Evaluating a Water Conservation Education Program

Material Information

Evaluating a Water Conservation Education Program A Mental Models Approach
Wu, Ting-Bing
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 online resource (109 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Health and Human Performance
Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management
Committee Chair:
Holland, Stephen
Committee Members:
Cato, Bertha M.
Swisher, Marilyn E.
Jacobson, Susan K.
Graduation Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Cognitive models ( jstor )
Educational evaluation ( jstor )
Educational research ( jstor )
Environmental conservation ( jstor )
Informal learning ( jstor )
Psychological interviews ( jstor )
Water conservation ( jstor )
Water quality ( jstor )
Water reuse ( jstor )
Water usage ( jstor )
Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
conservation, education, evaluation, mental, models, program, water
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Health and Human Performance thesis, Ph.D.


Evaluating A Water Conservation Education Program: A Mental Models Approach Water is essential for all forms of life. When water demands exceed supplies, it has the potential to create a crisis. However, given that water is a renewable resource, the public tends to be unaware of potential water supply problems. Besides a shortage of water, it is also important to address other problems of water quality and disappearing water-based habitats. The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program is an informal educational program designed to educate the public with water conservation messages and Florida friendly landscape designs to promote sustainability at the homeowner level. The purpose of this study is to compare mental models about water conservation between: FYN interpreters (experts); non-FYN participants (Florida homeowners); and FYN homeowner participants. Mental models are a conceptual representation of a perceived situation. By examining the differences in mental models, potential communication gaps can be revealed. Focusing on identified communication gaps when presenting educational content can be a partial solution to increasing the efficacy of the programs. Through face-to-face, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with nine FYN interpreters, twenty non-FYN participants (Florida homeowners), and ten FYN participants, influential diagrams representing their perceptions of water conservation themes were developed. The findings indicated that four major themes: resource aspects, consequences, contributing factors, and actions were revealed in the experts mental model. Based on the expert model, non-FYN participants and FYN participants water conservation mental models were constructed after interviewing samples of those segments. This study revealed an expert water conservation mental model that represented an active diagram of 35 distinct variables. Moreover, discrepancies were identified between experts and non-FYN homeowner participants. In addition, FYN participants demonstrated better awareness of water conservation actions when compared with non-FYN homeowners. By continuous comparison between these mental models, discussions from theoretical perspectives, water conservation behavior perspectives, informal educational aspects, and a FYN program perspective addressing the identified mental model gaps are presented. The results provide recommendations for improving the FYN water conservation educational program as well as a better understanding of Florida homeowners' awareness of key water conservation concepts and actions. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Adviser: Holland, Stephen.
Electronic Access:
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ting-Bing Wu.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Wu, Ting-Bing. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
Resource Identifier:
665097224 ( OCLC )
LD1780 2009 ( lcc )


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text




2 2009 Ting-Bing Wu


3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS It is finally the tim e for acknowledgments. Th is dissertation and my life could not be possible without the unlimited support and enco uragement from many wonderful individuals. First, I want to show my deep est appreciation to my supervis ory committee chair, Dr. Stephen Holland. His constant encouragement, unconditiona l help, humorous e-mails and conversation, and commitment in supporting me throughout my doc toral program really impressed me. He is an excellent and amazing professor. I would like to thank Dr. Mickie Swisher for her invaluable suggestions. She helped me connect with the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program. It was in her class, I recalled the images of holding a coffee cup and discussing ideas with professors on campus that I received from watching Hollywood movies. The images are th e reasons I was inspired to have my dream of being a graduate student in the US. Dr. Susan Jacobson encouraged me to be asser tive. Her positive attitudes toward research and her thoughtful feedback made meeting with her enjoyable. I particularly appreciated her reviews of this dissertation. She really engage s herself in the proce ss. Her critiques and suggestions helped this dissert ation be substantially improved. My sincere gratitude also goes to Dr. Bertha Cato. She took me through every single page and provided great insights on this dissertation. My advisory committee members are incredible. The Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management is a big family. All the faculty and staff are friendly. Their assistan ce with many aspects made my doctoral journey more memorable. I will miss Dr Gibsons hearty smile, Dr. Gambles warm greetings, Nancys assistance, and Donnas hugs and many others. I am also grateful for the assistantship support and opportunities to teach the Department provide d me. Thanks also go to the Graduate Student


4 Council at the University of Florida for partia lly funding my dissertati on research through the Mentorship Opportunity Pr ogram Research Grant. I am also grateful for meeting all the part icipants and the staff working for the FYN program. Special thanks go to the Citrus county extension o ffice for all their assistance. Friendship is an important part of my life. I am blessed for having so many friends all over the US and the world. We shared, laughed, compla ined, talked, and cried together. Dr. Charles Lane and his wife Holly, Dr. Kun-Hsiang Liu, S ung-Jin, Pulung, Luis, Naomi, Wenchi, Heather, Susan, Jui-Min, Yi-Jun, Sherry, Han Ye, Kathy, and many Taiwanese fellows in Gainesville I will never forget all your company. I will be there for you. Finally, I want to express my deepest thanks to my family. My parents give me their endless love and support. My brot her and sister tolerate my nast y temper. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law always listen to me. My niece a nd nephew provide me lots of joy. My relatives also express their love to me. I am spoile d by them. Of course, my two dogs, Mimi and Diandian, I love you. Having all of you in my life is a blessing for me.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................3 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................8 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................11 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........11 Need for the Research.............................................................................................................13 Research Goals................................................................................................................. ......16 Research Questions............................................................................................................. ....17 Theoretical Framework.......................................................................................................... .17 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.................................................................................................20 Effective Communication.......................................................................................................20 Informal Learning.............................................................................................................. .....21 Water Conservation Behaviors............................................................................................... 23 Florida Residents Water Conservation Studies.............................................................. 25 Environmental Interpretation.................................................................................................. 26 Mental Models Approach.......................................................................................................29 3 METHODOLOGY................................................................................................................. 36 Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program........................................................................... 36 Study Design................................................................................................................... ........37 Sampling..........................................................................................................................37 Stage 1: Creation of the Expert Model................................................................................... 39 Expert Participants...........................................................................................................40 Stage 2: Instrument Development.......................................................................................... 40 Stage 3: Creation of Non-FYN Participant Hom eowners Mental Model............................. 43 Participants......................................................................................................................44 Stage 4: FYN Participants Mental Model............................................................................. 45 Interview Process....................................................................................................................45 Data Analyses.........................................................................................................................46 4 FINDINGS....................................................................................................................... .......49 Expert Mental Models............................................................................................................49


6 Consequences..................................................................................................................51 Resource Aspects.............................................................................................................52 Contributing Factors........................................................................................................54 Actions.............................................................................................................................55 Non-FYN Participant Homeowners....................................................................................... 56 Resource Aspects.............................................................................................................57 Consequences..................................................................................................................58 Contributing Factors........................................................................................................60 Actions.............................................................................................................................63 FYN Participants Mental Model...........................................................................................64 Resource Aspects.............................................................................................................64 Actions.............................................................................................................................65 Consequences..................................................................................................................67 Contributing Factors........................................................................................................67 Between Group Comparisons................................................................................................. 68 Index Results..........................................................................................................................73 5 CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION .................................................................................. 81 Research Overview.............................................................................................................. ...81 Delimitations...................................................................................................................82 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ...82 Discussion and Interpretation of Findings..............................................................................83 Mental Models Approach................................................................................................83 Water Conservation Behavior Framework...................................................................... 86 Informal Learning............................................................................................................ 91 Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program Implications............................................... 92 Future Research......................................................................................................................96 APPENDIX A EXPERT INTERVIEW TEMPLATE.................................................................................... 97 B INSTRUMENT FOR NON-FYN PARTICIPANT AND FYN PARTICIPANT HOMEOWNERS ....................................................................................................................98 C INTERVIEW TEMPLATE FOR NONFYN P ARTICIPANT AND FYN PARTICIPANT HOMEOWNERS.........................................................................................99 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................101 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................109


7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 List of Expert Participants................................................................................................ .40 3-2 The 11-item Water Conservation Acti ons for Experts to W eigh and Mode...................... 42 3-3 List of Non-Florida Yards and Neig hborhoods (FYN) Participant Hom eowners............. 44 3-4 List of FYN Participants................................................................................................... .45 4-1 FYN Participation and Discussion Fr equency P ercentage and Comparison..................... 75


8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Comprehensive Expert Mental Model of W ater Conservation.......................................... 504-2 Non-FYN (Florida Yards and Neighbor hoods) Participant Homeowners Mental Model of Water Conservation............................................................................................ 594-3 FYN Participants Mental Model of Water Conservation................................................. 664-4 Low Index Non-FYN Participant Ho meowners Mental Model of Water Conservation................................................................................................................... ...80


9 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EVALUATING A WATER CONSERVATION EDUCATION PROGRAM: A MENTAL MODELS APPROACH By Ting-Bing Wu May 2009 Chair: Stephen Holland Major: Health and Human Performance Water is essential for all forms of life. Wh en water demands exceed supplies, it has the potential to create a crisis. However, given that water is a re newable resource, the public tends to be unaware of potential water supply problems. Besi des a shortage of water, it is also important to address other problems of water quality and disappearing wate r-based habitats The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program is an informal educational program designed to educate the public with water conservation messages and Florid a friendly landscape designs to promote sustainability at the homeowner level. The purpose of this study is to compare me ntal models about wate r conservation between: FYN interpreters (experts); nonFYN participants (Florida ho meowners); and FYN homeowner participants. Mental models are a conceptual representation of a pe rceived situation. By examining the differences in mental models, potential communication gaps can be revealed. Focusing on identified communication gaps when pr esenting educational c ontent can be a partial solution to increasing the efficacy of the programs. Through face-to-face, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with nine FYN interpreters, twenty non-FYN participants (Florida homeown ers), and ten FYN participants, influential diagrams representing their perceptions of wa ter conservation themes were developed. The


10 findings indicated that four major themes: resour ce aspects, consequences contributing factors, and actions were revealed in the experts me ntal model. Based on the expert model, non-FYN participants and FYN participants water conser vation mental models were constructed after interviewing samples of those segments. This study revealed an expert water conserva tion mental model that represented an active diagram of 35 distinct variable s. Moreover, discrepancies were identified between experts and non-FYN homeowner participants. In addition, FYN participants demonstrated better awareness of water conservation actions when compared with nonFYN homeowners. By continuous comparison between these mental models, discussions from theoretical perspectives, water conservation be havior perspectives, informal educational aspects, and a FYN program perspective addressing the identified me ntal model gaps are presented. The results provide recommendations for improving the FYN water conservation educational program as well as a better understanding of Florida homeowners' awareness of key water conservation concepts and actions.


11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Introduction Across the world, 70% of the Eart h is covered by water. Oceans contain 97% of the earths water, while only 3% of the rem aining is fresh wa ter. Food, water, shelter, and space are the four components of habitat for all living things. F ood can provide energy; water is necessary for metabolism (and space, in many cases); shelter is important for protection; and space is required for living things to exist in. Water provides th e Earth with the capacity to support life. From a human perspective, the human body is 70% wate r. Water plays a role in body temperature regulation, digestion, muscle formation, brain f unctions, and almost ever y aspect of human body physiology. Without water, organisms cannot exist. However, global issues are increasingly pr esented in our daily lives. Urbanization, pollution, biodiversity loss, environm ental sustainability, water cris es and climate change are all issues that directly affect us. Pollution and wa ste make water more and more scarce. We, human beings, all have recognized the importance of wate r. A lot of effort has been put into fulfilling the increasing demand for fresh water. Dams, re servoirs, pumps and pipes are constructed to store and ensure our drinking water. Thus, water usage should be a central envi ronmental concern. UNESCO (2003) estimated the fresh water situation for 2025. There will be over 8 billion people in the world and 3 billion of them will not have easy access to fresh wate r. Yet, given water is a renewable natural resource, water conservation is not as urgent as other shortages for most people, e.g., energy supplies. This attitude is common for the eastern USA, since water resources, climate factors and landscapes are different from the West. Even so, the scarcity of freshwater and the need for promoting water conservation for the Eastern USA is a critical problem. Florida is no exception.


