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A Multicultural Survey of the Influences of Childhood Environmental Experiences on Adult Sensitivities to Urban and Community Forestry (WAUF-97-002)

Grant Number
WAUF-97-002

This project included research on the relationship between childhood contact with nature and adult attitudes toward urban forests.

The goal of this project was to examine the relationship between childhood contact with nature and adult attitudes toward urban forests. More than 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, where there are few chances to interact with nature. As the U.S. becomes more urbanized, more trees will be threatened to make room for development. Will children raised in such stark surroundings fail to develop strong, positive responses to nature?

A telephone survey of 2,004 adults in large metropolitan areas across the U.S. was conducted. Participants were asked about their memories of their childhood experiences with nature and their current understanding and appreciation of urban trees. Demographics, including multicultural background, were gathered.

Overall, respondents of all ethnicities expressed positive attitudes toward trees in urban areas. People appear to understand the diverse benefits trees provide. Childhood participation in active and passive outdoor activities, including tree plantings and being raised near trees, appears to influence adult attitudes positively.

These results indicate that childhood experiences with nature have a strong influence on adult sensitivities to trees. This information could be used to tailor children's environmental and gardening activities more effectively to engender appreciation for nearby nature in adult citizens.

Project objectives:

The goal of this project was to examine the relationship between childhood contact with nature and adult attitudes toward the urban forest. Participants were surveyed regarding their childhood memories of the surroundings where they were raised and their early experiences with nature. Respondents also were surveyed regarding their current understanding and appreciation of urban and community forests. General demographics, including multicultural background, were gathered. The specific objectives of this project were to:

1.assess the public's understanding of trees and their benefits in urban areas,

2.examine the relationship between childhood contact with nature and adult attitudes, and

3. determine if there are differences in these relationships based on demographic factors, such as ethnic backgrounds or gender.

Contact
Lohr, Virginia I.
lohr@wsu.edu
(509) 335-3101
Organization
Washington State University
Dept. Of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
Pullman, WA 99164-6414
Total Project Cost
$ 181,396
=
Federal Share
$ 90,698
+
Grantee Share
$ 90,698
Year of Award
1997
Year of Expiration
2000
FS Manager
Barbara Hollenbeck
USDA Forest Service
P.O. Box 3623
Portland, OR 97208-3623
(503) 808-2351
Grant Categories
Research & Technology Development
Sub-Topics
Research (basic), Children and Youth, U&CF Program Development
State(s)/Region(s)
Washington
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