Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Dale Miller

Second Advisor

Abby Hickcox

Third Advisor

David Brown

Abstract

Abstract

Land conservation has become an essential scientific field for protecting our environment, species, and resources. While the benefits of land conservation are well known, there is still criticism from communities and individuals. The City of Boulder, Colorado is often revered as a celebrated example for land conservation and its residents’ participation in conservation initiatives. Through an in-person survey, this honors thesis examines what factors influence Boulder residents’ acceptance of land conservation. By pinpointing the factors that impact an individuals’ acceptance of land conservation efforts, government officials, nonprofit organizations, and communities can target their land conservation initiatives to appeal to those significant and influential factors. Through a quantitative and qualitative study this honors thesis concludes that salary, visitation, and political affiliation are the main factors influencing approval of land conservation sites. In addition, the study finds that preservation and aesthetics are also powerful influences correlating with support for land conservation. Through these conclusions it becomes evident that environmental privilege is present in Boulder, and that experiences with nature and progressive attitudes are widespread and crucial for conserving land. While Boulder has been impressively successful in conserving ecologically important land, the aesthetics of the land for Boulder’s “Backdrop” is a dominant consideration for residents. The conclusions of this study not only provide insight for the City of Boulder, but its results can be applied to help other cities promote and conserve important land.