Welcome to the research side of what I do!
I am currently a PhD Student in the Integrative Conservation and Forest Resources program at the University of Georgia. I am a conservation social scientist who focuses on environmental perception and how it influences people’s behaviors, ecotourism, and conservation decision-making. My PhD research asks the question, “What is the role of an iconic species in the formation of a person’s sense of place?” I am looking at this question from many angles on the Georgia Coast, including resident and tourist interviews, surveys, and participant photography. The current iconic species I focus on are the Loggerhead sea turtle and live oak.
See our collaborative sea turtle painting process below. With the residents and visitors to Jekyll Island, I am creating a pair of large scale paintings that include collaged reponses to the question “What does the sea turtle/live oak mean to you?” The idea conveyed by both the process and the product of these artworks is that the iconic status of a species emerges from collective meanings, both similar and variant. These collected and collective meanings and values can help form that iconic image.
You can learn more about my research here: