In late September, Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was invited to speak at the Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy. Located at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Baker Center holds nationally prominent events pertaining to the Center’s three areas of focus: Energy & Environment, Global Security, and Leadership & Government. Previous speakers have included U.S. Ambassadors, private industry CEOs, and renowned policy experts. Tony was the keynote speaker for the Center’s Energy and Environment Center, and his presentation addressed “The Changing Landscape of Transportation: Designing Roads for Wildlife Conservation.”
Research Engineer Natalie Villwock-Witte and Research Associate Karalyn Clouser have completed a study for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which compares the travel preferences of Millennials, Generation X, and the Baby Boomer generation. The purpose of this study was to understand how the generational cohorts prefer to access federal lands, particularly their interest in using active transportation modes (such as shuttles, walking, and bicycling) to travel to USFWS Refuges.
To collect the study data, online surveys were administered to residents of California, Colorado, and Texas, three states with large numbers of USFWS Refuges as well as large available sample sizes. One of the unique aspects of the study was that it sought input from the general population within these states, rather than visitors who were already at a Refuge or other federal land.
The findings may provide the USFWS with a better understanding of who visits their refuges now, and how that may change in the future. “Contrary to popular opinion, Millennials may be engaging with federal lands more often than previously understood,” said Principal Investigator Villwock-Witte; “also, Baby Boomers, who in the past have been the most frequent visitors to federal lands, may be less inclined to recreate on them as they age. Almost half of the survey respondents reported physical limitations, and others (i.e. younger generations) the need to accommodate the needs of small children with whom they now travel.”
When published by the USFWS, the final report will be posted to the project page.