Carol D. Saunders, PhD

Visiting Research Scholar
Department of Environmental Studies

AUNE Contact Information


Highest Degree

PhD, Behavioral Biology, Cornell University

Other Degrees & Credentials

MA, Psychology, University of Virginia
BA, Biology/Psychology, Gettysburg College

Areas of Expertise

connection to animals and nature, conservation behavior, environmental communication


I recently joined the Department of Environmental Studies, allowing me to interact with dynamic colleagues and return to a region of the country that I love. Much of my career has been devoted to wildlife and biodiversity conservation. For my dissertation, I spent a year walking with baboons in Kenya. Animal behavior has always been a passion of mine, along with learning how to see in nature. I was an active member of the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network and look forward to participating in similar citizen science activities in New England.

As I think of the ways I can contribute to a more sustainable and harmonious world, I find myself using my psychology background more and more. Acknowledging that humans are both the source of many problems as well as the hope for a better future, I co-founded the new field of conservation psychology ( This field has great potential for making the powerful tools and methodologies from psychology more available to conservation professionals. One of my interests is finding ways to communicate more effectively about our feelings and deeply held values concerning our relationship to nature.

Previously, I directed an evaluation department at the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo. My colleagues and I helped develop programs and exhibits based on conservation psychology principles and then measured their success. My time in Chicago provided me with insights about conservation issues in an urban setting, as well as how non-profits support their missions as change institutions.

I enjoy graduate students and am excited about the opportunity to teach a conservation psychology course in the fall. This course is a pilot effort unique to Antioch University that will include guest lectures by leaders in the field along with sections from a new textbook.