Effects of an Informal Place-based Educational Program on Knowledge and Perceptions of Invasive Species Management

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Ariane E. McClendon Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Tina M. Waliczek Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Christopher Serenari Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Paula S. Williamson Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Abstract

Invasive species can generate negative impacts environmentally, socially, and economically. The interplay between human and natural systems renders management a complex problem that must be addressed by decision-makers. Perceptions of invasive species issues varies depending on an individual’s access to information. Although invasive species and their management are often discussed in formal higher education, not all members of the population have access to a formal educational setting. Informal educational experiences may be a mechanism to reach out to community members in a more accessible and perhaps engaging way than traditional higher education classroom experiences. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of an informal, place-based educational program on perceptions and knowledge of invasive species and their management within the community. Place-based education is a pedagogy connection local places with intimate knowledge of the systems, processes, and outcomes that give it meaning to human and non-human species. First, we organized and administered short walks in two central Texas, USA, parks with conversational lessons and hands-on learning experiences. Second, we administered a follow-up retrospective-reflective survey to measure participants’ knowledge and perceptions of invasive species management and postwalk/lesson changes in them. We also compared between the treatment group of participants versus a control group within the community who did not participate in the informal lessons. Fifty-two people participated in both the educational program walks and testing over the course of 1 year, and 63 people were included in the follow-up retrospective-reflective survey control group. Results indicate a statistically significant positive change in knowledge and perception categories within the treatment group. Post hoc results indicate a positive change in knowledge and perceptions in our sample as a function of treatment group members’ age and income, respectively. The methodology used in this study was simple and inexpensive. Hence, our approach could be easily replicated in other areas to educate community members.

When exotic species are introduced into a novel ecosystem, they have potential to become invasive, unacceptably damaging ecosystems and economies. Spread of invasive plant and animal species leads to many problems for human and nonhuman well-being, including decreased biodiversity, interruption of agricultural practices, excessive government spending on eradication efforts (Bertolino and Genovesi 2003; Mack et al. 2000; National Invasive Species Council 2005), and disease formation and spread (Crowl et al. 2008). A main reason these species overwhelm a new environment is because natural controls may not be present (Bardsley and Edwards-Jones 2006; Mack et al. 2000; National Invasive Species Council 2005).

Public perceptions of invasive species are critical to mitigating negative impacts because they undergird levels of concern for invasive species and support for management practices (Sharp et al. 2017; van Eeden et al. 2020). Perceptions, which are powerful indicators of human reality because they encompass one’s understandings, evaluations, and observations (Bennett 2016), have hindered invasive species management efforts in some regions because the public and other stakeholders may not fully comprehend the damage caused by invasive species (Bertolino and Genovesi 2003; Niemiec et al. 2017; Oxley et al. 2016). For instance, without certain perceptions and training to cultivate those perceptions, volunteer invasive species removal efforts may cause more harm than good within an ecosystem [volunteer error (e.g., Harrison et al. 2020)]. However, when people grasp the impacts of invasive species, an opportunity arises to implement management strategies earlier to achieve ecologically beneficial and socially acceptable outcomes (Niemiec et al. 2017; Schüttler et al. 2010; Shine and Doody 2011). Human dimensions of invasive species research indicates that perceptions are a function of knowledge, and informational deficits contribute to conflicting problem definitions, contradictory outcomes, and general lack of concern (Crowley et al. 2017; Liu et al. 2013). Researchers suggest negative perceptions of invasive species management could often be alleviated given a well-informed public (Bertolino and Genovesi 2003).