12 For example, the South Florida Water Management District announced that the water level of Lake Okeechobee in Southern Florida is about 3ft. below the historical average for this time of year (South Florida Water Management District, 2008). A water shorta ge order is still in effect for the Suwannee River Water Management Di strict (Suwannee River Water Management District, 2008). The importance of water conservation motiv ates decision makers to strive for understanding factors related to water conservation behaviors as well as developing effective projects to reduce water consump tion. For instance, social science scholars have suggested using legal restrictions or normative frameworks to influence peoples natural resource consuming behaviors (Van Vugt & Samuelson, 1999). Edu cation is another way to broadcast water conservation concepts. Local, state, and federal governments are eage r to implement water conservation ideas to create sustainable environments. It is also true for private organizations. A variety of programs or agreements are developed to promote the idea of water conservation. Fo r instance, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection had a Joint Statement of Commitment for the Development and the Implementation of a St atewide Comprehensive Water Conservation Program for Public Water Supply. All Water Districts in Florida and many environmental associations were the signatories to set up a series of specific works rela ted to water conservation and to help ensure the sustaina bility of Floridas water resour ces (The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 2002). The Florida Wate r Star Certification program was developed to encourage home builders and new home owners to install water-efficient appliances at home (St. Johns River Water Management District, 20 08). Informal settings are good opportunities to address environmental issues with the pub lic. The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN)


13 program is a public education and outreach pr ogram that educates the public about Florida landscapes, water conservation and pr otecting water quality. In this program, strategies such as workshops, demonstration gardens, youth camps, and informal garden tours combined with interpretation are used to promote water c onservation and Florida friendly landscape ideas. In this dissertation, a mental models approach was adopted to address the issue of communicating key water conservation concepts fo r an informal educational program the FYN program. This research can help the understanding of both interpreters and homeowners mental frameworks about water conservation and sugge st ways to promote more effective water conservation communications. Need for the Research Florida is blessed with fresh water. Though the state is surrounded by salt seas, the clouds that gather moisture ov er the ocean are made up of fresh water. Rain falls abundantly on this beautiful green state, often dropped in thundersto rms. Because Florida has no mountains and few hills, its flat surface keeps water on the land rather than allowing it to run rapidly to the sea. (Peggy Lantz, 1998, p.1-2) Yes, Florida is blessed with the fresh water renewal cycle. However, because of Floridas weather patterns, droughts and fl oods are still common. Plants and wildlife have processes to adapt to these situations. Droughts and floods are situati ons that they have adapted to and some even require. On the other hand, these events can have negative impacts and are more severe when the human population is rapidly growing. Due to population growth, the presence of large numbers of tourists, immigration and in-migratio n, Floridas demand for fresh water has become even greater. Human activities need fresh water for agriculture, recreational desires, hygiene, cooking, and daily life. When floods and droughts occur, the potential for water quality problems and stormwater runoff increases.


14 The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program was designed to address the problem of educating residents about water shortages and stormw ater runoff, among other things. Homeowners and the public can get lessons fr om local county extensi on offices about water conservation concepts, tools for designing Flor ida-friendly landscapes and assistance in protecting Floridas impo rtant natural resource water. This informal environmental education program targets Florida homeowners and the genera l public. Since it is in formal, no standardized evaluation criteria exist to assess the audience s understanding before and after attending the program. In addition, diverse strategies in term s of delivering informa tion to the public were used for different offices. Did people learn something from attending the program? Was the information conveyed to the public effectively? Any interpretation that does not somehow rela ted what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or experience of the visitor will be sterile. (Freeman Tilden, 1957, the first principle of interpretation) Knowing the target audience is one of the critical keys for successful conservation outreach programs (Ham & Krump, 1996; Jackso n, McDuff, & Monroe, 2006). Most of the time, people have experiences or beli efs about specific conservation behaviors. Rather than asking what they know and what they do not know, e nvironmental interpreters or managers should design program content on the basis of the program s objectives. In order to tie new concepts with previous experiences, interpreters make assumptions about what audiences already know. Unfortunately, the correctness of these assumptions is unknown (Taft, 1995). Interpretation is an educational activity wh ich aims to reveal meanings and relationships through the use of original objects, by firsthand experience, and by illustrative media, rather than simply to communicate factual informati on (Tilden, 1957, p.8). Interpretation is a


15 communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the inherent meanings in the resource (Na tional Association for Interpretation, 2004). Since interpretation is an educational activity and a communication process, it is important to integrate different perspectives fr om both nodes of the communication chain interpreters and the program pa rticipants (Silverman & Barrie, 2000). Interpretation occurs in limited time slots. Interpreters need to rectify misconceptions which visitors might have and use time efficientl y. In order to initiate positive environmental conservation actions, people need some time to attain the sensitivity, knowledge and attitudes necessary (Hammitt, 1984). Interpre tation typically happens in informal settings with a short term experience. As a result, one major shortcomi ng of environmental interp retation is a lack of time to modify mental and behavioral dispos itions (Knapp, 1998). In addition, environmental interpretation often lacks credible program development goals related to specific proconservation behavior changes (Knapp, 1998). Therefore, ther e is a need to communicate effectively between interpreters and the program participants. Communicating effectively means that interpreters need to focus on information th at participants need to know and are uninformed about. The importance of interpretive program evaluation is addressed by many scholars (e.g. Fien, Scott, & Tilbury, 2001; Ham, 1992; Lee, 1998). Evaluation can not only provide information for managers to improve programs and understand their achievements but also the results can be generalized for similar groups and resource agencies. Program evaluation is defined as the use of social res earch methods to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention programs in ways that are adapted to their political and organizational environments and are designed to inform social action to improve social conditions (Rossi,


16 Lipsey, & Freeman, 2004, p.16). The most important re ason for evaluation is to insure program accountability. Additionally, feedback from program evaluations can be the basis for management and content improvements. One is sue that has been raised in evaluating interpretative programs is the lack of appropria te information needed for effective evaluation (Madin & Fenton, 2004). They discussed a lack of available information for evaluating interpretive program effectivene ss as a critical problem. Moreover, the need for a systematic approach to the validity of interpretive program evaluation is also emphasized (Munro, Morrison-Saunders, & Hughes, 2008). Reducing water use and conserving water is a major public issue. Environmental interpretation is a good way to communicate wa ter conservation concepts to the public. However, an improved understanding of the publ ics knowledge of water conservation beliefs must be established. Moreover, st udies regarding the effectivene ss of informal learning about water conservation are needed. Fina lly, using a mental models appro ach to evaluate an informal environmental education program might reveal a new strategy for informal program evaluation. Research Goals Water conservation is a critical issue that ha s to be m ore effectively communicated to the public. The purpose of this study is to investigat e whether there is a gap between interpreters and the publics perceptions of wa ter conservation concepts. In part icular, this is a study about establishing interpreters (expert) and homeow ners (lay people) mental models towards understanding water conservation. The focus of this study is understanding how environmental interpretation in an informal setting can promot e water conservation concepts more effectively. By establishing the mental models of the major participants, we can potentially identify possible gaps in the communication process. Furtherm ore, comparing mental models between the participants can be applied as a form of interpretive program evaluation. Thus, managers can


17 potentially target possible gaps and better unde rstand what people need to know but do not know (or misunderstand) to improve interpretive progra ms and facilitate pro-conservation behaviors in the future. Research Questions The following research questions w ere addressed: 1. What are FYN interpreters mental models about wate r conservation? 2. What are non-FYN participants (Florida homeowners) mental models about water conservation? 3. Do FYN interpreters mental models about water conservation differ from non-FYN participants mental models? 4. What values and expectations do FYN particip ants perceive when interpreters interpret water conservation? 5. Do FYN participants water conservation mental models indicate l earning concepts and actions from the FYN program? Theoretical Framework Mental m odels are constructs to explain and predict the behaviors of a system (Norman, 1983). It is a psychological repres entation of real, imaginary, or hypothetical situations (JohnsonLaird, 1983). Such a model is a persons conceptualiz ation or personal theory of some domain or environment (Jih & Reeves, 1992). The idea of ment al models can be traced back to 1943. Craik first advocated that by manipulating symbolic re presentations of external events, humans alter them into internal models. These models as sist individuals in e xplaining and understanding relations between events and their internal m eanings. Craik defines the term model as any physical or chemical system which has a simila r relation-structure to that of the process it imitates. By relation-structure I do not mean some obscure physical entity which attends the model, but the fact that it is a physical work ing model which works in the same way as the process it parallels (Craik, 1943, p. 51). According to his hypothe sis, through interacting with


18 external events and emphasizing the structural aspect of models, humans can develop their own internalized models. Based on Craiks postulation, Johnson-Laird ( 1983) proposed that people hold mental models as a form of cognitive reasoning. His ma in idea is that mental models are simpler representations of a perceived s ituation. Mental models are cons tructed to connect the incoming information and peoples previous knowledge. Norman (1983) discussed so me characteristics of mental models. He believed that mental models ar e constantly interacting with the target system. Accordingly, mental models are characterized as incomplete (constrained by the users background); not totally correct (u nscientific); run with restric tions (people tend to know a limited set of elements in the model); and unstable (constantly evolving during time). Although mental models have those characteristics, mental models are still functional. When people are evaluating results or making decisions, mental m odels will direct their previous knowledge and experiences when they interact with new information. Gentner and Stevens (1983) argued that when people are engaging in and manipulating a specific domain of knowledge, they will form me ntal models. People playing different roles, such as teachers, students, or researchers, can represent and manipulate their mental models in various levels of elaboration on the same concept. Each mental model is developed for a unique purpose. Therefore, different purposes will result in different models. Experts and lay people will explain the same phenomena according to dissimilar mental models. This is due to limitations in experience and is especially obvious when mental models are a dopted in the comprehension of discourse. In summary, while manipulating new informati on, humans translate external-world signals into understandable words, symbols, or numbe rs. After the translation process, those


19 understandable images can be retranslated into actions. Mental models are like a bridge for humans to grasp a concept or a design.


20 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Hum ans are social animals. Communication be tween each other is an important social activity. A well-designed environmental interpretati ve program is a combination of principles related to communication, learni ng, and behavior change. For th e following sections, research relevant to those topics will be reviewed. Speci fically, the focus will be on the principles of effective communication, inform al learning, and water conser vation behaviors. Moreover, current research about environmental interpretation evaluation and the mental models approach will be addressed. Effective Communication In order to achieve effective comm unication, at tracting the receivers attention is the first step. Moscardo, Woods, and Saltzer (2004) mentioned several poi nts in terms of attracting attention. Things that can stimulate, such as a good smell, loud sound, or huge display, will bring attention. Additionally, things that surprise pe ople as well as move w ill be noticed. Another important point is the relevance and novelty to the receivers. Progr am designers need to keep in mind that presenting relevant and new things to the audience is a strategy to enhance communication effectiveness. Key to understanding effective co mmunication is to look at princi ples that play a role in influencing peoples behavior. Cialdini and Rhoads (2001) summarized the six following influence principles. Although these rules are based on the field of marketi ng, they are applicable for other persuasive communicati on as well. The first rule is reciprocity It is more likely for people to give when they receive. This rule can be used in receiving concessions as well. They took one example from a company to ask people to take a one-hour survey. After saying no, more people would respond to a 15-minute survey request instead, compared to the control


21 group. Scarcity is another factor. This rule used to explain why limited edition items are usually more attractive. Influential sources which they explained as the idea of authority are also important. That is why inviting experts is a strategy used in persuading behavior change. Consistency means that people try to not contradict their own words. On the basis of this rule, communication programs can prepare a commi tment form with vivid language and relevant examples for participants to make a promise in terms of changing behavior (Jacobson, McDuff, & Monroe, 2006). People direct themselves to agree with those they like or are attracted to. This is the rule of liking Therefore having celebrities repr esent a conservation event could be successful. The last rule in terms of influencing human behavior is consensus It is common for people to take their friends or family member s actions into consideration. For that reason, communication programs can inform people with messages that show what other people are doing. Informal Learning What is learning ? Fazey and Marton (2002) evolved the view of learning from a more dynamic perspective. They considered learning as a changing relationship between a person and the world. Therefore based on their definition, lear ning will have individua l differences. Unique experiences as well as peoples perceptions of the world will influence learning. This view is especially critical for environmental studies. Heimlich (2007) addressed issues related to education for sustainable development. He emph asized that a persons beliefs, knowledge, and thoughts toward the environment are de veloped more by informal learning. School is definitely an important place for learning. However, learning not only occurs in school. Learning takes place during le isure activities as well. That is sometimes called informal education. Broadly defined by se ttings, any learning activity that happens outside of school is informal education. Places such as museums, zoos, aquariums, and parks are educational


