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Tuesday, February 22 • 1:30pm - 2:15pm
Track 2: Collecting Human Dimensions Data to Inform Engagement Approaches: Hope is Not a Strategy

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In Minnesota, we have a strong tradition of support for wildlife and nature conservation.  Financial support is evident through voluntary donations on state tax forms, purchase of Critical Habitat License Plates, and individual donations.  Additional support is evident through advocacy, volunteerism, and growing participation in community science.  

While support continues to be strong, we want to grow our program on more than hope and crossed fingers! Therefore, we significantly invested in collection of human dimensions data for active supporters and those who seem like they should be supporting us but are not. With this project, we are learning how to sustain and grow strong financial support for protecting biodiversity and, equally important, how to encourage people to care about our work. Through this research, we are learning how to adapt our approaches to wildlife conservation now and into the future.

In partnership with Virginia Tech, we initiated a three-part human dimensions research project.

Part I of this project is the Wildlife Viewer Survey supported by AFWA and taking place at a national and regional scale. We expanded on objectives in this portion of the study with Part II. Here we take a closer look at Minnesotans who currently support the Nongame Wildlife Program and those who do not. Why aren’t they on-board and what would it take to win them over? Based on these results messaging will be developed and tested with a mixed-methods study. Part III of this research advances our understanding of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in Minnesota who are wildlife and/or nature enthusiasts. Our vision is that Minnesota outdoors and wildlife enjoyment is available for all people. Part III objectives are to better understand BIPOC behaviors and interests, current engagement, awareness, attitudes, trust of the agency, and barriers. Primary methods are web-based interviews and/or focus groups.

While results of the three-part study are pending, we have already made adjustments to how we work and how we communicate. Changes are taking place within the agency, with conservation partners, and with the public we serve. Participants in the session will gain insight on the value of investing in human dimensions studies and application of this data by a state fish & wildlife agency.

Speakers
avatar for Kelsey Jennings

Kelsey Jennings

Master's Student, Virginia Tech
Kelsey Jennings is a master’s student in the Dayer Human Dimensions Lab in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. Their research interests encompass the human dimensions of wildlife viewers and focus on how historically underrepresented groups engage... Read More →
avatar for Cynthia Osmundson

Cynthia Osmundson

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Cynthia Osmundson is leader of the Nongame Wildlife Program at the Minnesota DNR for the past three years, I work with fascinating wildlife and awesome people. And I get to make a difference by helping protect our state’s biological diversity so people can continue to enjoy wildlife... Read More →


Tuesday February 22, 2022 1:30pm - 2:15pm MST
Room 2

Attendees (1)