Educational programming is one popular way to improve understanding and reorient perceptions toward invasive species and their management (Li et al. 2021). Therefore, well-designed educational campaigns are an important strategy for filling knowledge gaps and increasing public support for management decisions. Although there are notable limitations to broad acceptance and support for invasive species management and behavior change efforts (Crowley et al. 2017), individuals who are informed about negative environmental, production, economic, and infrastructure impacts created by invasive species can demonstrate enhanced levels of support for local prevention and eradication efforts (e.g., Nanayakkara et al. 2018; Oxley et al. 2016; Waliczek et al. 2017). A few researchers have explored how sharing information can produce proinvasive species management views. For instance, one study demonstrated that adequately informing people about invasive species can yield enhanced support for invasive species practices and public education is held in high regard among managers to facilitate that process (Vanderhoeven et al. 2011). In another example, Bertolino and Genovesi (2003) commented on the weight public acceptance has on invasive species management, citing failure of a plan to eradicate the invasive American grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from Italy due to authorities and animal rights groups being left out of conversations about controversial management techniques. Researchers also noted that those who had prior knowledge of invasive species eradication programs and were also members of environmental conservation organizations demonstrated greater levels of support for invasive control programs (Bremner and Park 2007; Oxley et al. 2016). In sum, the social domain, specifically perceptions, are critical to the success of invasive species management plans, and managers should strive to increase collaboration with, build support among, and create quality education and outreach content for a broad range of stakeholders (Larson et al. 2011). Despite the need for perceptions to be oriented in ways that make removal of invasive species more palatable, programs designed to cultivate them as such are scarce and underresourced in many regions (Gallo and Waitt 2011; Ivey et al. 2013).

Hence, careful design and delivery of programming are critical to achieve improvements to invasive species management by reaching many individuals quickly (e.g., Oh et al. 2018), but how best to convey invasive species knowledge is understudied (Solano et al. 2022). Specifically, research suggests that place-based informal science learning programs and activities (occurring at a non–brick-and-mortar establishment; Adams and Branco 2017) given through, for example, an interpretive walk or via discussions at a public park, provide exclusive and flexible learning experiences for all age groups, including members of the community who are no longer participants in traditional education (Aguilar 2018; Barth et al. 2017; Elliott and Clancy 2017; Lotz-Sisitka et al. 2017). Moreover, informal science learning focusing on community involvement or collaborative efforts has been shown to be a crucial factor in sustainable development for individuals and the community as a whole (Aguilar 2018; Barth et al. 2017; Lotz-Sisitka et al. 2017; Rosser-Mims and Maloney 2017). However, few studies have clarified how a place-based environmental education and outreach approach using an interpretive-interactive design influences citizens cognitions about invasive species.

We address this research gap with a study of central Texas, USA, park visitors. Specifically, we investigated the impact of an informal, place-based, hands-on, brief educational walk on visitor knowledge of invasive species and perceptions toward management of invasive species. Results from this study can inform community educators on the value of brief directed lessons to the public.

Materials and methods

An exemption request for this research was approved by the Texas State University, San Marcos, Hays Co. TX 78666, USA, Institutional Review Board (IRB approved application #5854).

Research sites

Rivery Park in Georgetown, TX, USA, and Children’s Park in San Marcos, TX, USA, were chosen as the locations for this study based on several factors including presence of invasive and native species in natural areas, handicap accessible paths, parking, distance from parking lots, and availability of facilities such as drinking fountains and bathrooms. Additionally, these locations were well-trafficked by individuals who could be recruited into the treatment group of the study.

Sampling and recruitment

Flyers advertising the educational program walk opportunity were posted at restaurants, bars, apartment lobbies, and other local businesses near the research sites to increase visibility and encourage participation within the treatment group of the study. Incentives were listed on the flyers and included entry for a $50 gift card (Amazon.com, Bellevue, WA, USA) drawing and complementary native wildflower and grass seed packets. We recruited control group participants from the same communities using a convenience sample of the public and campus organizations.

Educational program walks

The educational content of this walk incorporated current information about invasive species issues in the central Texas, USA, region. For instance, information regarding invasive species that are common in the area were introduced such as glossy privet (Ligustrum lucidum), Chinaberry (Melia azedarach), catclaw vine (Dolichondra unguis-cati), and Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis), and identifying characteristics were shared for each. Common ways the species are spread and strategies for removal and management were also discussed. Resources regarding where to get more information were presented (Mack et al. 2000; National Invasive Species Council 2005; Oxley et al. 2016; Texas Invasives 2020; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2020; Travis County Department of Transportation and Natural Resources 2016; Waliczek et al. 2017).

Walks took place on different days of the week throughout the early spring, summer, and fall months of 1 calendar year and took place from early morning to midafternoon based on scheduling availability and weather conditions. Walks lasted between 15 and 25 min and included a conversational lesson with visual aids to illustrate the negative effects invasive species can have locally. Following Zimmerman and McClain’s (2013) study of the use of field guides in environmental education efforts, we showed participants examples or images of invasive plants and animals in the landscape as well as damage caused by invasive species. Specific examples varied based on the landscape site and season. We used an outline and corresponding images to ensure all groups received the same basic information regarding invasive species for the region and included information tested in the knowledge inventory. We encouraged participants to be engaged and ask questions pertaining to their own interests during the informal program.

Survey instrument

We employed a retrospective-reflective survey instrument to measure changes in knowledge and perceptions of management of invasive species within the treatment group. This type of test is ideal when only one meeting is possible with respondents and is also known to compensate for response-shift bias that often occurs in self-report measures (Howard and Dailey 1979). Response-shift occurs when there is a change in the participant’s criteria for evaluation (Howard and Dailey 1979). To prevent this bias, we first asked subjects to report their perceptions at present after the treatment of the nature walk. Then, using the same items, we asked them to recall and report what they felt their perceptions were before the treatment (Howard and Dailey 1979). We asked the control group the same set of knowledge questions and only to report their perceptions now.

Knowledge of invasive species instrument

The survey instrument included six multiple choice questions to measure knowledge of invasive species (Table 1). These assessment questions were developed by Oxley et al. (2016) and Waliczek et al. (2017) specifically for a central Texas invasive species context (Mack et al. 2000; National Invasive Species Council 2005; Texas Invasives 2020; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2020; Travis County Department of Transportation and Natural Resources 2016). For example, one question asked, “Which of the following is a locally invasive plant?” Answer options for this question were: “bluebonnets” (Lupinis texensis), “chinaberry tree” (Melia azedarach), “cedar tree” (Juniperus ashei), and “mustang grape vine” (Vitis mustangensis). Each question also included an “I don’t know” option, which we scored as an incorrect/zero points response. Correct responses received 1 point. Higher scores indicated greater knowledge of invasive species with 6 the highest possible score. For the retrospective-reflective portion of the knowledge test, we asked participants the following each knowledge question, “Did you know this answer before today?” with a yes–no response option. The knowledge test portion of the instrument had a Cronbach’s alpha reliability of 0.623, which is considered an acceptable level (Gall et al. 2006).

Table 1.

Questions used to determine knowledge scores in the study of the effects of an informal educational program on knowledge and perceptions of invasive species management in Texas, USA.

Table 1.

Perceptions of invasive species section

We used seven Likert-scale statements to assess perceptions and attitudes toward invasive species and their management (Table 2) following Oxley et al. (2016) and Waliczek et al. (2017). An example statement was, “I would support Texas government spending for invasive species management.” Answer options ranged from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” In scoring items, more points were given to more favorable responses and items were reverse-coded when necessary. Higher scores were related to more positive perceptions of invasive species management with the highest possible score being 35 and lowest score as 5. The perceptions of the invasive species management portion of the instrument had an acceptable level of reliability at 0.621 (Gall et al. 2006). For the retrospective-reflective perceptions of invasive species portion of the instrument, we used the same Likert-scale to measure participants’ response to the original statement: “Before today, how would you have answered this question?”

Table 2.

Questions used to measure perceptions toward invasive species in the study of the effects of an informal educational program on knowledge and perceptions of invasive species management in Texas, USA.

Table 2.

Instrument administration

We conducted convenient sampling of prospective participants (Etikan et al. 2016). We provided subjects a verbal description of the project and acknowledgment of risks and benefits while reading and completing their consent forms. The educational walk and program began after participants agreed to participate and questions regarding the program were answered by the researcher. Following the educational program, we administered the survey in a paper-and-pencil format.

Data analysis

We analyzed survey data using descriptive and frequency statistics. A test of normality indicated that our sample was not normally distributed. Therefore, we employed a Wilcoxon signed-rank test to compare posttests with the retrospective-reflective pretests. However, our convenient sample approach, small sample size, and potential oversampling of White respondents do not render our results generalizable to populations beyond this study. However, even without accurate park usage records for each site, our study is instructive because it provides data on a topic that has not been otherwise studied using methods that can be reproduced at a larger scale. Were also compared demographic differences between all groups with a Kruskal–Wallis test to identify if age and income differences among groups influenced pre- and post-test scores after satisfying the assumption of homogeneity and, therefore, inferring similar distributions. We conducted Mann-Whitney U tests to make comparisons between the control and treatment groups. We employed an alpha level of 0.10 to account for a small study sample. This level of significance is considered conventional in social sciences and with smaller data sets (Noymer 2008).

