This program focused on non-indigenous, invasive species (NIS) education in New York State. Educators, land managers, and volunteers participated in a two-day, NIS workshop that taught participants the skills to develop NIS programs for their respective audiences. Participants came as members of 16 different county teams and were led by an educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), The Nature Conservancy or the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Each team developed plans for implementing programs in their counties for local government agencies, schools, industry and non-profit groups. The program sought to provide training for NIS education and management programs, help participants build program development skills, and reduce NIS in New York through awareness, education, and outreach. The goals of the evaluation were to:
- Determine the nature of local education and management programs designed and implemented by participants
- Identify motivating factors, benefits, and challenges for participants in implementing their program
- Examine networks formed by program participants
- Identify changes in participants’ knowledge and awareness of NIS biology, ecology and management.
Methods included the use of pre- and post-surveys, telephone and in-person interviews, and use of the teams’ final reports to identify the nature of the programs. Results were used to examine the potential for applying social learning theory to the evaluation of a non-formal environmental education program and to determine if social learning provided an adequate framework for collaborative programs that addressed local needs.