Evidence Library

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Sharing what we’re learning about different program models, service-delivery approaches, or best practices is an important way for the public benefit sector to advance its work together.

We’ve populated this searchable library with a collection of documents – from academic and community-based research and program evaluations – that we hope can help organizations working in the sector be more effective in their work.

This collection of evidence is a work in progress. As we come across important pieces of research or knowledge, we’ll take note of them, and update this library periodically. Importantly, if you know of a resource not yet included, or want to share the findings from your program evaluation, please share a link to it or upload it here in our Discussion Forum.

Name of Document Author Date Brief Description
The Nature Conservancy 2016

Conservation by Design is The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) strategic framework for conservation success and marries its collaborative, science-based approach with key analytical methods. This Guidance document aims to help teams develop bold strategies to address the major conservation challenges of our day, moving from strategies and projects that treat symptoms at a local scale to strategies and projects that address underlying systemic causes at a much broader regional and global scale. This Guidance document outlines the approach used by TNC to develop, evaluate and strengthen strategies in support of the advances described in Conservation by Design 2.0. It is intended to describe leading practices for conservation which can readily be adapted and adopted by TNC and other organizations.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2016

In 2009, in recognition of the benefits of conservation partnerships at the landscape scale, the U.S. Department of the Interior established Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), a network of 22 individual, self-directed conservation areas covering all of the United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. This report provides the results of a program evaluation, commissioned five years later, to review (1) the purpose, goals, and scientific merit of the program within the context of other similar programs; and (2) whether there had been measurable improvements in the health of fish, wildlife, and their habitats as a result of the program. Note: Various chapters may be of relevance - but see in particular Appendix C - Guidance for Landscape Conservation Planning and Design.

Osbaldiston, R. and J.P. Schott 2012

To provide practitioners with useful information about how to promote proenvironmental behavior (PEB), a meta-analysis was performed on 87 published reports containing 253 experimental treatments that measured an observed, not self-reported, behavioral outcome. Treatments that included cognitive dissonance, goal setting, social modeling, and prompts provided the overall largest effect sizes. Further analyses indicated that different treatments have been more effective for certain behaviors. Effective combinations of treatments and behaviors are making it easy to recycle, setting goals for conserving gasoline, and modeling home energy conservation. The results also reveal several gaps in the literature that should guide further research, including both treatments and PEB that have not been tested.

Morrow, Anthony; The Conservation Volunteers 2013

This report is part of a project to work with individuals and communities across Scotland to measure the impact that engagement in Citizen Science activities has upon participant’s environmental values, attitudes and behaviours towards the environment and its positive management. Citizen Science has a significant role to play in achieving a wide range of outcomes for people and the environment. However there has been little research to explore the impact of Citizen Science activities on their wider lives and lifestyle choices in relation to the environment and sustainability. This paper reviews existing literature and surveys people engaged in a range of citizen science activities, gathering information on changes in attitudes and behaviours.

Cramer, J. 2008

Engaging students in environmental restoration through service-learning partnerships is an effective tool for restoring native ecosystems while simultaneously rebuilding relationships between children and nature and inspiring future stewards of the land. Placebased education provides a framework for connecting students to the land. Stewardship-based service-learning provides a productive means by which to accomplish both education and restoration goals. This article outlines one approach to merging conservation and education in a format that benefits the community while meeting student learning goals and creating a sense of place.

Geng, L. et al. 2015

The influence of environmental attitudes on environmental behaviors has long been discussed. However, few studies have addressed the foundation of such attitudes. In the present study, researchers explored primitive belief underlying environmental attitudes, i.e., connections with nature, and its relationship with pro-environmental behaviors. Specifically, they used scales, a computerized Implicit Association Test, and a situational simulation experiment to examine both explicit and implicit connections with nature, both deliberate and spontaneous environmental behaviors, and to find correlations between environmental connectedness and environmental behaviors.

Children and Nature Network 2018

Evidence supporting a link between positive human relationships with the rest of nature, actions that support nature conservation, and pro-environment behaviour is rapidly growing; however, an accessible, policy-relevant synthesis has not been completed previously. This report provides a synthesis of that evidence and an urgently needed guide to action. The document provides a rationale for the importance of connectedness with nature for people's health and well-being, and that of the Earth. It draws on Indigenous and ancient wisdom contemporary science, academic research and currently practice.

Carla Wilson, Department of Conservation, Te Papa Atawhai 2011

This paper outlines the key principles for effectively engaging children and young people with nature, based on a review of relevant research and literature. It provides some insights from research findings on the most effective approaches for engaging with different age groups. Finally, the paper reviews the role of participative, active arts education as a tool for facilitating and effectively connecting children and nature.

Alzheimer Society of Ontario 2016

Minds in Motion is a proven and widely used program combining physical and social activites for people living with dementia and their carers.

Josephine Grayson 2012

Comprehensive evaluation report on the DiverseCity on Board program, detailing impacts with recommendations.

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