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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Articles

Audience Preferences for Water Resource Information from Extension and Other Sources


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 42 No. 1, p. 123-130
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Nov 15, 2012
    Published: September 23, 2013

    * Corresponding author(s): dboellstorff@tamu.edu
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  1. Diane E. Boellstorff *a,
  2. Tatiana Borisovab,
  3. Michael D. Smolenc,
  4. Jason M. Evansd,
  5. Jon Calabriae,
  6. Damian C. Adamsf,
  7. Nicola W. Sochackag,
  8. Mark L. McFarlandh and
  9. Robert L. Mahleri
  1. a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, 370 Olsen Blvd., 2474 TAMUS, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843
    b Food and Resource Economics Dep., 1097 McCarty Hall B, P.O. Box 110240 IFAS, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0240
    c Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Dep., 218 Agriculture Hall, Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater, OK 74078-6021
    d Carl Vinson Institute of Government, 201 N. Milledge Ave., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    e College of Environment and Design, 152 Jackson Street Building, 285 South Jackson St., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    f School of Forest Resources and Conservation, and Food and Resource Economics Dep., P.O. Box 110410 IFAS, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0410
    g College of Engineering, Driftmier Engineering Center, 597 DW Brooks Dr., Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
    h Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dep. of Soil and Crop Sciences, 370 Olsen Blvd., 2474 TAMUS, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843
    i Environmental Science Program, P.O. Box 442339, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2339


In response to state-level needs assessments, extension services and land-grant institutions (LGIs) have directed human and financial resources to meet identified public information needs regarding water resource status and management. This study evaluates the success of these efforts by examining the results of a nationwide survey of public attitudes and perceptions regarding water resources, and focusing on participants’ responses to questions related to preferred water information sources, learning opportunities, and topics. Fifteen percent of the adult population in the Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions received water resource information from cooperative extension services, or in the 16 states sampled, extension reached about 15.3 million adults with water resource information. Older respondents and those living in smaller cities were more likely to indicate receiving water resource information from extension. Survey participants were asked to indicate water resource topics about which they would like to receive further information. Respondents were most interested in protecting public drinking water supplies, watershed management, nutrient and pesticide management, and fish and wildlife needs. Similarly, participants were asked to indicate their three (of possible 12) preferred modes for receiving water resource information. Overall, most respondents preferred receiving information by reading printed fact sheets, watching television coverage, reading newspaper articles, and visiting Internet websites. However, responses varied widely according to respondent’s age and the size of the community, indicating that water resource education delivery methods should be selected based on specific target audiences.

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