22 institutions. Because of their noncompulsory character, free-c hoice learning is the value of informal education (Falk, 2005). Koran, Longin o, and Shafer (1983) compared formal and informal learning settings. In their comparison, four attributes of informal learning are relevant to this study. During informal learning, each learne r can decide how much time is spent; learners are across the age spec trum; learners have diverse backgrounds; a nd the communication and language used are casual and diverse. Nature centers are suitable places to insp ire and communicate environmental ideas. From visitors perspectives, having fun while learning is often a strong motivation to visit a nature center. However, research also suggests that people participate in free-ch oice learning to satisfy their personal sense of identity and to fulfill emotional needs (e.g. Roggenbuck, Loomis, & Dagostino, 1990). The debate between entertainment and educat ion occurring in leisure settings is an ongoing issue for discussion. Packer and Ballantyne (2004) collected information from visitors with three different methods in six educationa l leisure settings, usi ng visitors self-ratings, questionnaires, and visitors in-depth inte rviews. They concluded that education and entertainment can be synergistic to each other and interpreters can pl ay a unique role in providing learning and fun experiences for visitors For natural resource managers or educators, park attendance can be an opportunity to promote conservation concepts. Adult learning is another dimension. Histori cally, children are the focus of educational research. Nevertheless, free-choice learning is important for a dults and lifelong learning is promoted. For informal education, there are no pres cribed standards such as grades in evaluating learners learning outcomes. In addition, open spaces with a variety of stimu li can easily distract


23 visitors attention. Ther efore, understanding an audience and targeting their needs is key to enhancing their learning, as well as provoking them to take action (Tilden, 1957). Water Conservation Behaviors Research related to peoples water conservation behaviors can be reviewed based on tw o levels: the problem of social dilemma and tactics related to best promoting environmental conservation behaviors. In part icular, peoples environmental sustainable behaviors can be viewed from structural and soci al-psychological aspects. At the problem level, promoting water conservation behaviors, like cons idering sustainability for many other natural resources, is a social dilemma. Dawes and Messick (2000) have defined social dile mmas as situations in which each member of a group has a clear and unambiguous incentive to make a choice that when made by all members provides poorer outcomes fo r all than they would have received if none had made the choice (p. 111). In order to promote environmental sustainability, water conservation behaviors, like ma ny other social dilemmas, need to be encouraged towards the following tendencies: altruism, cooperation, a nd prosocial (Gouveia, 2002). Individual and structural solutions are discu ssed for people to confront thos e social dilemmas. Educational programs are good examples of individual solu tions. They promote voluntary changes and emphasize an increase of personal awareness abou t the environment. A structural solution is different. Structural solutions want to target internal conflicts while people are making decisions related to social dilemmas. Examples such as fi nancial incentive programs and legal restrictions development are structural solutions for so cial dilemmas (e.g. Thompson & Stoutemyer, 1991; Van Vugt, 2001). Van Vugt and Samuelson (1999) emphasized the decision making of water conservation behaviors in field and scenario studies of a water crisis. They monitored the effects of metering related to peoples water conservation behaviors. Adopting a meter for m onitoring water usage is


24 considered as a structural solution. Based on thei r results, when participants perceived a water shortage, metering can produce greater positive conservation effects for people to commit themselves to sustainable behaviors in the future. The financial incentive e ffect related to water consumption is another aspect that should be taken into consideration while trying to understand water conservation behaviors. Van Vugt (2001) argued about the combined effects of diff erent tariff systems (fixed and variable tariffs) and community identification based on a social dilemma approach. His st udy supported the idea that during hard times such as a natural reso urce shortage, peoples community identification becomes influential in preventi ng public resource overuse. In line with the social dilemma concept, soci al psychologists discusse d the role of local identity and individual differences for water c onsumption (Bonaiuto, Bilotta, Bonnes, Ceccarelli, Martorella, & Carrus, 2008). A questionnaire consisting of perceptions of the local authoritys legitimacy, local identity, voluntar y cooperation, structural coopera tion, social value orientation, and demographics was administrate d to participants. Their results indicated that prosocial people with high local identity had the highest levels of voluntar y cooperation. On the other hand, proself people with low local identity had the lowest leve ls of voluntary cooperation. Time is a critical concept for promoti ng sustainable development such as water conservation behaviors. Time can be consider ed as a psychological construct with three orientations: past-oriented, pr esent-oriented, and future-ori ented. Personal, social, and institutional factors play a ro le in modifying peoples time perspectives (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999). Corral-Verdugo, Fraijo-Sing, and Pinheiro (2006) incor porated psychological time constructs with water conservation behaviors. Thei r research showed that future orientation can positively and significantly influence pro-environm ental behaviors. They suggested that when


25 developing educational programs related to pro-environmental behaviors, including time planning skills, together with social norms a nd values development would be an effective strategy to promote sustainable behaviors. Moreover, understanding personal factors such as attitudes, intentions or experiences influencing peoples water conservation behaviors is what schola rs are eager to know. Personal normative beliefs, motivational variables, percep tional variables, and conservation skills are discussed as having effects on wa ter conservation behaviors (Co rral-Verdugo, Bechtel, & FraijoSing, 2003; Corral-Verdugo, Fraijo-Sing, & Pinhei ro, 2006; Corral-Verdugo & Fras-Armenta, 2006; Corral-Verdugo, Fras-Armenta, PrezUrias, Ordua-Cabrera, & Espinoza-Gallego, 2002). Tal, Hill, Figueredo, Fras-Armenta, a nd Corral-Verdugo (2006) a pplied the concept of K-Factor life history to expl ain peoples water conservation behaviors. The K-Factor which refers to a multivariate construc t (parental investment, social s upport, general altruism, and long term planning propensity) a bout behaviors was proposed as a combination of conservation behavior predictors. Why are some people more r eceptive than others to conservation efforts? From asking 186 Mexican families about water usage behavior comparing K-Factors; they concluded that increased levels of the K-Factor can predict highe r levels of personal water use. Florida Residents Water Conservation Studies There are a few studies related to water us e measures, Florida water quality assessment, and Florida residents water us e situations. For example, Hale y, Dukes, and Miller (2007) took 30 months to document and investig ate if the controller setting fo r a scheduled irrigation system and adjusting the range of the turf area watered can reduce re sidents water use. This study was conducted in Central Florida. They found that about 64% of the total household water supply was used for irrigation. Moreover, a zone garden design for differe nt plants according to their water needs could re duce water usage.


26 Lynne, Casey, Hodges, and Rachmani (1995) ex plored Florida strawberry farmers water conservation decision making on the basis of th e Theory of Planned Behavior. This study focused on perceived control in decision making. For the strawberry farmers, adopting water conservation strategies included both government al controls and economic concerns. Their research not only confirmed the Theory of Pla nned Behavior but also the Theory of Derived Demand. Peoples perceived control toward a specific decision and their actual level of control are both critical in this case According to this study, they suggested that policy makers emphasize both perceived and act ual control in water conser vation technology adoption for farmers which provided implications for promoti ng water conservation technologies to farmers. In addition, issues related to public water consumption and attitudes towards conservation and the effect of water conservation education strategies have been studied in other areas (Billings, 1989; Campbell, Johnson, & Larson, 2004; Corral-Verdugo et al., 2003; Geller, Erickson, & Buttram, 1983; Nieswiadomy, 1991). These studies provide support for the importance of water conservation research and al so indicate research directions for better understanding peoples water conservation attitudes. Environmental Interpretation Generally speaking, there has been basic research on environm ental interpretation strategies to encourage conservation actions. For example, Uzzell and Ballantyne (1998) integrated relevant topics a bout heritage and environmental interpretation to edit a book of issues. Ham (1992) also published a book on envi ronmental interpretation. Research about visitors meaningful experiences (Barrie, 2001), the effectiveness of different modes of environmental interpretation (A nderson et al., 2003; Ham, 19 92), and the linkage between ecotourism and environmental interpretation (O rams, 1996) attracted attention among natural resource managers as well as within the recreatio n field. In the following section, literature about


27 the effectiveness of environmental interpretation programs related to visitor studies will be reviewed. For ecotourism or nature-based tourism, e nvironmental interpretation is viewed as a powerful educational and communicative tool for providing information to visitors and developing a positive attitude toward cons ervation (Moscardo, 1999, p.8; Moscardo, Woods, & Saltzer, 2004). There are many modes of enviro nmental interpretation and each mode has both benefits and disadvantages in terms of communication with visitors. Take wildlife guided tours as an example. Moscardo, Woods, and Saltzer (2004) summarized the benefits as follows: on site interpreters can attract the attention of visito rs, answer visitors questions, provide social interactions, and offer prompt information abou t the animals. The cost for training guides in promoting effective interpretative experiences an d low impact management is a problem for this mode of interpretation. Traditionally, interpretation evaluation studies can be classified into three paradigms (Zube, Sell, & Taylor, 1982; Stewart & Kirby, 1998). Psycho-social paradigm studies are developed based on a stimulus-response model. Res earch in this paradigm tried to understand the effect of interpretive media (stimuli). The cogni tive paradigm focused on the interaction between an interpretive medium and the user. The pot ential meaning of an interpretive program is illustrated by users perceptions. The last one is the experiential paradigm. Studies based on this paradigm focused on users as well as their pe rsonal experiences. Interpretive programs are understood as part of the users holis tic leisure or learning experience. Evaluating the effectiveness of interpretative programs is necessary to reveal if the invested time and money has resulted in visi tor satisfaction with the programs (Jacobson, McDuff, & Monroe, 2006). Even though scholar s agree on the importance of interpretive


28 program evaluation (e.g. Ham, 1992; Uzzell & Ba llantyne, 1998), some studies have also revealed the difficulties in evaluating higher or ders of interpretive objectives (Beckman, 1999). Some have adopted triangulation applying a vari ety of data collection me thods, to increase the validity of interpretive evaluation. In an effort to understand the internal validity for interpretative program evaluation and compare different interpretive approaches in terms of outcomes, Munro, Morrison-Saunders, & Hughes (2008) reviewed 21 interpretation evaluati on studies in natural ar eas. They set a large visitor sample size, use of both preand post test ing, and use of a control group as the criteria for internal validity. Environmental interpretation is a complex management tool. Many factors can play a role in determining the effectiveness of programs. According to their research, most evaluation focused on visitors knowledge gains a nd attitude changes. None of the reviewed research met the criteria they set regarding inte rnal validity. This suggested a more dynamic and systematic evaluation approach is needed to meet the multidisciplinary nature and complexity of interrelationships between visitors, in terpreters, and the environment. We know that besides knowledge, attitudes and values towards conservation behaviors also affect visitors decisions Based on Petty, Wegner, and Fabr igar (1997), there are three components that form human attitudes: affect, cognition, and behavior. Many studies have aimed at peoples affective and cognitive processes. Howard (1999) took an interpretive program in Australia as a case study to understand program in fluences about visitors cognition and affective attitude components towards sea turtle c onservation. Hammitt (1984) emphasized cognitive processes in environmental interpretation. His research focused on a familiarization dimension. Familiarization, in his definition, is the visitors ability to re cognize environmental information


29 and is a cognitive process. It also implied that to effectively communicate in informal education settings, interpreters need to improve the familiarization process as soon as possible. Ryan and Dewar (1995) adopted a communica tion competency scale in evaluating the communication process between interpreters and visitors. They defined communication competency as the ability to interact well with others. Therefore, it included accuracy, clarity, comprehensibility, coherence, expertise, effectiv eness, and appropriatene ss. Their test setting was a heritage tourism interpretative program. This research raised the issue of monitoring the effectiveness of the communication proce ss between interpreters and visitors. In terms of program effectiveness, Madin and Fenton (2004) used a self-administered visitor questionnaire to measure vi sitors knowledge gain after participating in an interpretive program. They targeted four topic areas: reef knowledge, human impacts on the reef environment, reef health and reef tourism. In the first section of their questionnaire, the measurement of visitors knowledge about the reef was developed based on reef ecosystem facts which the program interpreted. In addition, evaluation should focus on audiences. Jacobson and Marynowski (1998) suggested an audience-centered model in desi gning effective interpretative programs. Their objective in building a model was to meet the needs of ecosystem management. They evaluated different media in transmitting ecosystem management information on military lands. According to their results, instead of site specific char acteristics, an interpre tive program focusing on audience attributes can better contribute to the effectiveness of interpretive programs. Mental Models Approach The theoretical overview in chapter one served to introduce the idea, the history and the initiation of applying hum an mental models to wards many domains of life. In this section, literature about the mental models approach is reviewed. Where this approach has been applied,