Results

Within the treatment group, a total of 51 people completed both the educational walk program and testing. The sample was split with 49% (n = 25) male participants and 51% (n = 26) females. Nearly one-third of participants were between 18 and 25 years of age [32.7% (n = 17)], followed by 26 to 39 [28.8% (n = 15)], 40 to 64 [25% (n = 13)], and over 65 [11.5% (n = 6)]. One child (17 years of age) with parental consent participated. Most participants were Caucasian [84.3% (n = 43)], or Hispanic [9.8% (n = 5)], followed by other [3.9% (n = 2)] and African American [2.0% (n = 1)]. Most participants [51.0% (n = 26)] reported “some college” as their highest level of education, and nearly one-fourth [18% (n = 9)] had at least a bachelor’s degree or professional degree. One-fourth of participants [25.5% (n = 13)] reported an annual income of less than $30,000 followed by those earning $30,000-$59,000 [23.5% (n = 12)], greater than $100,000 [20% (n = 10)], and $60,000 to $99,999 [10% (n = 5)]. Most participants lived in central Texas region and had for fewer than 10 years [58% (n = 30)].

There were 63 participants in the control group. The control group sample included more females with 67% (n = 42) and 33% (n = 21) males. Nearly three-quarters of participants were between 18 and 25 years of age (73%, n = 46), followed by 26 and 39 [17.5% (n = 11)], 40 and 64 [9.5% (n = 6)], and no participants were over 65 years of age. Most participants were Caucasian [58.7% (n = 37)] or Hispanic (28.6%, n = 18), followed by Other [4.8% (n = 3)], African American [4.8% (n = 2)], and Asian American [3.2% (n = 2)]. Most participants [66.7% (n = 42)] reported “some college” as their highest level of education, and nearly one-fourth [25.4% (n = 16)] had at least a bachelor’s degree or other professional degree. Almost one-third of participants [30.2% (n = 19)] reported an annual income of less than $30,000 followed by those earning $30,000 to $59,000 [20.6% (n = 13)], between $60,000 and $99,999 [19% (n = 12)], $60,000 to $99,999 [10% (n = 5)], and more than $100,000 [15.9% (n = 10)]. Most participants lived in central Texas region and for more than 11 years [62% (n = 39)], but almost a quarter lived in the region for 1 to 5 years [22.2% (n = 14)].

Knowledge of invasive species

Wilcoxan signed-rank test results revealed statistically significant positive change in treatment group participants’ knowledge scores following participation in the informal program (P < 0.001), with a large effect size [r = –0.857 (Table 3)]. Descriptive statistics showed that the mean score on the retrospective-reflective knowledge pretest was 2.06 compared with 5.52 on the knowledge posttest. This showed that the participants increased their knowledge from 29% to instead 92% on the knowledge section, and to well above the 4.5% or 75% score that was considered favorable by researchers.

Table 3.

Wilcoxan signed-rank comparisons of mean treatment group posttest and retrospective-reflective pretest knowledge scores and mean treatment group posttest and retrospective-reflective pretest perceptions of invasive species scores in the study of knowledge and perceptions of invasive species management in Texas, USA.

Table 3.

Perceptions of invasive species management

Wilcoxan signed-rank test results revealed statistically significant positive change in treatment group participants’ perception scores following participation in the informal program (P < 0.001), with a large effect size [r = 0.752 (Table 3)]. Descriptive statistics showed that the mean score on the retrospective-reflective perception pretest was 25.21 compared with 30.06 on the posttest. This showed the participants developed more positive perceptions of invasive species management adjusting scores from a 72% to an 86% on the perceptions section and to greater than the 26.0 or 75% score level that was considered favorable by researchers.

Individual statement analyses

Statistical analysis of individual statements revealed significant positive changes in knowledge and perceptions on all statements (P < 0.001). These results indicated that there were no knowledge or perception gaps, that the place-based education fulfilled the goal in communicating within the target knowledge and perception categories and that participants responded to the informal outreach in the intended way.

Control versus treatment group comparisons

We compared knowledge levels of the control group vs. the treatment group with a Mann–Whitney U test. Results indicated differences on both the retrospective-reflective pretest and posttest knowledge scores of invasive species inventory in comparisons of the control vs. treatment groups. Retrospective-reflective knowledge pretest and posttest knowledge mean scores for the treatment group were 2.06 and 5.52, respectively, whereas the control group overall mean knowledge score was 3.25. The differences between pretest knowledge scores showed that the control group had somewhat more knowledge than the treatment group felt they had at the onset of the study (P < 0.001). After the treatment, however, the treatment group scores increased to be considerably higher than the control group’s knowledge scores (P < 0.001). The informal walk allowed for participants to learn content regarding invasive species (Table 4).

