Human Dimensions Program Initiatives
- Stakeholder engagement and public participation. Program involvement on the Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration Steering Committee provides NPS with training opportunities in identity-based conflict resolution. This approach fosters long-term civic engagement and cooperative conservation.
- Understanding risk communication, education, and persuasion. Understanding how target audiences perceive risks related to resources is fundamental for effective outreach. Two current projects examine perceptions of wildlife associated disease and human-wildlife habituation to reduce health and safety risks to humans and wildlife and to increase enjoyment.
- Recreation and biological resource management. Unmanaged recreation can negatively impact biological resources. A visitor-focused project initiated by the Oceans Branch of the Water Resources Division utilizes social science to reduce recreational threats to marine resources, such as boat grounding, fishing violations, and wildlife disturbance.
- Citizen science and stewardship. Citizen science engages the public directly with park resources and management. A Centennial Challenge initiative is evaluating how citizen participation in biodiversity exploration furthers the NPS mission and affects participants’: understanding of biodiversity, likely participation in future stewardship activities, and support of parks.
Projects and partnerships will be expanded and added in each of the developing program areas. Initiatives are being pursued in areas such as: Thinking Like a Manager training that promotes systems thinking to integrate human dimensions considerations in the decision-making process; employee perceptions of risk that affect safe work practices; conservation criminology, applications from the field of criminal justice to human behavior affecting wildlife management; evaluating effectiveness of Friends Group activities in supporting biological resource management in parks.