30 as well as summarizing issues related to mental models research will be identified and addressed here. Rouse and Morris (1986) summarized the objectives of human mental models as describing the purpose and forms to answer w hy and what questions; explaining function and mental states to reply to how a nd what questions; and predicting me ntal states to react to what questions. Those objectives are why research addr essing issues related to peoples perceptions are important and are applicable to adopting a me ntal models concept. Some applications of a mental model approach such as communication with the public, superv isory control, manual control, and computer programs interface de signs were described (Rouse & Morris, 1986). Mental models research mainly targets human cognitive dimensions. For instance, cognitive neuroscience is critical in understanding memory abiliti es, language processing, speech reproduction, and word recognition. Johnson-Laird (1983) defended mental models theory on the basis of deductive reasoning, a cr itical concept in lear ning new ideas. The central idea is not only identifying the critical factors but also the working processes. Many works based on mental model theory have expanded their scope. The goal of environmental interpretation is to communicate a message or it can be thought of as translating a signal (H am, 1992). Interpreters use appropriate facts to support environmenta l messages and translate connections between events to visitors. Interpretation is pleasurabl e, relevant, organized and has a theme (Ham, 1992). Thus, one goal of environmenta l interpretation would be to promote a concept (e.g., water conservation) and hope that the public makes d ecisions toward taking appropriate actions (e.g. recycling or supporting pr o-conservation policies). Mental models research is also relevant to understanding decision making processes. Kovacs, Fischhoff and Small (2001) conducted res earch in understandin g perceptions of PCE


31 (perchloroethlene) use by dry cleaners and dry cl eaning customers. PCE is classified by EPA as a possible-to-probable human carcinogen in the Un ited States. In addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) al so lists PCE as a probable human carcinogen. However, PCE is still commonly used by dry cleaners in the US. Kovacs et al. (2001) interviewed dry cleaners in Atlanta, GA and Pittsburgh, PA. Dry cleaning customers were recruited at Carnegie Mellon. Fo r the dry cleaners, even though they knew the possible health risks in using PCE and they had alternatives, dry cleaners still used PCE and justified the use with some incomplete or incorrect assumptions. Interviews with dry cleaning customers revealed they had little knowledge or awareness about PCE. By comparing their mental models, a better communication strategy was designed. Wagner (2007) conducted a study about natura l hazards coping stra tegies. The main purpose of the study was to evaluate if the prep ared materials for communicating with the public about flash floods and small lands lides are too complex or too eas y. The research targeted four communities in the Bavarian Alps area. The expert influence diagram was created based on scientific literature. Mental models of the lay people living in that area indicated that there are big differences between newcomers and residents with longer hazard expe riences. The research suggested that personal experien ce and the visibility of processe s are the two main factors in informing the public about natural hazards. Be tter communication stra tegies such as good examples, designed exhibitions representing the processes and computer models were recommended to promote better understan ding of these two influencing factors. Conflicts exist because different interest groups might view a particular management tool from different perspectives. This raises challeng es for managers. Wildland fire management is an example. Decision makers effectively communicati ng the risks and benefits of prescribed burns


32 to local people is an increasingly important aspe ct of fire management. Zaksek and Arvai (2004) implemented a mental models approach in British Columbia communities to address the understanding of level of awarene ss of expert and nonexpert stakeh olders regarding wildland fire management activities. They interviewed fire ma nagement professionals and local residents in the study area. Based on the comparison of wildland fire mental models, several significant gaps were revealed. For example, e xperts carried a better understandi ng in terms of environmental benefits of fire management while nonexpert s had less knowledge of this aspect. This study played a role in triggering further concerns in that, more than half of the nonexperts mentioned the advantage of adopting education as an effect ive management tool while only one-third of the experts referred to this. Suggestions for bett er communication about fi re management topics were identified based on this research. Another example of mental models in action was to characterize peop les understanding of climate change. Global climate change is an occurring dynamic phenomena and an exploratory mental models project (Bostrom, Morgan, Fi schhoff, & Read, 1994) showed several basic misconceptions in the publics mental models For instance, many of the 37 interviewees recruited during the annual Pittsburg automob ile show were confused about the underlying mechanism of climate change. Also, concepts su ch as the greenhouse effect or ozone depletion were understood on the basis of both correct beliefs and misconceptions. Following an openended interview process, Read, Bostrom, Mo rgan, Fischhoff, and Smuts (1994) continued exploring these ideas using a quest ionnaire. Four parts: basic f acts, causes, effects, and the effectiveness of diverse policy responses were included in the survey. These four parts were based on previous interview results. Results from the questionnaire provided a better understanding of the essential f actors while communicating the cr itical concepts of climate


33 change. When designing communication material s on climate change, the role that carbon dioxide plays should be addressed and the effectiveness of communication can be improved. How effective is the mental models appr oach in understanding communication gaps? Niewhner, Cox, Gerrard, and Pidgeon (2004) adopted a mental models approach to examine communicative interventions for chemicals in the wo rkplace. In their evaluation of this approach, they used questionnaires and semi -structured interviews to assess the content and relevance of communicative interventions (Niew hner et al., 2004). They concl uded that the mental models approach, as part of an iterative process, was successful in supporti ng the design of a better communications plan to educate th e public about chemical risks. Besides risk communication, mental models st udies are also found in other domains. Lay beliefs of disease inheritance and genetic testi ng were analyzed. Three lay mental models were established (Henderson & Maguire, 2000). With these models, some suggestions and communication strategies can be provided to peop le facing a decision of whether to do genetic testing. Another research example was f ound in a communication study on pastoralists, researchers and management agencies about views toward rangeland resources. Because the fundamental purposes for rangeland development are different among these groups: pastoralists, researchers and land management agencies held different mental models. Abel, Ross, and Walker (1998) built mental models to examin e information and facilitate communication and management for the different stakeholders inte rested in rangeland landscapes. They argued one advantage of building mental models is not only to identify the influential factors but also to learn reasoning processes. A characteristic of the mental models approach is creating an environment for interviewees to talk about their beliefs openly, relevant to an issue. Research ers can elicit the primary factors


34 from a careful conversation. Byram, Fischhoff, Em brey, de Bruin, and Thor ne (2001) wanted to acquire womens ideas about breast implants. In this study, the expert model was established based on scientific literature. After analyzi ng data based on interviews with women, they concluded several points that should be em phasized during communicating with women with breast cancer about poten tial implant treatments. Even though most women are able to review facts about local complications, improving the unde rstanding of medical te rms that are used for describing implants is critical. Al so, information about detecting localized implant problems and the possible consequences to direct impacts need to be addr essed. Based on the results, recommendations such as creating educationa l programs for self-monitoring skills, better targeting misconceptions when communicating w ith women, and other effective communication strategies were suggested to improve th e quality of the decision making process. Is there a general mental model for a target concept? According to Jungermann, Schtz, and Thring (1991), they assumed that people ho ld a general mental model for drug effects. They applied the mental models approach to investigate peoples understanding of prescription drugs. The information on patient package insert s, physicians explanations, and pharmacists suggestions helped form a general mental m odel of drug effects. However, Wagner (2007) argued against the existence of a general mental model. He targ eted peoples perceptions of landslides and flash floods. He f ound that they did not hold a general mental model in these situations. Breakwell (2001) advocated the role that social influence pro cesses play in individuals development of mental models about hazards. According to his arguments, mental model development is a process of soci al construction. Factors such as subculture and social identity can be influential and important in constructing mental models.


35 Therefore, the study that Fischhoff, Riley, Kovacs, and Small presented in 1998 can be considered as a conclusion for what and which is the best way to pr ovide efficient warning information to the public. They first identified th e most critical information that needs to be understood; they assess the publics current belief s; messages focused on the gaps were designed and evaluated; and an effective information de livery mechanism was developed to draw peoples attention. In this chapter, literature about the mental models approach was summarized. This approach will be used as the guiding framework. Concepts of water conservation behaviors and studies related to informal lear ning and environmental interpreta tion were also reviewed, since this study will evaluate an informal educationa l program targeting water conservation concepts.


36 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The purpose of Chapter III is to describe th e m ethodology used to explore and investigate the mental models Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program interpreters (experts), nonFYN participants (Florida homeowners), and FYN homeowner participants possess regarding water conservation. First, a na rrative about the FYN program is provided. Second, methods adopted to establish FYN interpreters mental models are explained. Th ird, an index used to measure a sample of Florida homeowners water conservation behaviors is developed. Fourth, Florida homeowners mental models about water conservation are described. Last, an explanation about the establishment of FYN partic ipants mental models of water conservation is elucidated. The present study is focused on understanding th e mental models of water conservation beliefs as a means of evaluating the FYN pr ogram. A qualitative approach, as Gaskell (2000) mentioned, can explore a range of opinions and different representations of the issues. The particular research interests th is study addresses is establishi ng the mental models of water conservation that experts and hom eowners hold. To explore the range of views that people might have, an appropriate methodology should be employed. Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) progr am is an educational program designed by partnerships between the University of Flor ida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), Floridas Water Mana gement Districts, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the National Estuary Progr am (NEP), the Florida Sea Grant College Program, concerned citizens, members of privat e industry and numerous other nongovernmental agencies. The objectives of this program are to help community residents reduce water pollution,


37 conserve water and enhance their environment through education and outr each activities that inform their abilities to improve home and landscape management. In the early 1990s, research by the NEP reveal ed that decline in water quality (excess nitrogen) around the Tampa Bay area was a serious issue. Urban stormwater runoff was the main reason. Therefore, the Florida Yards Program started to create programs addressing water pollution, water shortage, and impacts on natural environments in the Tampa Bay area. In 1994, the programs were merged and named the Fl orida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program. Currently, FYN is a statewide program expanding into 48 out of Floridas 67 counties. Services such as workshops, yards evaluati on, and publications are provided in this program. Demonstration gardens for most of the c ounties are designed as educational exhibits for the public to have first hand experiences in terms of creating water conserved and Florida friendly landscapes. Interpretive signs, guide d tours and booklets ar e designed to enhance visitors informal learning experiences. Study Design The research is a cro ss-sectional, multiphase design and included the following stages: expert interviews; creat ion of the expert model; homeowne rs instrument development; non-FYN participants homeowner interv iews, creation of the non-FYN pa rticipants mental model; FYN homeowner participant interviews and the construction of FYN participants mental model. Sampling The sam pling strategy for the first stage of this study was purposive sampling. Specifically, Creswell (1998) labeled it criteri on sampling. Interpreters who developed the FYN interpretive program or are trained to lead interpretative tours were the sampling frame for the first stage. The interpreters names were obtained through th e FYN program office. From the list of FYN extension offices, ten offices with demonstration gardens were selected. First contact was made


38 by the FYN program director via e-mail. After the first contact, an e-mail invitation was sent to the interpreters (n=10). From those who responded, an appointment was made to visit each of them at a convenient time and place. As a resu lt, nine FYN interprete rs were interviewed. For qualitative research, Creswell (1998) s uggested between five and twenty-five interviews. Heterogeneity and re search objectives are two criter ia Kuzel (1992) used when he discussed the sample size needed for qualitative research. He recommended twelve to twenty participants for achieving the maximum variatio n. Maharik and Fischhoff (1993) tested a number of new concepts encountered in mental models in terviews. They suggested that the first ten to fifteen interviews conducted can result in a ra pid increase of new concepts. Around twenty to thirty interviews will likely approach a plateau in terms of generating new concepts (theme saturation). Limitations in funding and cooperative interp reters restricted the number of experts interviewed in this project to nine. For non-F YN participants Florida homeowners interviews, convenience sampling based on a re ferral strategy was adapted. Se veral initial homeowners that were recommended by the researchers graduate committee were interviewed and then asked to refer the researcher to other acquaintances who they felt might cooperate with an interview. Contacts were made to acquire their agreement w ith participating in th e study. Before conducting face to face interviews, screeni ng questions regarding whether th ey had any awareness of the FYN program and basic demographic informati on were asked. A face-to-face interview was conducted at a convenient time and place. Conseq uently, twenty homeowners were interviewed for this study. The third group was FYN participants. Purposive sampling was applied to this group. A telephone list of FYN participants was obtained fr om the Citrus County extension office. A letter with Citrus County extension le tterhead was mailed to those on th e list. One week later, a phone


39 call was made to select individuals (n=46) on the list to acquire th eir agreement to participate in the research. As a result, ten f ace-to-face interviews were administrated at convenient times and places. Stage 1: Creation of the Expert Model Based on previous m ental models research (e.g. Morgan et al., 2002), in order to clarify the major themes and causal factors influencing wate r conservation behaviors during an interpretive process, developing an expert model is the first step. Here the term expert refers to people who developed and are conducting the in terpretive programs. It does not imply that experts beliefs are perfect or greater than lay people (homeowners). To build the expe rts mental model, a textual analysis focusing on water conservation concepts, the main fact ors influencing water conservation behaviors and the eff ects of taking water conservation actions were abstracted from a discussion held with each expert. The benefits of analyzing texts in re search are addressed by Lincoln and Guba (1985): the stability of informa tion, the contextual rele vance, the richness of information, and the natural language of the sett ing. An open-ended interview question protocol (Appendix A) was established and approved by IRB. FYN educators were interviewed based on that interview protocol. The expert model is represented as an influence diagram in chapter 4 (Howard & Matheson, 1981) (Figure 4-1). An influence diagra m is a graph with arrows to connect related nodes to reveal interrelated holistic factors. Ther e are two kinds of nodes: ovals represent factors that play a role in affecting water c onservation behaviors; a nd rectangles represent suggested actions that can achieve water conser vation goals. The node on the arrow tail side can have some influence on the node on the arrow head side.


