Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2017

Semester of Degree

December

Document Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Forest and Natural Resources Management

Department

Forest and Natural Resources Management

Major Professor

Diane Kuehn

Steering Committee Member

Eric Greenfield

Steering Committee Member

Sharon Moran

Steering Committee Member

Elizabeth Folta

Steering Committee Member

Lemir Teron

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of environmental education and awareness on littering behavior within two ecotourism destinations (Asa Wright Nature Center and Rio Seco Waterfall). Furthermore, an attempt was made to produce a model that identified and explained the possible relationships between various constructs that affected the pro-environmental behavior of “not littering" by ecotourists at the two ecotourism destinations. The conceptual background of this research venture was derived from the Theory of Planned Behavior and was further informed by the Grounded Theory. A mixed methods approach including both a qualitative phase and quantitative phase was utilized for the relevant data collection and analyses in this study. The qualitative data were collected from informal interviews with a total of two managers and six tour guides. Data analysis through a thematic coding procedure utilized the results to inform a final questionnaire design for quantitative data collection. Subsequently, quantitative data were collected via the administration of survey questionnaires to a total of 404 ecotourist participants at the Asa Wright Nature Center and the Rio Seco Waterfall. Descriptive statistics and path analyses were executed for analysis of the quantitative data. Findings indicated the hypothesized significance of ecotourists practicing more pro-environmental behavior based on their level of environmental awareness.

Available for download on Friday, December 16, 2118

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