National and Regional Results of the Wildlife Viewer Survey: Enhancing Relevancy and Engaging Support from a Broader Constituency

dc.contributor.authorSinkular, Emily N.en
dc.contributor.authorDayer, Ashley A.en
dc.contributor.authorBarnes, Jessica C.en
dc.contributor.authorPototsky, P. Christyen
dc.contributor.authorPlante, Shellyen
dc.contributor.authorJennings, Kelsey K.en
dc.contributor.authorChaves, Willandiaen
dc.coverage.countryUnited Statesen
dc.description.abstractWildlife viewing is among the fastest growing outdoor recreation activities in the United States, with significant implications for the work of fish and wildlife agencies. Wildlife viewers are those who intentionally observe, feed, or photograph wildlife; travel to parks, protected areas, or other natural spaces with the purpose of feeding, observing, or photographing wildlife; and those who maintain plantings or natural areas for the benefit of wildlife. To better understand wildlife viewers in the United States, the Dayer Lab at Virginia Tech in collaboration with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Wildlife Viewing and Nature Tourism Working Group conducted a survey of more than 4,000 wildlife viewers nationwide. The study fills an important knowledge gap for wildlife agencies and illuminates how to better engage this broad constituency of wildlife recreationists, increasing agency relevancy to a wider array of people who enjoy the outdoors. Specifically, this report examines: viewing and conservation behaviors of wildlife viewers; past and likelihood of future financial contributions to state agencies; perceptions of state agencies and their management for wildlife viewers; how to build relevancy with a broader audience of wildlife viewers; comparisons of wildlife viewers across the four AFWA regions; participation of consumptive and nonconsumptive wildlife viewers; and more. This report also conducts additional analysis between consumptive (those that also participate in hunting and angling) and nonconsumptive wildlife viewers (those who do not), and compares wildlife viewers based on their “R3” stage (recruited, retained, churned, and reactivated). To illustrate tangible results from managing wildlife viewing, this report also incorporates seven case studies from state agencies demonstrating successful approaches to engaging wildlife viewers. Finally, this report concludes with five key recommendations for state agencies to increase engagement and relevancy with wildlife viewers. Researchers at Virginia Tech co-developed these recommendations based on insights from the study and co-production workshop with state agency staff at the 2022 Wildlife Viewer and Nature Tourism Academy. - Respond to demand for agencies to develop programs and services to engage viewers - Broaden constituency of state agencies through supporting viewing experiences of underserved groups - Develop financial support opportunities for viewers to contribute financially to state agencies - Support state agencies in implementing results - Conduct additional research to fill wildlife viewing information gaps For more information, please contact Emily Sinkular ( and Dr. Ashley Dayer ( This project was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Multistate Conservation Grant Program (grant # F21AP00617-00), which is jointly managed by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.en
dc.description.sponsorshipU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Multistate Conservation Grant Program (Grant # F21AP00617-00)en
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Internationalen
dc.subjectWildlife viewingen
dc.subjectSurvey researchen
dc.subjectOutdoor recreationen
dc.subjectState fish and wildlife agenciesen
dc.subjectConservation social scienceen
dc.titleNational and Regional Results of the Wildlife Viewer Survey: Enhancing Relevancy and Engaging Support from a Broader Constituencyen


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