40 Expert Participants Table 3-1 is the in terviewed FYN interpreters list. As shown here, th e participants were seven females and two males. They covered nine county extension offices in Florida. Those participants were given informa tion about this research and the researchers contact information. They could have withdrawn their participation if they chose to in compliance with IRB guidelines. Table 3-1. List of Expert Participants No. Pseudo Name Gender 1 Julie Female 2 Mary Female 3 Amy Female 4 Robert Male 5 Jennifer Female 6 Cathy Female 7 Alan Male 8 Linda Female 9 Barbara Female Stage 2: Instrument Development A water conservation self-reported behavior index was deve loped using a Delphi m ethod The Delphi method is a systematic strategy for collecting information from a group of people (Clayton, 1997). Moore (1987, p 15 17) provides four reasons why using a group of people rather than an individual is more desirable in conducti ng social research: 1) it is logical that if you properly combine the judgments of a number of people, you have a better chance of getting closer to the truth; 2) it is desirable to use groups in or der to understand social phenomena by obtaining the views of the actors; 3) it is ofte n beneficial to use gr oups if you are concerned about the consequences of your research; and 4) complex, ill-defined problems often can be addressed only by pooled intelligence. The index was used as a weighting approach to categorize


41 participants into a high water conservation behavior group and a low water conservation behavior group. In order to develop this index, an email was sent to the nine FYN experts asking could you please name five concrete wa ter conservation actions that you are taking? Seven of them replied to the email and some of them listed more than five items. After this first round, forty water conservation action statements were listed from their emails. Grouping and categorizing those forty items into an index was the next step. First, similar items were combined together. Next, if an item was mentioned three or more times, it was kept in the index. A new 11-item table (see table 3-2) was then prepared for the next round. One week later, another email with the fo llowing question: how important do you think the following water conservation behavior items ar e? with a 7-point respons e scale (1=not at all and 7=extremely) was sent to the seve n experts for them to weigh the items. Another week later, all seven weighting tables were collected from the experts. The mode for each item was calculated (table 3-2). A clear mode is one reason to keep an item. Unlike a scale where similar scores are cal led effect indicators; in an i ndex, a set of items with similar scores are called cause indicator s that determine the level of a construct (DeVellis, 2003). If more than five experts rank an item with a hi gher score (5 to 7), th e item should be kept. Moreover, Sommer and Sommer (2002, p.167) discu ssed the preferred numb er of items for a scale or index. Ten to twelve items seem preferable. Therefore, item six was deleted (there is no clear mode for this item) in creating the final index. A 10-item index was developed for measuring participants water use behavior, based on the water conservation actions the interpreters reported that they considered as important actions.


42 Table 3-2. The 11-item Water Conservation Actions for Experts to Weigh and Mode. Not at all -------------------------Extremely Mode Statement 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. Shorten your showers 1 2 4 6 2. Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher 1 1 1 4 7 3. Water plants only as needed 1 6 7 4. Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints 1 1 5 7 5. Plant drought-tolerant plants 1 3 2 1 5 6. Use a rain barrel to collect rain water and use it to water plants 1 1 2 2 1 4, 5 7. Have a shut-off device on irrigation system 1 1 5 7 8. Wash car efficiently, park it on the grass and use a hose 1 1 4 1 6 9. Hand watering ornamental plants 1 3 2 1 5 10. Shut off tap water when not using it 1 1 1 4 7 11. Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors 2 2 3 7 This is a two-dimensional index. Each item in the index has a weight associated with the level of implementing that water conservation behavior. The index is measured by a 5-point Likert scale (see Appendix B). Since the wei ght of each item is calculated from a group of experts opinions, a total scor e for each participant from non-FYN homeowners and FYN homeowner participants can be obtained. There is no statistical test of inter-item reliability for indexes. Face and construct validity is the basi c quality measure for an index. Face validity is the extent to which a specific set of items refl ects a content domain (Bryman, 2004; DeVellis, 2003). Construct validity is directly concerned with the theoretical relationship be tween two variables. Before applying the index to non-FYN homeow ners and FYN homeowner participants, a pilot test of the items was given to 83 college students. Cronbachs alpha determining whether


43 the items are related for combining into an inde x was calculated (Bryman, 2004). In terms of the internal consistency reliability of an index, an index should consiste ntly reflect the construct it is measuring. Cronbachs alpha is the most common measure of scale relia bility (DeVellis, 2003; Field, 2005). Cronbach's alpha is equivalent to the average of all possible split half correlations, though we would never actually calculate it that way. Cronbach's alpha is mathematically equivalent to the average of all possible split-ha lf estimates. The widely-accepted social science cut-off is that alpha should be 0.70 or higher for a set of items to be considered a scale, but some use 0.75 or 0.80 (Santos, 1999). The pilot study reveal ed that the Cronbachs alpha for this index was 0.74. An inter-item correlation was calculated for th e ten items utilized during the initial pilot test. Three items (shorten my showers, run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher, and shut of tap water when not usin g it) had low inter-item correlations. However, the Cronbachs alpha would not be increased very much by deleting those three items, so they were retained. Stage 3: Creation of Non-FYN Pa rticipant Homeow ners Mental Model On the basis of the experts mental mode l, an interview prot ocol targeting non-FYN participants (Florida homeowners) was establis hed (Appendix C). The protocol was centered on the major themes abstracted from the expert mo del. Also, a checklist developed on the basis of the expert model was constructe d. The first interview question was intentionally general and broad regarding water conservation variables (W illis, 2005). Follow-up questions were more and more specific based on their previous answers. Inte rviews were in a conversational style. Efforts were made to prompt participants to talk as much as possible related to water conservation variables. This is the basic stra tegy of a mental models approach (Morgan et al., 2002). All of the interview questions were asked in the same or der. However, Willis (2005) discussed developing


44 verbal probes in conducting interviews. Verbal pr obing is an interview strategy. An advantage of verbal probing that Willis (2005) mentioned is that it assists the interviewer in keeping control of the interview. The interviewer maintains some level of flexibility regarding asking probing questions and in sustaining an interactive atmosphere. In a ddition, adopting a verbal probing strategy can help reveal releva nt problems and the respondents can more easily understand and answer those questions (Willis, 2005, p.55). Each inte rview lasted about 30 minutes (Morgan et al., 2002). Participants Table 3-3 presents the non-FYN participant hom eowners list. As shown there, the participants were twelve females and eight males. Same as the FYN interpreters, these participants were given informa tion about this research and the researchers contact information. They were informed that they could have w ithdrawn their participa tion if they chose to. Table 3-3. List of Non-Florida Yards a nd Neighborhoods (FYN) Participant Homeowners. No. Pseudo Name Gender Education Years in Current Residence 1 Helen Female Completed graduate or advanced degree 20 years 2 Alice Female Some college or 2 year degree 5 years 3 Bill Male Attended business/technical school 12 years 4 Peter Male Completed 4 year college degree 6 years 5 Emily Female Completed 4 year college degree 11 years 6 Claudia Female High school diploma 4 years 7 Ryan Male Completed 4 year college degree 2 years 8 Lily Female Completed graduate or advanced degree 8 years 9 Sam Male Completed 4 year college degree 6 years 10 May Female Completed 4 year college degree 5 years 11 Gary Male Some college or 2 year degree 2 years 12 Sherry Female Attended bus iness/technical school 2 years 13 Connie Female Completed graduate or advanced degree 6 years 14 Anna Female Completed graduate or advanced degree 1 year 15 Liz Female Completed graduate or advanced degree 6 years 16 Luke Male Completed graduate or advanced degree 6 years 17 Kevin Male Completed graduate or advanced degree 3 years 18 Gina Female Completed graduate or advanced degree 3 years 19 Alex Male Some graduate work 22 years 20 Fiona Female Completed graduate or advanced degree 15 years


45 Stage 4: FYN Participants Mental Model A list of FYN participants was provided by the C itrus County Extension office. Table 3-4 is a list of FYN participants for this study. The participants were seven females and three males. Those participants were given information about this research and th e researchers contact information. They were informed that they could have withdrawn their participation if they chose to. Table 3-4. List of FYN Participants No. Pseudo Name Gender Education Years in Current Residence 1 Pearl Female Some college or 2 year degree 39 years 2 Kate Female Completed 4 year college degree 1 year 3 Richard Male Completed graduate or advanced degree 11 years 4 Dan Male Attended business/technical school 1 year 5 Sally Female Some graduate work 15 years 6 Ruby Female Some college or 2 year degree 4 years 7 Nina Female High school diploma 9 years 8 Christine Female Completed 4 year college degree 33 years 9 Paul Male Some college or 2 year degree 5 years 10 Dolly Female Some college or 2 year degree 1 year Interview Process The experts interviews roughly followed the in terview protocol in Appendix A. The actual topic sequences of questions varied as the in terviewee provided specific answers. For the nonFYN hom eowner participants and FYN homeow ner participants interviews, a water use behavior index and some demographic questi ons (Appendix B) and th e interview protocol (Appendix C) were applied in a more structured way. In order to overcome some possible initial responses such as I have littl e idea about water conservation., Kovacs et al. (2001) suggested that some might simply guess. To overcome th is possible limitation, a short list of water conservation behaviors was administered (Appendix B), to "prime the pump" or to center the discussion on ideas that this research intended to focus on to trigger peoples thoughts of the


46 target concept (in this study, water conservati on). However, there is an issue related to implementing the questionnaire prior to the mental models interview. This will be discussed in chapter five, in the limitations section. As shown in Appendix C, the first question for non-FYN participant homeowners and FYN participants was When I say water conser vation, what comes to your mind? Interviewees were encouraged to talk as much as they could. According to the interview situation, interviewees were told not to worry about th e correctness of their conversation. Some basic prompts utilized are listed in Appendix C. Afte r this general question, depending on what kind of concerns or variables they mentioned, a more in depth discussion was encouraged. The order of interview questions was flexible to keep the flow of the conversat ion as natural as possible. If some variables listed (on the interview gui de (appendix C))were not mentioned by the interviewee, further prompts such as Have you heard of any othe r factors that might influence the water situation? or Can you remember anything else other than what we already discussed? were used. The interview template also served as a checklist for the interviewer. If a specific variable was raised, a checkmark was marked on the interview script. Data Analyses Miller and C rabtree (1999) described the analysis process for qualitative research as like a dance between the investigator and the data. Five phases: describi ng, organizing, connecting, corroborating/legitimating, and representing are o ccurring repeatedly during the interpretative process. In this study, three data formats: the que stion template, the notes taken, and audio taping during the interview were used to facilitate an alyzing and presenting the results. Moreover, the index developed for this study also served a ro le in triangulation. Patt on (2002, p. 247) discussed the benefit of triangulation: Triangulation strengthens a study by combining methods. This can mean using several kinds of methods or data, including using both quantit ative and qualitative


47 approaches. Multiple data sources, methodological triangulation, and multiple investigators can be used to improve research creditability. Interviews with experts, non-FYN participan t homeowners, and FYN participants were audio taped and transcribed. In addition, note-taking and reviewing across interview results were applied to improve the quality of analyzing in terview themes (Willis, 2005). Data collection and data analysis were concurrent to improve relia bility and validity (Morse et al., 2002). For the interpreters interviews, the transcripts were code d and categorized into main themes. In order to create an influence diagram, the assembly method was adopted (Morgan et al., 2002, p.44). In essence, this method means the prep aration of a list of relevant factors (the main themes from the interpreters interviews) and uncoveri ng how they related to each other. In terms of coding non-FYN participant homeo wners and FYN participants interview transcripts; particular attenti on was paid to statements and i ssues related to the previously abstracted expert model. The expert model serv ed as a coding template for coding visitors interview results (Morgan et al ., 2002). The frequency of any single topic that the public discussed was counted during the analysis phase. Each statement from non-FYN participant homeowners and FYN participants interviews was attempted to be connected to one node of the expert influence diagram by the researcher Those statements which were difficult to associate with any expert model node probably re flect different routes that lay people use to understand water conservation concepts. Another independent investigator was asked to transcribe one of the interviews. This is a form of investigator triangulat ion. A comparison between the transcripts of the two researchers added more rigor to this study. Fishers exact tests were conducted to test for significant differences across each of the main them es between the non-FYN participant and FYN


48 participant samples. The interv iewer was the only person categor izing responses onto the coding sheet in order to assure the reliability and c onsistency of data coding. The results of applying these methods are presented in the following chapter.


