ES 508: Conservation Psychology


63866 (for web registration)




Carol Saunders






Fall 2009

Meeting Schedule:

Sat 9/26 - 9/27 (9:30AM-4:29PM)
Sat 10/17 (9:30AM-4:29PM)
Sun 10/18 (9:30AM-4:29PM)
Sat 11/14 - 11/15 (9:30AM-4:29PM)
Sat 12/12 (9:30AM-4:29PM)


Competency Area: CB, EAO, EE, Cert, IND & RMC – Elective
Restricted to ES students who entered SP 09 and earlier.

Conservation psychology is a new field with the dual aim of understanding the relationships between humans and nature and promoting behaviors that protect the natural world. This course will provide an overview of relevant theories, methods and principles from psychology as they apply to environmental conservation. A brand new textbook devoted to conservation psychology will be used, along with additional readings. We will broadly discuss how we think about and connect to nature, how we communicate about our relationships with nature, and what inspires us to conservation action. Specific topics will include benefits of nature, different types of nature experiences, empathy with animals, development of a sense of place, the formation of an environmental identity, moral reasoning in relation to the natural environment, significant life experiences as precursors of environmental concern, relationships between connection with nature and nature-protective behaviors, communicating about risk, the psychology of hope, and models linking environmental attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors. Students will practice applying conservation psychology principles to programs related to biodiversity conservation through class assignments and larger projects. October 17th meeting will be at Harris Center, weather permitting