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Open-File Report 2011–1192

Constraints to Connecting Children with Nature—Survey of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Employees Sponsored by the National Conservation Training Center, Division of Education Outreach

By Joan M. Ratz and Rudy M. Schuster

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (973 kB)Summary

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) names “connecting people with nature” as one of its top six priorities in the online Service Employee Pocket Guide. The National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) took the initiative to identify issues that impede greater progress in addressing constraints to connecting children with nature. The Division of Education Outreach at NCTC formed a working relation with the Policy Analysis and Science Assistance branch of the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a study on these issues. To meet the objectives of the study, a survey of a sample of FWS employees was conducted. This report includes the description of how the survey was developed and administered, how the data were analyzed, and a discussion of the survey results.

The survey was developed based on published literature and incorporated input from two working groups of professionals focused on the issue of connecting children with nature. Although the objective as stated by the FWS is to connect people with nature, the survey primarily focused on connecting children, rather than all people, with nature. The four primary concepts included on the survey were interpretation of how the FWS defined “connection” as part of its mission, perceived success with outreach, constraints to connecting children with nature, and importance of connecting children with nature.

The survey was conducted online using KeySurvey© software. The survey was sent to 604 FWS employees. Responses were received from 320 employees. The respondents represented diversity in regions, tenure, wage/grade level, job series, supervisory status, and involvement with education and outreach activities.

The key findings of the survey are as follows:

• FWS employees believe they as individuals and the agency are successful now and will be more successful in the future in connecting children with nature.
• FWS employees believe that there are many outcomes that are relevant to the FWS objective to connect people with the environment.
• FWS employees believe that connecting children with nature is important.
• Constraints to connecting children with nature exist but are not perceived by respondents to be severe.
• The constraints of greatest concern are practical issues, competition from technology, funding issues and staffing issues.

First posted August 26, 2011

For additional information contact:
Center Director, USGS Fort Collins Science Center
2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. C
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8118

http://www.fort.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Ratz, J.M., Schuster, R.M., 2011, Constraints to connecting children with nature—Survey of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees sponsored by the National Conservation Training Center, Division of Education Outreach: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1192, 46 p.



Contents

Executive Summary

Background

Method

Results

Discussion

Acknowledgments

References Cited


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