49 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS The purpose of this study is to explore m e ntal model frameworks to better understand water conservation attitudes and behaviors. Th is study targets Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program interpreters, Florida homeowners and FYN participants to decipher their water conservation mental models as well as reveal differences between these three groups. This study was conducted and the data analyzed using a qualitative methodological design. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with all three groups and a water use behavior index was developed and applied to both Florida hom eowners and FYN participants groups. The following sections present results gathered from these instruments. Expert Mental Models As with previous m ental model research effo rts, this study began w ith the construction of an extensive mental model which attempts to explain key water conservation concepts on the basis of face-to-face inte rviews with nine FYN interpreters. The nine experts were based in the following nine Florida counties: Alachua, St. Johns, Putnam, Citrus, Brevard, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee. Five of these countie s are located on the west coast of Florida, two of them are on the east coast, a nd the two are in land counties. Figure 4-1 represents the comprehensive expert water conservation mental model. This model uncovered four water conservation educati on themes as reported by interpreters: 1) consequences, 2) resource aspects, 3) contributing factors, and 4) actions. Then, subthemes related to each theme were also identified.


50 Figure 4-1. Comprehensiv e Expert Mental Model of Water Conservation.


51 Consequences Consequences is th e first theme that emer ged from the expert interviews. The four subthemes of consequences are: 1) population growth 2) economic concerns, 3) future generations and 4) environmental concerns Here is an example of the population growth subtheme: As it relates to Florida, water conservation is perhaps the most important natural resource issue that we face right now. As the state has grown over the last twenty years, the population has increased 50%. (Robert) We don't have much water now, as much as we had thousands of years ago. But we have many more people using it, so we need to be aware of conserving it. Water is so valued you cannot live without for 3 days, so we need to take care of the water supply; for many reasons the supply is the most important. (Cathy) Population growth was mentioned as the major consequence as the importance of water conservation was discussed with the educators. Since Florida has had a very high and growing population, all the experts intervie wed about this issue believed th at providing sufficient drinking water will be a problem in meeting th e needs for future Florida populations. Experts also reported considering the economic situation in Florida. They discussed issues such as water-based recrea tional activities and real estate development. Peoples recreational needs are mentioned: People travel here [Florida] and move he re for fishing, boating, and swimming. These recreational activities th at are here ought to be good. (Jennifer) Given the fact that tourism is a major c ontributor to Florida s economy, water-based recreational activities are considered to be re lated to the economic consequences of water conservation. Real estate development is another concern. Experts discussed that developers should be required to take water conservati on into consideration when they build new houses in Florida.


52 If developers present a plan for a given resi dential community in Florida, they have to demonstrate where they are going to get the wate r from. If the water is not available, they cannot develop the community. He is going to have to have an estimated amount of water to support his plan. (Robert) The educators believed a water conservation pl an can be important for home developers to consider. The real estate industry will be a ffected by potential future water shortages. The concern for future generations water needs was also mentioned by educational experts. Water conservation is good. The water is going to be there for future generations. For a long time, we also have better quality of water as a result. (Linda) I will say we need water for our future generations. (Amy) Water conservation also elicite d experts discussions about environmental concerns As far as the eco-system and for keeping th e eco-system functioning, the water needs to always be there. If we can keep those natura l systems and keep those areas in a sustainable status, it is really important. (Linda) Saving [water] is very good not only for people themselves but for the environment. (Alan) When considering ecosystems, four major f actors were mentioned by experts: plants, wildlife habitats, landscape pla nning and stormwater runoff. There is no reason we should over-water our pl ants. If you over-water our plants, there will be some root diseases and other dise ases related to over-watering. (Alan) If you do water conservation prop erly, like in our program, th ere is a principle talking about attracting wildlife. You can actually pr otect the environment and wildlife habitats. There is a need to preserve our environment. (Barbara) My specific thinking (about wa ter conservation) is about stormwater runoff and using collected rain water on the landscape when it is possible also on the landscape itself. (Jennifer) Resource Aspects Resource aspects is the second them e abstra cted from experts interviews. These interviews were intended to understand how peopl e perceive the concept of water conservation and what they know about water conservation. From the experts interviews, water conservation


53 was viewed within three subthemes: water quantity water quality, and water re-use. The idea of water quantity was mentioned by all experts. Here is an example: Well, first thing comes to my mind is, it is everybodys issue and it is a major issue for inside and outside the house. It is an issue that has to be learned. You cannot take it for granted any more. People should learn how and they should save water. (Alan) The second subtheme elicited fr om experts interviews was water quality The quality of our drinking water was discussed related to water pollution, over-fertiliz ation, and stormwater runoff which are all related to water quali ty. Barbara talked about water quality: You may probably have heard about runoff. The more wate r you use for irrigating plant systems, the more likely it is that pollutants somewhere get kicked away by the runoff into the waterway eventually and cau se all kinds of problems.... So here we have some kind of algae problem in the bay which may be not caused by the runoff but the runoff contributes to it. So for the preservation of natural resources that's the demand thing. (Barbara) Barbara is concerned about the relationship between irri gating landscapes properly and water pollution. There are some related problems such as algae which can cause serious water quality problems. Julie also commented that over-watering can cause water pollution problems: A lot of times I just see wasting going on. It is just people dont know that their system is not working or leaking. Then al so watering can make pollution stronger. So that the excess water can carry pollutants like fertilizers and pesticides, et cetera. (Julie) The last subtheme about wate r conservation dimensions is water reuse You know we talk about utility water that co mes straight for use. The second one is well water. The third source is reclaimed water. So that is really basic water that went through the process. That is still not good enough to drink, but it is good enough to use for irrigation. Reclaimed water should be used for irrigation only, not for indoor water use. (Barbara) Reclaimed water is one source of water. The idea behind this description is people can take the biggest advantage of reusi ng water, since water is a rene wable resource. Such use also encourages taking the water cycle in to consideration while using it.


54 Contributing Factors The third th eme that emerged from the experts interviews is contributing factors. These contributing factors determine or are relate d to their water conservation behaviors. Thinking from a financial perspective, water conservation behavior is related to water bills and can save money. Jennifer talked about financ ial aspects related to her water use behavior. I think my personal behavior that will save water to a certain ex tent is based on the financial aspect. Part of common sense is that water conservation can save you money. I have all drought tolerant plants so I dont need to water them at all. My water bill saves a lot and that make sense for me. (Jennifer) Another perspective is environmental concern They value environmental issues and care about that topic. I think environmental conservation is always a value of mine. (Linda) I am concerned for the environment in general. I think that is basi cally the main thing. (Barbara) Doing the right thing for the environment is number one. Modeling th e right thing to my child and, I would think money as one thing. The financial consequences are pretty affordable. (Julie) Julies words include many aspects of contributing factors. Personal reasons can also add to experts water use behaviors. They want to be a role model for other people since their career is actually related to promoting wate r conservation. Here are some examples: The main thing is that I have to practice what I teach. I have to te ll people you need to do those things. (Amy) Caring about a basic necessity; I have water and that is my driving force. I like to do my part. Since I teach, I think it is importa nt to practice while I teach. (Robert) They also consider a habit of not wasting as an influencing factor about their water use behaviors. Moreover, they attribute this habit to their know ledge about water. Number 1 I think there will be no waste. Ce rtain times, I see people take actions about their landscape just for personal satisfac tion. Also, people are interested in and knowledgeable about the environment. They will be able to give help a little bit. Another


55 thing is you can still have a beautiful landscap e while doing this thing. That will also be good and let you be satisfied about a landscape you created. (Jennifer) Actions The last them e abstracted from experts in terviews is water conservation actions that people can take. Predictably, expe rts provided a lot of actions th at people can implement at home. They talked about actions outside their homes and indoor actions as well. All of these actions are related to those three subthemes which were mentioned above: water quantity water quality, and water reuse. Non-controlled irrigation systems which will waste a lot of water are a major concern for experts. They suggested group ing plants and separate zones for different plants depending on the plants needs; with a sp ecial concern about irri gation systems; planting drought-tolerant plants (native plants in particular); watering plants in a specific time period to avoid evaporation; using mulch to cover soil and retaining soil moisture; a nd using rain barrels to collect rain water. Here are some examples: There are a lot of things people can do inside or outside the house to help reduce water use. I will say they can do a lot in landscaping. And as we try to demonstrate, they can still have mulch and beautiful landscape without us ing so much water th rough the program. We teach them the right plants in the right place, and we teach them using mulches that conserve water in the soil. You know proper places for proper plants is really critical. Again, that is the most su stainable solution. (Robert) I encourage people including myself to use or ganic matter to increase soil water capacity so you will not need to irrigate so much. I also encourage people and also myself to use the most efficient system available and make sure I am not watering the driveway or sidewalks. (Julie) Using collected rain water on the landscape wh en it is possible. Calculate the irrigation system to reduce wasted water. Use and c hoose plants wisely and use water carefully. (Jennifer) Outside if you have a garden, remember to us e the shut-off, check the hose, have a rain barrel that you can collect the rain water in. Those are some things people can do. And plant dry-tolerant plants. They do not require so much water. (Cathy)


56 Besides those actions that experts suggest the public take to conserve water, they also mentioned some indoor tips. Most reported doing these behaviors at home as well. I try to limit using the toilet. I never let my water run while brushing my teeth or washing dishes. Those are the personal actions I am doing. (Robert) I turn off water when brushing my teeth. I might use hand wash instead of using dish washer when my dishes are not that many. I try to minimize my laundry use, but I take long showers. (Julie) In terms of water reuse one specific action that experts mentioned is using rain barrels to collect rain water and use that for gardening. Use rain barrel for collecting water, we tell people how to get water savings outdoors.thats probably one of the simple th ings that people can do. That is probably one of the easiest behaviors that people can do. They can look attractive and look like they are into the environment. (Alan) These FYN educators stated the active idea of conserving water. From a landscape design perspective, they also promoted painting or designing rain barr els to decorate yards which can demonstrate the concept that having a rain ba rrel will not destroy a whole landscape design. Non-FYN Participant Homeowners On the basis of the FYN educators water conservation m ental model, an interview template was developed. Twenty Florida homeo wners without any training from Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program were asked their perceptions about water conservation. An overview of what they said about water conservation is summarized in this section. Variables presented in figure 4-1 were included in the interview process. If interviewees were not able to mention any single variable, verbal probes were used. While analyzing the interview results, each variable presented in figure 4-1 was counted if a discussion about a variable with an interviewee was raised. Some other variables mentioned by homeowners but not FYN educators were listed separately. Figure 4-2 presents non-FYN participant homeowners aggregated mental model of water conservation. Each theme is presented in the same color


