Researchers wanted to know what motivates people to take action about preserving the environment, so they analyzed a conservation campaign focusing on monarch butterflies.

The Environmental Defense Fund, like many other organizations, relies upon donations to fund its conservation efforts. It holds fundraisers and connects with the public through social media, its website and email campaigns. Their “Monarch Story Campaign” asked donors to visit the EDF website and share their own stories about monarchs.

“Drawing on personal experiences with wildlife builds awareness and associations with species that may increase later motivation to help in their conservation,” said U-M psychology professor Stephanie Preston, the study’s lead author.

This means interaction with local species in science classes and outdoor experiences may build lifelong awareness, concern and actions for the environment, the researchers said.

“Fostering memorable one-on-one encounters between species may build personal engagement and create future conservationists,” said co-author and U-M psychology professor Colleen Seifert.

Read full article at Michigan News.