Table 4.

Mann–Whitney U test comparisons of treatment versus control group mean knowledge of invasive species and perceptions of invasive species management in the study of knowledge and perceptions of invasive species management in Texas, USA.

Table 4.

Results from the Mann–Whitney U test provided statistical comparisons of the control and treatment group perceptions of invasive species scores. Findings noted differences when the control group scores were compared with the treatment group posttest perceptions of invasive species management scores [P = 0.085 (Table 4)] indicating the treatment of the informal walk appeared to impact perceptions of invasive species within the treatment group. Additionally, there were differences in comparisons of treatment group retrospective-reflective perceptions of invasive species management pretest scores (P = 0.004) compared with the control group scores where the treatment group felt that their perceptions concerning management of invasive species were even less favorable than the control group before the informal walk. The mean score for the control group on perceptions of invasive species was 26.29 compared with the treatment group retrospective reflective pretest score of 25.21 (Table 4).

Demographic comparisons within the treatment group

Kruskal–Wallis tests did not detect between-group differences in posttest knowledge scores, retrospective-reflective knowledge pretest scores, posttest perceptions of invasive species scores or retrospective-reflective perceptions of invasive species overall scores based on gender, level of education, or place of residence (P < 0.10) within the treatment group. We did not compare ethnic backgrounds because of small sample sizes within these response options.

We did detect differences on the retrospective-reflective knowledge pretest scores in age comparisons [P = 0.080 (Table 5)] and in posttest perceptions of invasive species scores and retrospective-reflective perceptions of invasive species overall scores in comparisons by income [P = 0.020 and 0.038, respectively (Table 6)]. Kruskal–Wallis post hoc comparisons revealed where differences occurred between groups. Respondents aged 18 to 24 years and 40 to 64 years (P < 0.05) differed as well as those 26 to 39 years and 40 to 64 years (P < 0.10; data not shown). Kruskal–Wallis tests did not reveal significant differences in knowledge among the four income categories for pretests (P = 0.333) or posttests [P = 0.344 (Table 6)].

Table 5.

Results of Kruskal–Wallis comparisons of participants by age in the study of the knowledge and perceptions of invasive species management in Texas, USA.

Table 5.
Table 6.

Results of Kruskal–Wallis comparisons of participants by income in the study of knowledge and perceptions of invasive species management in Texas, USA.

Table 6.

Kruskal–Wallis tests did not reveal significant differences in perceptions among the four age categories for pretest (P = 0.999) or posttest scores (P = 0.683). Kruskal–Wallis tests revealed statistically significant differences in perceptions among the four incomes categories at the 0.05 level for pretest scores (P = 0.038). Specifically, the less than $30,000 group differs from the $30,000 to 59,999 (P < 0.05), $60,000 to 99,999 (P < 0.10), and ≥$100,000 (P < 0.10) groups. Posttest results (P = 0.020) indicated that the less than $30,000 group differed from the $30,000 to 59,000 (P < 0.05) and $60,000 to 99,999 (P < 0.05) groups (data not shown).

Discussion

Our findings support the notion that knowledge and perceptions about invasive species among local park visitors of different ages and from different income brackets may vary. Previous research suggests that younger generations were more aware of and concerned with environmental issues when compared with older groups (Honnold 2010; Pauw and Petegem 2010; Schahn and Holzer 1990), which may explain our pretest differences. We also note that income played a role in posttest difference in perceptions about invasive species. Research exploring relationships between income level and environmental concern found mixed results, with some data signaling that higher income is associated with lower levels of environmental concern (Enzler and Diekmann 2015). Others argue that people with higher incomes show more concern for the environment (Van Liere and Dunlap 1980) because they have more means to pursue what is considered a higher-level focus. However, income may have provided access to the study site. Research demonstrates that people with higher incomes tend to participate in nature-based activities more than those with lower incomes (Tangeland et al. 2013). Therefore, this study indicated that place-based informal education could be incorporated as a component of educational outreach to improve the public’s knowledge of and perceptions toward management of invasive species.

