University Presentation Showcase: Undergraduate Division

Project Title

Human Perceptions on Nature, Wildlife, and Conservation in Rural Appalachia

Presenter Information

Lindsey MillesonFollow

Presenter Hometown

Martin County, KY

Major

Wildlife Management

Department

Biological Sciences

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Stephen Sumithran

Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Understanding human attitudes are critical for the successful implementation of wildlife conservation and management strategies. However, there have been no studies conducted in Eastern Kentucky to assess human attitudes towards wildlife conservation. The objective of this study was to identify the general attitudes of rural Appalachian Kentucky residents towards wildlife, nature, and ecotourism. We randomly administered a questionnaire to 119 residents in Martin County, KY. Several questions were a part of the survey, including questions on the resident’s perceptions of statements regarding conservation and management. Of the participants surveyed, 68% were female, and 32% were male. The salient results of the survey include 97% of the respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that it is important to conserve nature for future generations. 87% of the respondents strongly agreed or agreed that ecotourism activities such as educational nature hikes would be beneficial to their community. 81% of the participants either strongly disagreed or disagreed with the statement that wildlife do not have the ability to feel emotions such as happiness, fear, or sadness. These results will be vital in managing wildlife populations in Eastern Kentucky and successfully involving the public in conservation and ecotourism decisions.

Presentation format

Poster

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Human Perceptions on Nature, Wildlife, and Conservation in Rural Appalachia

Understanding human attitudes are critical for the successful implementation of wildlife conservation and management strategies. However, there have been no studies conducted in Eastern Kentucky to assess human attitudes towards wildlife conservation. The objective of this study was to identify the general attitudes of rural Appalachian Kentucky residents towards wildlife, nature, and ecotourism. We randomly administered a questionnaire to 119 residents in Martin County, KY. Several questions were a part of the survey, including questions on the resident’s perceptions of statements regarding conservation and management. Of the participants surveyed, 68% were female, and 32% were male. The salient results of the survey include 97% of the respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that it is important to conserve nature for future generations. 87% of the respondents strongly agreed or agreed that ecotourism activities such as educational nature hikes would be beneficial to their community. 81% of the participants either strongly disagreed or disagreed with the statement that wildlife do not have the ability to feel emotions such as happiness, fear, or sadness. These results will be vital in managing wildlife populations in Eastern Kentucky and successfully involving the public in conservation and ecotourism decisions.