Second Conservation Psychology Institute Draws Students to AUNE

Professional conservationists, educators, researchers, and students came from far-flung locales to attend the second annual Conservation Psychology Institute (CPI) at Antioch University New England (AUNE), which wound up June 27.

The environmental educator at the Metropolitan University in Puerto Rico attended. The state director of education for Audubon Texas and the director of education for the Connecticut Audubon Society participated, as did the director of conservation research at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. They came from as far away as the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Scripps Institute of Technology in California. Closer to home, several AUNE students took advantage of the CPI, which was organized by AUNE’s Center for Academic Innovation.

An important part of the institute was to work with each other in small groups, exploring answers to real-life problems. “Participation in this year’s summer CPI was energizing,” said Abi Abrash Walton, founding director of the Center for Academic Innovation and a CPI faculty member. “The applied solutions projects that participants developed generated impressive approaches to effectively communicating climate change, strengthening children’s and adults’ connectedness with nature, and framing land use choices for local decision makers.”

In addition to Walton, the faculty included Wesley Schultz, professor of psychology at California State University, San Marcos, AUNE alum Thomas Joseph Doherty, of Portland, Oregon, and Carol Saunders, one of the founders of conservation psychology and a research faculty member at AUNE.