Graduation Date

Spring 2022

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources: option Environmental Science and Management

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Yvonne Everett

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Jeffrey Black

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Joshua Meisel

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Fourth Committee Member Name

Jennifer Tarlton


Environmental knowledge, Science communication, Citizen science, Wildlife conservation, Art and science, Northern California

Subject Categories

Environmental Science and Management


Citizen Science (CS) and scientific visual, spatial, and graphic art projects have the potential to engage community members, provide opportunities for advances in scientific literacy, increase interest in science and local environmental knowledge, and elevate pro-environmental attitudes. CS depends upon public participation, and motivation for participation is varied, including participants’ desire to learn something new or contribute to science or scientific knowledge. An effective CS project will be rooted in an understanding of individuals’ motivations for participation, striving to meet those motivations, and effectively evaluating not only the scientific outputs of the project but also whether participants’ motivations are being satisfied through participation. Using survey research, this study sought to understand how a CS project and communication of scientific topics through art and interactive methods affected participants' knowledge of North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) and their habitats, likelihood of future participation in CS, and attitudes towards the environment. Participants held baseline high pro-environmental attitudes and participation in this study did not further elevate pro-environmental attitudes. Participants' knowledge of river otters and their habitats increased slightly with supplemental science communication efforts. Participants who received supplemental science communication were slightly more likely to state an interest in future participation in citizen science, suggesting additional engagement from project leaders could increase future participation. These findings complement the growing field of citizen science and model methods for how citizen science projects can prioritize project outcomes, evaluate outcomes for participants, and consider further efforts for community engagement.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location


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