Information deficits about invasive species issues continue to encumber invasive species management, and well-designed information programs targeting a particular audience are needed to complement a broader invasive species management strategy (Crowley et al. 2017; Kirk et al. 2019). Several authors suggest that negative attitudes toward invasive species control methods become obstacles to managing invasive species (Bardsley and Edwards-Jones 2006; Shine and Doody 2011; Waliczek et al. 2018). This study supports that public education can play a vital role in developing positive attitudes and securing support for invasive species management (Bremner and Park 2007; García-Llorente et al. 2011; Oxley et al. 2016).

Conclusion and limitations

The methodology used in this study was simple, inexpensive, and required a minimal time commitment. Although the walks only lasted around 15 min, there was a statistically significant improvement in knowledge and positive perceptions of invasive species and their management among participants. Hence, our experimental approach could be easily replicated by Cooperative Extension or by parks departments in other areas to inform and educate community members. Moreover, our results suggest minimal resource commitment may be needed for walks to be effective.

One obstacle to the study included recruiting participants, hence, the lower study participation rate. Many of those who participated had an existing interest in the topic. Those without existing interest would likely need a bigger incentive or a more noticeable advertisement to be willing to spend their time joining in the educational program. Additionally, communities attempting to encourage participation in the educational program would likely benefit by partnering with Cooperative Extension education, summer camps, companies, schools, and parks to conduct group lessons. Communities could also ask recreational tour companies to incorporate content into their paid guided excursions such as those doing zipline, boating, tubing, or hiking tours.

In this study, the group size seemed to be a factor in the level of individual engagement. Group size ranged from 1 to 12 participants at a time. Larger groups would likely not easily allow for questions or comments, which is important for keeping individuals’ interest and their ability to relate to the information being presented. The limitation of providing guides for many small groups could be accommodated by training and using multiple guides.

The small sample size, bias introduced through self-selection, and the use of only one region resulted in limitations of the generalizations from this research which should be improved upon in future research. This study also included some participants with existing knowledge and interest, thus, recruiting from a variety of communities and geographic locations across the United States would be beneficial in expanding the research.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oxley F, Waliczek T, Williamson P. 2016. Stakeholder opinions on invasive species and their management in the San Marcos River. HortTechnology. 26:514521. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.26.4.514.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharp RL, Cleckner LB, DePillo S. 2017. The impact of on-site educational outreach on recreational users’ perceptions of aquatic invasive species and their management. Environ Educ Res. 23:12001210. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2016.1174983.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shine R, Doody JS. 2011. Invasive species control: Understanding conflicts between researchers and the general community. Front Ecol Environ. 9(7):400406. https://doi.org/10.1890/100090.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Solano A, Rodriguez SL, Greenwood L, Rosopa PJ, Coyle DR. 2022. Achieving effective outreach for invasive species: Firewood case studies from 2005 to 2016. Biol Invas. 24:33213339. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-022-02848-w.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tangeland T, Vennesland B, Nybakk E. 2013. Second-home owners’ intention to purchase nature-based tourism activity products—A Norwegian case study. Tour Manage. 36:364376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2012.10.006.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waliczek T, Williamson P, Oxley F. 2017. College student knowledge and perceptions of invasive species. HortTechnology. 27:550555. https://doi.org/10.21273/horttech03709-17.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mack R, Simberloff D, Lonsdale WM, Evans H, Clout M, Bazzazz F. 2000. Biotic invasions: Causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecol Appl. 10:689710. https://doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010[0689:bicegc]2.0.co;2.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nanayakkara L, Jurdi-Hage R, Leavitt PR, Wissel B. 2018. In lakes but not in minds: Stakeholder knowledge of invasive species in prairie lakes. Biol Invasions. 20:633652. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1564-4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Invasive Species Council. 2005. Five-year review of Executive Order 13112 on invasive species. NISC, Washington, DC, USA. https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/5-year_review_of_eo13112.pdf. [accessed 21 Mar 2021].

  • Niemiec R, Ardoin N, Wharton C, Kinslow Brewer F. 2017. Civic and natural place attachment as correlates of resident invasive species control behavior in Hawaii. Biol Conserv. 209:415422. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.02.036.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Noymer A. 2008. Alpha, significance level of test, p 18. In: PJ Lavrakas (ed). Encyclopedia of survey research methods. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA.

