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Digging in dirt, Arbor Day planting, may help build citizenship: UMD study
Date:4/29/2011

y compared to the general population - predominantly women, relatively young, and well-educated. Minorities are under-represented. The volunteers also tend to be more liberal than the general U.S. population. The researchers say this general pattern is consistent with national trends in voluntarism.

The vast majority were newcomers to environmental stewardship - roughly 80 percent. Most heard about the activities through their social networks, friends and families.

"City managers and civic groups are hungry for this information," says Erika Svendsen , a co-author of the report and a research social scientist with the U.S. Forest Service. "We've heard plenty of anecdotal stories of why people get involved, but we really haven't had the type of city-wide data we would like to better understand what motivates these people to take action."

Community-based programs around the nation can benefit from this kind of information, Svendsen adds.

"Although the results of this analysis of volunteer stewards in New York City provide some support for the claim that planting trees leads to better citizenship, more research is needed to understand the relationship between civic engagement and environmental stewardship. Future research will address this issue," the report states.


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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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