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People and Their Environments

Research Focus

Perceptions and Experiences of Nature

[photo:] Wide shot of a marsh in the industrial area of southeast Chicago, IL

People cause many changes in natural areas – but it’s also true that natural areas change people.  Over their lifetimes, people’s experiences in nature can profoundly affect their quality of life.

We study people’s perceptions and experiences of nature and the meaning(s) that nature has in their lives.  For example, what kinds of natural places do people seek out and what makes those places special?  How are people changed by their experiences in natural places? Understanding these issues can help land managers make decisions about natural areas with people and their well-being in mind.

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Last Modified: 10/20/2010