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Thursday, May 28, 2015

RSENR PhD Proposal Seminar & Defense: Elizabeth Perry

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Aiken 311
Description: Cityscape Connections: Assessing Relationships among Urban Populations and National Park Service Parks, Programs, and Partnerships

By Elizabeth E. Perry

Seminar: 1pm, Aiken 311
Defense: 2pm, Aiken 311

Committee
Robert Manning, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Jennifer Jewiss, Research Assistant Professor, Education and Social Services, Chair
Clare Ginger, Associate Professor, RSENR
Daniel Krymkowski, Professor, Sociology

ABSTRACT
National parks protect vital natural, cultural, and recreational resources and use these resources to tell many of America’s most iconic stories. Although all national parks provide opportunities for people to engage with their lands and histories, the ability to engage large, diverse, and proximate communities is unique to national parks in urban areas. The National Park Service (NPS) has responded to this opportunity with innovative approaches to connect these communities to their local NPS units. Following up on a pledge made to the American people, the NPS initiated its landmark Urban Agenda in 2015. This program is an effort to enhance the relevance of national parks to all Americans, emphasize the entire NPS portfolio, and nurture a culture of collaboration. Community and intra-agency perceptions about NPS workings in urban areas, however, are currently unknown.

The proposed research will address this need by providing information about the effectiveness of NPS parks, programs, and partnerships in a variety of urban areas. The intent of this research is to understand: (1) NPS and community perspectives about parks; (2) NPS and community interactions with programs; (3) NPS-based partnership networks; and (4) areas where the Urban Agenda can positively impact park-people connections. This research will use a multi-methods approach, combining qualitative developmental evaluation and quantitative social network analysis. Research results will aid in site-specific and overall successful implementation of the Urban Agenda, contribute to enhanced management coordination of the NPS in urban areas, and highlight means by which park-people relevancy and resiliency may be strengthened.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

UVM Staff Council Meeting

Time: 12:05 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: 338 Waterman, Memorial Lounge

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

RSENR Master's Thesis Seminar & Defense: Sarah Goodrich

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Location: Jeffords Hall 326
Description: Human-Nature Relationship and Faerie Faith in the American Pagan Subculture

By Sarah Goodrich

Seminar: 10:00am, Jeffords Hall room 326
Defense: 11:00am Jeffords Hall room 326

Committee
Adrian Ivakhiv, PhD, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Catherine Connor, PhD, Professor, Romance Languages, Committee Chair
Thomas Hudspeth, PhD, Professor, RSENR

ABSTRACT
Within American religious culture, there is a small but significant and growing movement that overlaps and interacts with the environmental movement. It’s known by many names, including Contemporary Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Earth Religion, and Nature Religion. A few years of observation at Starwood Festival, the largest annual Pagan gathering in North America, elucidated that many individuals who identify as Pagan (or Wiccan, Druid, animist, or another of the identities that fall under the Pagan umbrella) include in their spiritual practice engagement with faeries or other nature spirits. My research employed qualitative methods including participant observation and interviews to examine the extent to which engagement with faeries and other nature spirits among Pagan festival attendees affects their relationships with nature and their behaviors in the natural world. The Pagan understanding of the Earth and all of its inhabitants and elements as animate or inspirited—as exemplified in the phenomenon of faerie faith—conflates the wellbeing of the Earth and wild nature with the psychological wellbeing of each individual human, making this worldview highly compatible with the emerging field of ecopsychology. Drawing on theories of enchantment, consciousness, multiple realities, imagination, and play, my interpretations of the stories of my informants contribute additional perspective to the contemporary practice of Paganism as a small but growing countercultural movement within the dominant Western culture, particularly as it informs the human-(in)-nature relationship.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

RSENR PhD Dissertation Seminar & Defense: Monika Derrien

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Aiken 103
Description: Discourse as social process in outdoor recreation and natural resource management: Arguing, constructing, and performing

By Monika M. Derrien

Seminar: 1PM, Aiken 103
Defense: 2PM, Aiken 103

Committee
Patricia A. Stokowski, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Cheryl E. Morse, Assistant Professor, Geography, Chair
Walter F. Kuentzel, Professor, RSENR
Robert E. Manning, Professor, RSENR

ABSTRACT
This dissertation examines the language-based, discursive processes through which meanings and experiences are socially constituted in outdoor recreation and natural resource environments. Language use and discourse are seen as interactive, constructive processes, approached through the theoretical perspectives of argumentation, social constructionism, and performance.

Three qualitative studies, based in data collected at Acadia National Park and forest-related sites throughout Vermont, comprise this dissertation. The first study uses rhetorical analysis to examine the ways National Park Service managers and community leaders argue for the meanings and management of dark night skies in and around Acadia. The second study examines how national park visitors socially construct meanings of night sky experiences, focusing on the structure, functions and styles of language. The third study evaluates forest-oriented environmental interpretation materials produced by Vermont-based agencies through an analysis of performance. Each study analyzes a different type of discourse: semi-formal “expert” language solicited in interviews with managers and leaders (study 1), semi-formal “naïve” language solicited in interviews with park visitors (study 2), and formal, written texts produced by agencies (study 3). Results show how language is used to forge agreement across competing ideals; construct meanings despite vague vocabularies and intangible values; and direct visitors to perform forests in ways that develop the meanings of place.

These studies contribute to the understanding of how individuals and organizations use language within discourse practices to create the reality in which socially- and culturally-important natural resource environments are managed and experienced, forming a body of work that informs theory and practice.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

RSENR Master's Seminar & Defense: Jessica Espenshade

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Aiken 311
Description: How Wildlife Information, Recreation Involvement and Demographic Characteristics Influence Public Acceptability of Development

By Jessica L. Espenshade

Seminar: 1:00pm, Aiken 311
Defense: 2:00pm, Aiken 311

Committee
James D. Murdoch, PhD, RSENR, Advisor
Ruth M. Mickey, PhD, Engineering and Mathematical Science, Chair
Therese M. Donovan, PhD, RSENR
Robert E. Manning, PhD, RSENR

Abstract
Increasing development like roads and houses will alter the future landscape of Vermont. Development provides important resources for people and society, but also results in consequences for wildlife and opportunities for recreation. Managing development requires information on the public’s acceptability of development and how acceptability is shaped by information on various consequences. In this study, I examined three questions: 1) What is the public’s acceptability of development? 2) Is the public more accepting of clustered versus sprawled development? and 3) Is the maximum amount of acceptable development influenced by views about wildlife, involvement in recreation, and demographic factors? I sent a visual-preference survey to 9,000 households in Vermont that asked questions about development, wildlife, recreation, and demographics. I assessed acceptability of amount of development using social-norm curves and used parametric significance tests and mixed-effects models to examine the influence of wildlife, recreation, and demographic factors. The survey response rate was 44%. The maximum acceptable amount of development was slightly more than 32 households/km2, and not meaningfully influenced by the broader consequences of development on seven common wildlife species. The public demonstrated a strong preference for clustered development over sprawled development, which became unacceptable at 20 households per km2. Maximum acceptability of development was significantly influenced by views on some species, including bear, bobcat, and fisher, but not by others such as deer, fox, raccoon, and coyote. Similarly, those involved in common forms of outdoor recreation, including birding, ATVing, hunting, fishing and camping, were significantly less accepting of development relative to those not involved in these forms of recreation. Maximum amount of development was also affected by demographic factors, including town density and respondent age. The results provide a baseline measure of the public’s acceptability of development, which can be used to guide decision-making about amount and pattern of development, wildlife management, and efforts to promote recreation in the state.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

RSENR Master's Thesis Seminar & Defense: Ariana Cano

Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Aiken 311
Description: The Impact of Engagement with Community Supported Agriculture on Human Attitude towards the Sustainable Food Movement

By Ariana M. Cano

Seminar: 12:00 pm, Aiken 311
Defense: 1:00pm

Committee
Thomas R. Hudspeth, PhD, RSENR, Advisor
Teresa Mares, PhD, Anthropology, Chair
Walter Kuentzel, PhD, RSENR

ABSTRACT
With a total of 143 community supported agriculture programs (CSA), Vermont is leading the “locavore” movement in the United States, ranked number one in the country with the most CSAs and Food Hubs per capita. ("Locavore Index," 2013)

CSAs have a large positive impact on reducing carbon emissions, advancing local economic growth, and promoting healthy lifestyles of the consumers. This study will concentrate on analyzing the different attitude changes individuals experience when becoming members of the Intervale FoodHub, one of Burlington’s most prominent forms of community-supported agriculture.

Attitude change will be measured by conducting pre and post surveys of the Intervale Food Hub UVM student members. The data analysis will provide understanding of the impact of the Intervale Food Hub’s CSA membership on individuals’ attitudes. Survey questions, based on the theory of planned behavior, inquire about individuals ‘preferences, skills, and behavioral intentions. Because of the complexity of food and human relations, this data will be supplemented by collecting qualitative data to more richly understand the relationship between individuals and their Intervale Food Hub food shares.

The conclusion of this study will advance understanding of one form of community supported-agriculture and its impact on human attitudes. Study findings will also aid the staff of the Intervale Food Hub in understanding their customers and implementing more efficient practices.

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