Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation resources for use in further research and application.

The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program: Looking Back, Moving Forward (00:57:59)

The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program was launched in 2013 and formally established in Service policy in 2014. Simply stated, the policy tells us that all Service programs must 1) work to expand their efforts to increase the relevancy of conservation in urban areas, 2) create more opportunities for people in urban areas to engage in fish and wildlife conservation, and 3) establish methods for evaluating intended outcomes, and modify practices to ensure success.

During this broadcast, Danielle Ross-Winslow, Delissa Padilla, and Angelina Yost will share notable successes and challenges encountered over the past five years, along with plans for using what we have learned to inform the UWCP’s path for the future. Following these reflections, presenters will take questions from viewers through the Livestream chat room or by email to

Presented by Danielle Ross-Winslow, Social Scientist , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Delissa Padilla Nieves, Urban Wildlife Program Coordinator , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Angelina Yost, National Urban/Vision Coordinator , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Hosted by Emily Neidhardt, Social Science Project Coordinator , U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Who Should Attend the Series: Project managers, resource managers, visitor services professionals, park rangers, educators, outdoor recreational planners, and anyone whose resource management efforts would be enhanced or supported by learning about state-of-the art resources for environmental education and human dimensions of natural resource conservation.

Contacts: Nancy Zapotocki, Course Leader,  and Michelle Donlan, Course Leader,

Announcement for Program

Visitor Use Management: Balancing Societal Benefits with Resource Protection and Conservation (01:18:17)

Host: Mike Carlo, USFWS, Nat'l Wildlife Refuge System Presenters Jeffrey Brooks, USFWS, Alaska Region; Jeffrey Marion, Natural Resource Recreation; and Bob Proudman, Appalachian Trail Conservancy. May 22, 2014.

Providing and managing visitor experiences in our parks, refuges and other natural areas can be both a challenge and an opportunity, as we strive to enhance the public's connection with the outdoors and balance it with conservation. In this broadcast we will explore the science and issues of visitor use management and how to integrate this with resource management. The broadcast also includes an interactive round table discussion with the host and viewers asking the panel about their involvement with visitor use management.

What does it Matter? Attitudes and Values Make a Difference for Conservation (01:15:58)

Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation 2013 Broadcast Series. Presented by Jeremy T. Bruskotter, PhD, Ohio State University; Catherine E. Doyle-Capitman, Yale School; Michelle Potter and Natalie Sexton, USFWS. April 11, 2013.

How people think and feel about conservation holds clues for what people do about conservation. In this broadcast we will explore the science behind understanding the attitudes and values of stakeholders and how to integrate this knowledge into conservation. We will more systematically define these social influences and share methods to effectively measure them for use in natural resource management decisions. The broadcast also includes an interactive round table discussion with the host and viewers asking the panel about their experience working with attitudes and values for conservation.

Human Dimensions Webinars

Introduction to Human Dimensions in Bird Conservation (Part 1 of 3) (00:56:01)

The bird conservation community has increasingly recognized that conserving birds fundamentally involves humans. However, how and when these human dimensions should be integrated in conservation efforts is less clear. Luckily, the number of success stories where social science has been utilized to conserve birds has been steadily increasing along with social science capacity and expertise. In order to continue this social science integration, The Bird Conservation Plans Partnerships’ Unified Science Team (UST), has partnered with Human Dimensions (HD) representatives from North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI), North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a human dimensions in bird conservation webinar series.

The goal of this series is to increase awareness and understanding of HD within the bird conservation community by providing an overview of current human dimensions efforts.

Webinar #1: Introduction to HD in Bird Conservation

Learn more about why HD is important to bird conservation and current efforts to increase HD knowledge, capacity, and integration within the bird conservation community.


  • Ashley Gramza, National Bird Conservation Social Science Coordinator (Virginia Tech/ NABCI)
  • Andy Raedeke, Resource Scientist (Missouri Department of Conservation/NAWMP)
  • Natalie Sexton, Human Dimensions Branch Chief (USFWS)

Developing HD Chapter of the CVJV Implementation Plan (Part 2 of 3) (01:03:44) (Captioning will be added shortly)

Discover how HD can be integrated into bird conservation planning efforts through a discussion of two recent efforts:

  • Central Valley Joint Venture Implementation Plan HD Chapter
  • Discussion of HD Guidance Document for Integrating HD into Implementation Plans (many of the tips can be used for all planning documents)


  • Ashley Dayer, Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions (Virginia Tech)
  • Ruth Ostroff, Coordinator (Central Valley Joint Venture; USFWS)
  • Ashley Gramza, National Bird Conservation Social Science Coordinator (Virginia Tech/ NABCI)

Date: March 20, 2018

Incorporating Human Dimensions into Conservation Delivery ( Part 3 of 3) (00:45:05)

The Playa Lakes Joint Venture has implemented several HD efforts to understand landowner motivations for engaging in playa conservation and how to foster continuation of conservation behaviors on private lands. This webinar will provide a practical example of how HD science can be used to inform and implement conservation delivery in Joint Venture partnerships.

Presenter: Anne Bartuszevige, Conservation Science Director (Playa Lakes Joint Venture)

Date: April 17, 2018

Economic Value of Public Lands (01:08:21)

Presenters: Rebecca Moore, Senior Economist, BLM; Erin Carver, Senior Economist, FWS; and Scott Glup, Project Leader, FWS June 3, 2015.

