* biodiversity conservation * sustainable development *
* ECOTOURISMOLOGY *
PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
Recreation, Park, & Tourism Management
Courtesy Appointment | Anthropology
Human Dimensions of Natural Resources & the Environment (HDNRE)
LandscapeU NSF Research Traineeship
Latin American Studies Program
Faculty co-Leader | Penn State Parks and People Tanzania
Affiliate Faculty | Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
Fulbright Scholar | Charles Darwin Foundation, Galapagos
Welcome to my ecotourismology lab! In this lab the primary research interests lie at the intersections of environmental anthropology and the anthropology of tourism. My students and I tend to utilize ethnographic methods to conduct field research on the impact of tourism on biodiversity conservation, sustainable community development efforts, and rural livelihoods around parks and protected areas. While I generally work in areas of high tropical biodiversity in Latin America and East Africa, my graduate students also work in other locations.
I also leverage an interest in conservation psychology into research on the ways that different forms of nature-based travel influence one’s subsequent pro-environmental behavior, including conservation-oriented travel philanthropy. These efforts help provide full accounting for the contributions — and costs — of tourism for the conservation of biodiversity and endangered species, the sustainable development of local communities, and heightened awareness of the dramatic human-driven change occurring on our planet.
Collectively, I’ve come to label these research interests as ecotourismology, hence the name of this lab. This website features the work I am conducting with students and colleagues in these research areas. For more information about these interests, check out the Research, Teaching and Publications tabs above. Our work can also be followed on Academia.edu and ResearchGate.net.
At Penn St. my teaching corresponds to these interests in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. The on-campus and field courses I have taught focus on nature-based tourism, social and environmental sustainability, community development, environmental conservation, and qualitative research methods. Between 2016-2020, I served as the Faculty-in-charge of the Sustainability Leadership minor at Penn State and faculty co-leader of the Penn State Parks and People Tanzania field course.
Starting in July 2019, I began an exciting collaboration as a Fulbright Scholar with host institution the Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador to explore ways that tourism can be better leveraged to preserve that “little world unto itself.” I’ve since developed an additional project that has been funded by the NSF Cultural Anthropology Program (Award #2020555) that further explores the ways that cultura en camino continues to influence imported worldviews regarding environmental conservation and community development policies in the communities around the Galapagos National Park.
Graduate students interested in pursuing advanced study in these interest areas under my supervision are encouraged to further review information about the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment (HDNRE), the LandscapeU NSF Research Traineeship program, and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management, including the RPTM Graduate Handbook. Other individuals interested more broadly in the activities of our department may access the RPTM 2015-2019 Strategic Plan here.