  • Oh CO, O’Keefe DM, Lee JS, Lee S. 2018. Economic values of a public outreach and education program for aquatic invasive species prevention. Hum Dimens Wildl. 23:399416. https://doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2018.1446230.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oxley F, Waliczek T, Williamson P. 2016. Stakeholder opinions on invasive species and their management in the San Marcos River. HortTechnology. 26:514521. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH.26.4.514.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pauw JB, Petegem PV. 2010. A cross-national perspective on youth environmental attitudes. Environmentalist. 30:133144. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10669-009-9253-1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosser-Mims D, Maloney J. 2017. The historical and contemporary relevance of the interconnectivity of community, community-based education, and transformative education. Int J Adult Vocat Educ Technol. 8:4756. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijavet.2017010105.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schahn J, Holzer E. 1990. Studies of individual environmental concern. The role of knowledge, gender, and background variables. Environ Behav. 22:767786. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916590226003.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schüttler E, Rozzi R, Jax K. 2010. Towards a societal discourse on invasive species management: A case study of public perceptions of mink and beavers in Cape Horn. J Nat Conserv. 19:175184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnc.2010.12.001.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharp RL, Cleckner LB, DePillo S. 2017. The impact of on-site educational outreach on recreational users’ perceptions of aquatic invasive species and their management. Environ Educ Res. 23:12001210. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2016.1174983.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shine R, Doody JS. 2011. Invasive species control: Understanding conflicts between researchers and the general community. Front Ecol Environ. 9(7):400406. https://doi.org/10.1890/100090.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Solano A, Rodriguez SL, Greenwood L, Rosopa PJ, Coyle DR. 2022. Achieving effective outreach for invasive species: Firewood case studies from 2005 to 2016. Biol Invas. 24:33213339. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-022-02848-w.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tangeland T, Vennesland B, Nybakk E. 2013. Second-home owners’ intention to purchase nature-based tourism activity products—A Norwegian case study. Tour Manage. 36:364376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2012.10.006.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Texas Invasives. 2020. Texas invasives. www.texasinvasives.org. [accessed 21 Mar 2021].

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 2020. Texas Parks and Wildlife. https://tpwd.texas.gov. [accessed 21 Mar 2021].

  • Travis County Department of Transportation and Natural Resources. 2016. FY 2016 summary of wildlife and plant management activities on Travis County’s Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and select parks. Travis Co Dept Transport Nat Res Environ Qual Div. https://www.traviscountytx.gov/tnr/nr/2016-annual-report. [accessed 21 Mar 2021].

  • Vanderhoeven S, Piqueray J, Halford M, Nulens G, Vincke J, Mahy G. 2011. Perception and understanding of invasive alien species issues by nature conservation and horticulture professionals in Belgium. Environ Manage. 47:425442. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-011-9621-8.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • van Eeden LM, Newsome TM, Crowther MS, Dickman CR, Bruskotter J. 2020. Diverse public perceptions of species’ status and management align with conflicting conservation frameworks. Biol Conserv. 242:108416. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108416.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Van Liere KD, Dunlap RE. 1980. The social bases of environmental concern: A review of hypotheses, explanations and empirical evidence. Public Opin Q. 44:181197. https://doi.org/10.1086/268583.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waliczek TM, Parsley KM, Williamson PS, Oxley FM. 2018. Curricula influence college student knowledge and attitudes regarding invasive species. HortTechnology. 28:548556. https://doi.org/10.21273/horttech03979-18.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Waliczek T, Williamson P, Oxley F. 2017. College student knowledge and perceptions of invasive species. HortTechnology. 27:550555. https://doi.org/10.21273/horttech03709-17.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zimmerman HT, McClain LR. 2013. Exploring the outdoors together: Assessing family learning in environmental education. Stud Educ Eval. 41:3847. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stueduc.2013.09.007.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Ariane E. McClendon Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Tina M. Waliczek Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Christopher Serenari Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Paula S. Williamson Department of Agricultural Sciences, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

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Contributor Notes

A.E.M. is a Graduate Student.

T.M.W. is Professor of Horticulture.

C.S. is Assistant Professor in Human Dimensions of Wildlife.

P.S.W. is University Distinguished Professor of Biology.

T.M.W. is the corresponding author. E-mail: tc10@txstate.edu.

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