Alena Card | 2024 I.S. Symposium

Alena Card head shot

Name: Alena Card
Title: The Ripple Effect of Volunteerism: Examining Its Reach and Impact on Conservation Organizations
Major: Environmental Studies
Minor: Studio Art
Advisors: Matt Mariola; Jennifer Ison

Day by day, we are seeing evidence of climate change through habitat loss and the disruption of ecosystems. In response, there has been a rise of conservation nonprofits whose mission is to restore and protect the environment. As a result, there is a growing need to utilize and understand volunteer programs, which are an essential component of how these organizations achieve their goals. This Independent Study focuses on the impacts of volunteerism through the perspectives of 13 conservation organizations’ volunteer coordinators. I investigated the benefits and challenges of utilizing volunteers, and what these organizations are doing to optimize their volunteer programs. The academic literature discussed in this study centers around scholarly work that explores volunteers’ experiences working with conservation organizations through their motivations for participating and, additionally, reviews the limited research done on the experiences that nonprofit organizations have surrounding volunteering. The data for this research was gathered through interviewing 13 coordinators in Northern Ohio as well as observing three of the volunteer programs’ events. I hope this study helps fill in gaps in the literature as they relate to volunteerism in conservation, allowing these organizations to better utilize their volunteers and, therefore, better achieve their missions of protecting the environment.

Posted in Symposium 2024 on May 6, 2024.

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Natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities courses combine for those who want to be part of environmental solutions

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