It’s one thing to recognize that public lands provide economic benefits. It’s quite another to give those benefits a monetary value. When communities and land managers make decisions, quantifying benefits is essential. This webinar will begin with an overview of basic economic principles as applied to natural resources. Next, we will discuss the tools and resources you can use to quantify a variety of the services that these lands provide. Lastly, a land manager will discuss how he has used these tools to support his decision making process in his community to foster the continued conservation of our public lands.

Revealing the Role of Local Stakeholders in Landscape Conservation Design: A Social Science Inquiry (11:01:11)

What is the role of local stakeholders and social data in the Landscape Conservation Design (LCD) process? How can information on local stakeholder and social data be used to increase the efficacy and utilization of LCDs by conservation organizations? Research currently being conducted by Dr. Daniel Decker and doctoral candidate Catherine Doyle-Capitman of the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University seeks to understand these and other questions. Key to this inquiry is identifying and understanding local-scale organizations, agencies, and individuals who are both interested in resource management and who have the power to bolster or impede implementation of conservation-promoting management actions. Join us to find out about mid-study theories, findings and future direction related to engaging local stakeholders and considering social data related to these stakeholders’ interests, values, and knowledge during LCD development.

Presenters: Dr. Daniel Decker and doctoral candidate Catherine Doyle-Capitman, Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University​

Human Dimensions Related Video (not available at this time - email:

Citizen Science: Engaging Public Participation in Environment Research to Meet Shared Conservation Goals (50:15)

Interactions of Society and the Environment Seminar Series (ISESS). Presented by Carolyn Enquist, USA-Nat'l Phenology Network and the Wildlife Society; Jana Newman and Janet Ady, USFWS. April 11, 2013.

Collaborative Conservation: Examples from the United States and Australia (1:23:27)

Interactions of Society and the Environment Seminar Series (ISESS). Presented by Peter Williams, PhD, Collaborative Planning and Multiparty Monitoring Specialist, USDA-Forest Service, Washington Office (based in Ft. Collins, CO) March 28, 2013.

Communicating Climate Change (1:21:33)

Safeguarding Wildlife from Climate Change - NWF/NCTC Webinar Series. Presented by Connie Roser-Renouf, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University. October 19, 2011

Connie Roser-Renouf will discuss audience segmentation research on Americans’ beliefs, attitudes and behaviors related to climate change. She will describe the relationship between parents’ and children’s attitudes toward climate change, and explore communication strategies for reaching six distinct audience groups, Global Warming’s Six Americas.

Communicating Climate Change: Perspectives from Working with Federal Agencies (1:21:20)

Interactions of Society and the Environment Seminar Series (ISESS). Presented by Shawn Davis, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University. February 14, 2013.

Communicating Science – We’re All in This Together (57:08)

2012 National FWS Communications & Outreach Workshop - Classroom presentation presented by Dr. Gabriela Chavarria; Science Advisor to the Director for the USFWS. May 2012.

In the Fish and Wildlife Service, we are all communicators for conservation - in all our different jobs and from all Program Areas. Good overall science communication helps to connect with people, where they are – in their “backyards.” Our audience is not always on the same page with technology, not all are scientists; we need to relate our critical messages with a relationship to people in their daily lives. This harks back to our mission…for the continuing benefit of the American people. Dr. Chavarria will cover the essence of good science communications, from her experience as a leading expert in pollination biology, studying under the direction of Edward O. Wilson and as our Science Advisor.

Connecting to Our Changing Communities (53:24)

2012 National FWS Communications & Outreach Workshop - Classroom presentation presented by Flo McAfee, President, Summerland Studio. May 2012.

Based on the 2010 Census, America’s communities are changing colors and changing the role of women. The numbers reveal substantial increases in Latino and Asian populations and more people identifying as multiracial. Women now fill the majority of jobs in the country. Eighty-five percent of net population growth has been of people of color. Trends point toward continued growth in ethnic and racial diversity and continued change across the landscape throughout the 21st century. How does the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service connect with our changing communities and engage their thoughts about conservation and nature?

This session will (1) provide an overview of the changing demographics from majority minorities to modern families; (2) explain how to connect to changing communities through multicultural media relations; and (3) offer examples of media outlets specifically targeting diverse populations.

Integrating spatial data: Mapping social values in relation to energy and water resources in the western U.S. (00:09:50)

Interactions of Society and the Environment Seminar Series (ISESS). Presented by Amy Pocewicz, The Nature Conservancy, Wyoming Chapter; and Max Nielsen-Pincus, Institute for a Sustainable Environment, University. March 7, 2013.

Randy Olson: Communicating a Message through Storytelling (1:07:36)

Why is storytelling so important when communicating? Presented by Randy Olson, scientist-turned-filmmaker.

Relating Human Dimensions to Conservation – Why Does It Matter? (54:42)

2012 National FWS Communications & Outreach Workshop - Classroom presentation presented by Natalie Sexton, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). May 2012.

The concepts of human dimensions in conservation date back to Aldo Leopold, one of the fathers of conservation and land ethic. More recently, though, there has been greater emphasis on integrating the human dimensions science into natural resources management. This integration includes the important work of communicating conservation science and activities. This session will provide an overview of human dimensions concepts (the toolbox) and the tools and methods that can be applied to natural resources communication and outreach. The session will also provide results from the recently completed national wildlife refuge visitor survey.

Valuing environmental goods and services: Learning from Real Markets and Experimental Methods (1:10:32)

Interactions of Society and the Environment Seminar Series (ISESS). Presented by Nicholas Flores, Department of Economics, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado-Boulder. February 28, 2013.