Members of the Civic Ecology Lab seek to understand learning, stewardship, and resilience in stressed communities. We are particularly interested in cases where people self-organize to steward nature and community through civic ecology practices such as community gardening, litter cleanups, habitat restoration, friends of parks groups,and volunteer tree planting. By forming partnerships with civic ecology stewards, we seek to understand what precipitates these practices as well as their meaning and outcomes for individuals, communities, the environment, governance, social movements, as well as their role in mitigation of, adaptation to, and transformation in the face of the climate crisis.
Our second major research initiative seeks to understand how online learning communities support environmental and education professionals and volunteers in critically reflecting on, enhancing, and scaling up the impact of their practices. Similar to our civic ecology research, this research is guided by the belief that we can empower environmental stewards, activists, and educators to expand their impacts. We support environmental citizens from around the world through our online “courses for a cause.” Through a series of social norm, social accountability, network, and other social influence interventions, we seek to improve local stewardship and education practices during and after our online courses.
We apply the results of our scholarship to expand the impact of civic ecology practices and global online learning communities, and to build support for local stewardship and educational practices among the academic, government, private, and non-profit sectors.