Modeling Effective Behavior Change Strategies for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (2012)

Client Organization: 
Chesapeake Bay Trust
Project Location : 
Maryland/Chesapeake Bay watershed
Summary of Project Idea: 

The master's project team collaborated with the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to assist local watershed organizations in implementing stewardship programs that foster environmentally responsible behaviors within the Maryland region of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. To achieve this goal, our team first reviewed literature on behavior change models and strategies. Based on this research, we conducted interviews and observations to obtain initial insights regarding grantees' practices, challenges and needs. We then designed and administered a survey to CBT grant applicants. Results showed that the majority of respondents felt that their organizations seek to motivate individuals to protect the Bay and/or local waters through their environmental outreach programming. However, many organizations face a number of challenges in achieving these behavior change goals, including recruiting audiences "outside the choir," effectively applying behavior change strategies, and evaluating their programs. In addition, respondents stated that they would benefit from more opportunities to collaborate with other organizations, as well as from training in how to use academic research, social marketing, and evaluation in their programming. The team used these results to develop recommendations and tools to assist the CBT in facilitating effective behavior change programs. Although this study is specific to the Chesapeake Watershed, it has useful insights for other organizations interested in fostering environmentally-responsible behaviors.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Environmental Justice
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Michaela Zint
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Meghan Kelley, MS Behavior, Education and Communication
  • Sam Little, MS Behavior, Education and Communication
  • Kaitlin Phelps, MS Behavior, Education and Communication
  • Carrie Roble, MS Environmental Justice
Project Status: 
Past Project