57 scheme. In interpreting Figures 4-2, 4-3 and 4-4, be aware that th e size of the polygon and darkness of the color representi ng a concept; is an indication of the percent of respondents who mentioned that concept. Thus, the smallest el lipse and lightest colors, represents a concept mentioned by 1-25% of respondents, the next size ellipse and sli ghtly darker shade of colors represents 26-50% of the respondents mentioning th at concept; the next la rger ellipse and next darker shade of colors represents 51-75% of respondents raising that concept and the largest ellipses and darkest colors re presents 76-100% of the respond ents mentioning that concept during the interview. Also, the resource aspects ar e represented in blue shades; the action aspects are represented in yellow shades; the consequences are represented in pink shades and the contributing factors are repr esented in orange shades. Resource Aspects Instead of talking about the consequences of water conservation, the first them e that emerged from non-FYN participant homeowne rs interviews was resource aspects. Specifically, water quantity is the subtheme they raised about water conservation. All participants first mentioned about saving water and using it only when you need it, when the term water conservation was mentioned. Later on, several of them talked about water quality. They expressed concern ab out pollution of drinking wa ter having medical effects. Saving water. And not wasting it. (Connie) Saving water and using water in an efficient way. (Sam) I guess when I think of conservation, I also th ink keeping pollutants out to keep as much clean water available as possibl e. So I think about the eutr ophication, detergents, and clean products. (Fiona) I heard about one thing. Some women cannot have a baby. They cannot be pregnant because of water. Some other women took a lot of pills to not to be pregnant [birth control pills]. They took the pills and then pissed. The chemical will contaminate water. It is very much a shock to me. After women drink the po lluted water, they ca nnot be pregnant [any more]. (Anna)


58 Also, a few non-FYN participants mentioned water reuse Some verbal probes were attempted asking if they ordinarily store water. Water reuse was brought up by only one participant prior to being prompte d. He stated that he uses bucket s to collect rain water to water his yard. Another inte rviewee talked about water reuse after probing. She has some buckets near her sink and uses the collected water to water her plants as well. I sometimes keep a bucket in my sink. I use water from the bucket to water my plants. (Alice) Consequences The second them e discussed was consequences Most non-FYN participants valued the importance of water conservation. Some of them expressed concern about future generations and the ecosystem as two main subthemes in terms of c onsequences. They mentioned landscapes, plants, wildlife habitats, and stormwater runoff. They hope to have the same river available that they used to have in their childhood. We dont want to waste because we want to keep it [water] for everybody. We keep it for our generations in the future. Why use it when you don t need it? (Lily) I have lived in Florida for a long time. I used to go down to Ichetucknee River near the 60s and still occasionally go once or twice a ye ar. What I remember as a child or a young adult was the river had what they call bubble fields around the bottom. There are so many places that the bubbles just came out. It is still an amazing place, but I can see the water pressure has decreased. Generally, the rive rs are lower than they used to be. So I think human uses are hurting a lot of our underground waters and hurting our springs. (Alex)


59 Figure 4-2. Non-FYN (Florida Yards a nd Neighborhoods) Participant Homeowners Mental Model of Water Conservation


60 Surprisingly, people mentioned economic consequences less than ecosystem aspects. Only a few non-FYN participants discusse d water-based recreation activities as a factor that related to Floridas economy. One interviewee did mention s cenery and the beautiful green landscape that Florida has, as one important cons equence, as it is the biggest thing that attracts visitors to Florida. She stated that tourism is a key industr y for Florida. To keep the green landscape, water is critical. She expressed concern that water co nservation might limit Floridas tourism business. Furthermore, another interviewee addressed touris m as a big water consumption industry. Hotels and golf courses require a lot of water to maintain their business. All thes e businesses contribute to Floridas economy. Moreover, one of the homeowners mentioned cattle and farming technologies as main factors related to Florida s water consumption. However, plant agriculture is also an essential industry for Floridas economy. No non-FYN participant homeowner raised real estate issues as related to water conservation. From the very beginning, people came to Florida because of the beauty of Florida. That is what our economic basis is. It is tourism. (May) We also have a lot of problems about farming technology. Farming techniques we are using are tending to increase runoff and not enabling water to seep back into the land. We also have the pesticide usage just growing whic h tends to waste water. In Florida, there are a lot of golf courses and recreati on that use a lot of water. We have cattle in Florida, cattle use a lot of water. To rais e any kind of meat, we use a lot of water. (Helen) A few participants discussed population growth while talking about the importance of water conservation. Before probing, participants indicate d that water is a precious resource and we might run out of water. After probing, fe w homeowners recognized that population growth was a major issue related to water conservation. Contributing Factors Predictably, financial aspects were m entioned by many non-FYN participants. They understood that saving water could also save on their water bill. One non-FYN participant took


61 the recent gasoline price increases as an example; he believed if Florida water prices increase one day, people will start to learn more tips to reduce household water use. Saving money, that is the first thing. (Liz) Money. Certainly, it costs mone y to use water. (Ryan) Another contributing factor was environmental concerns Several homeowners perceived this as a contributing factor to their water use behavior. They valued na tural resources and some of them also thought about global warming. Here is an example: We cannot run out of water. Some of the sp ecies will die if we cannot have enough water. We have a lot people and we need to eat. I am not sure if the global warming thing will affect water, but I think a bout that as well. (Emily) Even when the homeowner could not specify th e effects of global warming to water issues, global warming still came up while discus sing environmentally related topics. One non-FYN participant did not consider wa ter conservation as an important issue currently. From his persp ective, he believed that it rains a lot in Florida esp ecially during the hurricane season. For Florida in particular, water is sufficient from his perspective. However, upon considering financial aspects of using water, he still appreciated water saving behaviors and applied some water saving tips at home. I think in Florida it [water c onservation] is not important. The importance is about the bill. Because it rains a lot conceptually we shoul d not worry about water too much. We dont have any experience that we have to shut off the system. We dont have that worry. That is why it is not important. (Luke) Not surprisingly, job related reasons were not menti oned by non-FYN participants while considering contributing factors in thei r water use behaviors. In terms of personal aspects, many homeowners regarded saving water as a habit Few of them discussed their knowledge of not wasting water. They also talked about their pr evious experiences associated with droughts and sinkholes. Alice identified her previous sinkhole experience:


62 Because I have a lot of experi ences with sinkholes, I realize whenever you put something in the water; it goes down to the aquifer.The aquifer is not just under Citrus County. Whatever goes to the aquifer, it can go to the Gulf of Mexico and that will affect everybody. (Alice) Another factor abstracted from ho meowners interviews related to personal aspects is attitudes. Many non-FYN participants mentioned that th ey hate waste. They also hate seeing other peoples wasteful behavi ors. Non-FYN participant homeown ers described their observation of neighbors outdoor water use behaviors. When th eir neighbors turn on their irrigation system without any time limitations, they dislike that and want more control over that kind of behavior. For example, across the street, they have a sp rinkler system. They turn on the sprinklers and they run it for three hours a time, maybe f our. The thing is to saturate [soil] and you turn off. They just constantly run it. (Claudia) Therefore, government played a role in our conversat ions. Some non-FYN participants talked about water use policy. They thought the government should have more restrictions on companies related to waste water management Moreover, some of them supported policies related to personal water use limitations. One interviewee mentioned the inconvenience of personal water regulation. She believes that the government should have better water use plans instead of limiting the publics personal water us e behavior. She mentione d about reservoir or dam construction plans to store water. Desalinizati on plants were also raised by homeowners. In order to provide cleaner, drinkable water, they have heard about desalinization plants. They cannot specify any details about those plants, but this idea was mentioned by a few of them during the interviews. We can encourage through lots of policies that business will start to change their technology. (Helen) I think Florida has to be responsible for Florid a. It has to start from the top [government]. They have to find a solution and they have not done that for years. (May)


63 If everybody uses water more efficiently and w ith more concerns, we dont need to turn on the desalination plants. They cost money. It w ould be a shame to have to use them. We can use proper water c onservation. (Lily) Actions Water conservation actions that people can ta k e was the last theme discussed in the interview process. For most non-FYN participan t homeowners, those indoor actions included turn off your faucets while not using them, turn off water while brushing your teeth, wait for a full-load to operate the dish washer and washing machine, and shorten your shower time (also mentioned by experts, as previously noted), are currently being applied in their homes. Some of them changed their shower head to a water efficient version. Th ose actions related to the subtheme of water quantity I try not to turn on water fully. I try to wash my hands as quick as possible so I dont need to waste water. (Gina) I already changed my shower head. For my sink, I check any leak. (Kevin) In addition, outdoor actions such as utilizing mulch to retain soil moisture was not described by most non-FYN participant homeowners. Some of the non-FYN participants described their irrigation systems, sprinklers, and their procedures in watering their yards. They follow weather forecasts to decide if they need to water their plants. Timers or sensors are used to facilitate determining their gardening behavior. Some even d ecided to not have an irrigation system but use a hose instead. For most of them they report only watering their yards once a week. Some homeowners mentioned the variable of zoning for plants a nd the idea of avoiding high evaporation. These are some actions related to water quantity and water quality that were mentioned.


64 Consistent with the statement that only a few people talked about water reuse, the action of using rain barrels to colle ct rain water was mentioned by only a few non-FYN participants. Some used the term bucket instead of rain barrel to explain their water reuse behavior. For the water quality category, the idea of using mulch, and adjusting irrigation systems related to water quality while the idea of planting drought-t olerance plants was not commonly mentioned in non-FYN participan t homeowner interviewees. FYN Participants Mental Model Ten FYN pa rticipants from Citrus County were interviewed to discuss their perceptions of water conservation. The interview template was the same as for the homeowners. The following sections are a summary of the conversations. Figure 4-3 is a pres entation of their aggregated mental model. As with the non-FYN participan t homeowners mental model, a similar color scheme and box size is used to present each variab le based on the frequency. Same as figure 4-2, the size of the polygon and the dark ness of the color representing a variable; is an indication of the percent of respondents who me ntioned that variable. Thus, th e smallest ellipse and lightest colors, represents a concept mentioned by 1-25% of respondents, the next size ellipse and slightly darker shade of colors represents 26-50% of the respondents mentioning that concept; the next larger ellipse and next darker shade of colors represents 51-75% of respondents raising that concept and the largest ellipses and darkes t colors represents 76-100% of the respondents mentioning that concept during the interview. Also, the resource as pects are represented in blue shades; the action aspects are represented in yello w shades; the consequences are represented in pink shades and the contributing factor s are represented in orange shades. Resource Aspects Sim ilar to the non-FYN participant homeow ner group, water conservation reminds the FYN participants about saving wate r. All of them consider using water only when they needed it.


65 Additionally, almost all of them talked about water quality Some of them discussed stormwater runoff and non-controlled fertil izer use in yards impacting water. Some of them mentioned a video related to Floridas water system played in the FYN course. That video really made an impression on them. Concerns about Florida water quality were also influenced by the video. Some of them also expr essed their ideas about water reuse They described the rain barrel classes in the FYN program. For those who talked about water reuse no verbal probing was used in the conversation. Actions Most FYN participants were eager to talk about water conservation m ethods. Actions that people can take for water conservation came to th eir minds. They shared methods such as using their irrigation systems efficiently, their enthusiasm to plant Florida native plants, and how they designed their yards based on plants watering ne eds. Recall of those out door water conservation behaviors was common for these FYN participants Many of these methods as explained in the expert model are used for controlling both wate r quantity and quality. Su rprisingly, only a few FYN participants discussed the mulch use variable as well as the idea of avoiding evaporation in the interviews. Similar to homeowners, indoor water cons ervation actions were mentioned by FYN participants frequently. Turning off faucets when not using them; turning off water while brushing your teeth; waiting for full loads to run the washing m achine and dish washer; changing the shower head; and shortening shower times are general ideas mentioned related to their indoor water use behaviors.


