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Evaluation Concepts for Environmental Outreach Programs

Outreach professionals in natural resources and environmental topics offer important services to society. Unfortunately, most educators have difficulty assessing their impact on audiences, which is needed to improve programming, demonstrate success and help secure future program funding. Easy to use methods for strategically assessing short-term impact were recently developed by Melissa M. Kreye at Penn State University. In this session Dr. Kreye will present these methods and discuss how they can be used to enhance the success of environmental outreach programs. Participants will learn easy and efficient ways to use survey questions to obtain meaningful measures of change in adult audience knowledge and motivation to change behaviors. Participants will also learn how to collect survey data that will allow for advanced forms of statistical analysis (e.g., regression, principal components analysis) and model building which can be used to predict potential broader impact. These techniques are particularly useful for educators who want to reach new/uninformed audiences, or programs that address collective action issues to advance the common good (e.g., invasive plants).