66 Figure 4-3. FYN Participants Ment al Model of Water Conservation


67 Consequences The third them e is consequences. All FYN participants were concerned about the ecosystem Factors such as plants and landscapes are especially prevalent in those interviews. They mentioned the ideas of maintaining beauti ful landscapes and protecting ecosystems at the same time. They also discussed caring about plan ts. Since the main idea of the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program is to promote Florida-fr iendly landscaping to conserve water, these factors are relevant for those interviewees. Wildlife habitat and stormwater runoff were mentioned by some participants, but not as many as plants and landscaping. Some FYN participants think water conservation ideas will benefit future generations They want their children and grandchildren to be able to have the same water conditions as they do. Moreover, some of them expressed a concern for the economy Keeping grass green, commercial use and golf courses in Florida are the biggest three water use aspects from their perspective. They are also the basis for some of Floridas main economic industries. The successful key to water conservation could be strongly connected to these three aspects. However, none of the FYN participants thought of water-based recreation from an economic perspective. Surprisingly, only one FYN participant brought up the population growth issue during the interviews. She thought because of population gr owth, more and more development would be needed. She thought it would be difficult to k eep a balance between wa ter demand and supply. Contributing Factors Alm ost all FYN participants expressed environmental concerns while discussing the factors might influence their wa ter use behavior. They care about Florida springs, lakes, and rivers. Many of them value water as a preci ous natural resource. Th erefore, all of them considered water conservation to be an important issue.


68 Similar to non-FYN participant homeowners, personal habits are a main factor playing a role in FYN participants water use behavior. They reported a habit of not wasting anything. Knowledge is an attribute to developing this habi t. As they obtained more knowledge about water and other natural resources, they appreciated their value. Also, their education on being a responsible citizen influenced their water use behaviors. Moreover, many of these FYN participants discussed their attitude of hating wasteful behavior. This is similar to the homeowner group. Observing other peoples wast eful behaviors such as turning on their irrigation system all the time makes them feel uncomfortable. In contra st to the homeowner group, none of them mentioned about the government This aspect is similar to the experts perceptions of water conservation. Between Group Comparisons To assess the differences in variable disc ussion frequency between non-F YN participant homeowners (control group) and FYN participants (treatment gr oup), 2 x 2 contingency tables were created and Fishers exact tests (FET) conducted (Table 41). All concepts emerging in both groups were compared on thei r discussion frequency during interviews. All interviewees in both groups discussed water quantity. Ninety percent of FYN participants discussed water quality, compared with 60% of homeowners. Ther e was no significant difference between FYN participants and homeowners in water quality ( p =.204). Half of the FYN pa rticipants and 30% of the homeowners mentioned water reuse. There was no significant difference between FYN participants and homeowners in water reuse ( p=.425). In terms of consequences, 10% of FYN pa rticipants and 25% of non-FYN participant homeowners mentioned population growth Therefore, there was no difference between FYN participants and non-FYN pa rticipants in mentioning population growth ( p=0.633). Economy was the next subtheme. Thirty percent of FYN participants and 25% of non-FYN participants


69 talked about economic aspects of conservation There was no significant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in economy issues ( p=1.000). Regarding future generations 50% of FYN participants and 35% of non-FYN participants brought up this idea. There was no significant difference between F YN participants and nonFYN participants in future generations issues ( p=.461). The next subtheme is ecosystem All FYN participants and 45% of non-FYN participants raised the ecosystem while discussing water conservation. There was a significant difference between FYN partic ipants and non-FYN participants in their mentioning of ecosystem ideas ( p=0.004). FYN participants were more likely to mention the ecosystem during their interviews. Several factors in the mental models related to ecosystems Plants were the first factor. Ninety percent of FYN participan ts and 25% of non-FYN participants discussed this factor. As a result, there was a significant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in raising plants as an issue ( p=0.001). FYN participants were more likely to discuss plants as they expressed concern about ecosystem s. The second factor was lands capes. One hundred percent of FYN participants and 40% of non-FYN participants expressed thought s about landscapes. According to the FET, there was a significan t difference between FYN participants and nonFYN participants in raising landscape issues ( p=0.002), such that FYN pa rticipants were more likely to bring up landscapes while talking about water conservation. Wildlife habitats were the third factor associ ated with ecosystems. Forty percent of FYN participants and 20% of non-FYN participants were concerned a bout wildlife habitats. There was no significant difference between FYN participan ts and non-FYN participants in mentions of wildlife habitats ( p=.384). The last factor was stormw ater runoff. Forty percent of FYN participants and 25% of non-FYN pa rticipants raised stormwater runoff. Therefore, there was no


70 significant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in stormwater runoff being discussed as an issue (p=.431). Among contributing factors, the first category was related to personal issues. Eighty percent of FYN participants and 60% of non-FYN participants attributed personal ideas to water conservation. There was no si gnificant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in raising personal ideas ( p=.419) as an aspect of water conservation. Financial aspects were another contribu ting factor. Half of FYN participants and 70% of non-FYN participants discussed these aspects. Thus, there was no differen ce between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in perceiving f inancial aspects as related to water conservation ( p=.425). The last perspective of contributing factors was environmental concerns Ninety percent of FYN participants and 60% of non-FYN pa rticipants valued the environm ent as influencing their water use behavior. Accordingly, there was no significa nt difference between those two groups in environmental concerns ( p=.204). Habits and attitudes were two features of personal contributing factors. Seventy percent of FYN participants and 35% of non-FYN participants mentioned their habits of conserving water. Between these two groups, there was no differen ce in terms of personal habits when talking about water conservation ( p=.122). Eighty percent of FYN participants and 55% of non-FYN participant interviewees referred to their at titudes towards opposing wasting water as a contributing factor to their wate r use behaviors. On the basis of FET, there was no significant difference between FYN participants and nonFYN participants on th eir personal attitudes ( p=.246). Interviewees shared the idea that their water bi lls played a role in determining their water use behaviors. Fifty percent of FYN participants and 70% of nonFYN participants raised this


71 idea. Therefore, there was no significant diffe rence between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in awareness of their water bills related to water conservation ( p=.425). As regards to their knowledge of water conservation, 20 % of FYN participants and 10% of non-FYN participants mentioned their level of knowledge of water conservation. Consequently, there was no significant difference between FYN particip ants and non-FYN participants in mentioning their levels of personal know ledge on water conservation ( p=.584). There are actions that people can take outside their house to facilitate water quantity conservation. The first one was to control their irrigation systems. Ninety percent of FYN participants and 30% of non-F YN participants brought up this method. There was a difference between FYN participants and nonFYN participants in suggesting irrigation system control ( p=0.005). Growing drought-tolerant plants was another one. Ninety percent of FYN participants and 25% of non-FYN participants suggested growing drought-tolerate plants in their yards. According to FET, FYN participants were more likely to be aware of the benefits of drought-tolerant plants than non-FYN participants ( p=0.001). Twenty percent of FYN partic ipants and 5% of non-FYN par ticipants thought of using mulch in terms of water conservation. There was no significant di fference between FYN participants and non-FYN pa rticipants in suggesting mulch use ( p=.251). Both groups were low. Avoiding evaporation was another approach to conser ving water. Ten percent of FYN participants and 20% of non-F YN participants discussed this tip. Accordingly, there was no significant difference between FYN participan ts and non-FYN particip ants in suggesting avoiding evaporation ( p =.64). For different types of plants, the water requirements are diverse. Zoning plants can have an effect on conserving wa ter quantity. Seventy percent of FYN participants and 25% of non-FYN participants mentioned adopting zoning in the yard. There was


72 a significant difference between FYN part icipants and non-FYN participants in zoning ( p=.045). The interviewees also recalled using rain barrels to collect rain water. Forty percent of FYN participants and 5% of non-F YN participants discussed this tip. There was a significant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in awareness of rain barrels ( p=.031). As far as inside the house, 70% of FYN pa rticipants and 55% of non-FYN participants shortened their showers to conserve water. There was no significant difference between FYN participants and non-F YN participants in shortening shower times (p=.694). Moreover, running washing machines and dish washers only with full-loads is also a strategy in conserving water. Seventy percent of FYN participan ts and half of non-FYN participants discussed this. Therefore, there was no significant difference between F YN participants and nonFYN participants in running fully-loaded machines ( p =.440). Forty percent of FYN participants and 25% of non-FYN pa rticipants changed their shower head(s) to a water-efficient type. In changing shower head(s) there was no significant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants ( p=.431). Turning off water while brushing your teeth can conserve water. Seventy percent of FYN participants and 40% of non-FYN participants brought up this method. There was no significant difference between FYN participants and non-F YN participants in turning off water while brushing their teeth ( p=.245). The last indoor water cons ervation tip was turning off faucets when not using them. Sixty percent of FYN participants and 40% of non-FYN particip ants thought of this method. Accordingly, there was no significant diffe rence between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in turning off faucets (p=.442).


73 Some actions outside the house have a positive impact on water quality. Growing droughttolerate plants was one. Eighty percent of FYN participants and 15% of non-FYN participants mentioned this action. FYN participants are more likely to mention growing drought-tolerant plants to conserve water quality ( p=.001). Twenty percent of FYN participants and 5% of nonFYN participants understood using mulch to cons erve water quality. There was no significant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in us ing mulch for improving water quality ( p=.251). Irrigation system use has an influence on wa ter quality as well. Eighty percent of FYN participants and 15% of non-FYN participants disc ussed this. As a result, there was a significant difference between those part icipating FYN programs or not in adjusting irrigation systems for water quality ( p=.001). Forty percent of homeowners who received FYN training and 5% of non-FYN participants talked about using rain barrels for re-using water. According to the FET, there was a significant difference between FYN participants and non-FYN participants in using rain barrels to reuse rain water (p =.031). Index Results A developed index served a role of providing an alternative indicator of water conservation behaviors. T he total score for this 2 dimensional index is 320. Among the 20 non-FYN participant homeowners, the minimum scor e was 158 and the maximum was 290. The mean score was 233. For the FYN participants, th e minimum score was 242 and the maximum was 296. The mean score was 274. Six interviewees index scores were lower th an 200 in the homeowner group. None of the FYN participants were lower than 200. Those 6 interviewees results were aggregated. A mental model diagram was created for them in figure 4-4. The size of the polygon and darkness of the color representing a concept; is an indication of the percent of respondents who mentioned that


74 concept. Thus, the smallest ellipse and lightest colors, represents a concept mentioned by 1-25% of respondents, the next size ellips e and slightly darker shade of colors represents 26-50% of the respondents mentioning that concept; the next larg er ellipse and next darker shade of colors represents 51-75% of respondents raising that concept and the largest ellipse s and darkest colors represents 76-100% of the respondents mentioning that concept during the interview. Also, the resource aspects are represented in blue shades; the action aspects are represented in yellow shades; the consequences are represented in pink shades and the contributing factors are represented in orange shades. Implications and conclusions ba sed on these results will be discussed in the next chapter.


75 Table 4-1. FYN Participati on and Discussion Frequency Percentage and Comparison FYN participation Yes (%) No (%) Resource Aspects Water Quantity Discussion frequency Yes 100 100 No 0 0 Fishers exact test -Water Quality Discussion frequency Yes 90 60 No 10 40 Fishers exact test p = 0.204 Water Re-use Discussion frequency Yes 50 30 No 50 70 Fishers exact test p = 0.425 Consequences Population Growth Discussion frequency Yes 10 25 No 90 75 Fishers exact test p = 0.633 Economy Discussion frequency Yes 30 25 No 70 75 Fishers exact test p = 1.000 Future Generations Discussion frequency Yes 50 35 No 50 65 Fishers exact test p = 0.461 Ecosystem Discussion frequency Yes 100 45 No 0 55 Fishers exact test p = 0.004** Ecosystem plants Discussion frequency Yes 90 25 No 10 75 Fishers exact test p = 0.001**


76 Table 4-1. Continued. FYN participation Yes (%) No (%) Ecosystem landscape Discussion frequency Yes 100 40 No 0 60 Fishers exact test p = 0.002** Ecosystem wildlife habitat Discussion frequency Yes 40 20 No 60 80 Fishers exact test p = 0.384 Ecosystem stormwater runoff Discussion frequency Yes 40 25 No 60 75 Fishers exact test p = 0.431 Contributing factors Personal Discussion frequency Yes 80 60 No 20 40 Fishers exact test p = 0.419 Financial Discussion frequency Yes 50 70 No 50 30 Fishers exact test p = 0.425 Environmental Concern Discussion frequency Yes 90 60 No 10 40 Fishers exact test p = 0.204 Personal habit Discussion frequency Yes 70 35 No 30 65 Fishers exact test p = 0.122 Personal attitude Discussion frequency Yes 80 55 No 20 45 Fishers exact test p = 0.246


77 Table 4-1. Continued. FYN participation Yes (%) No (%) Financial water bill Discussion frequency Yes 50 70 No 50 30 Fishers exact test p = 0.425 Personal habitat (knowledge) Discussion frequency Yes 20 10 No 80 90 Fishers exact test p = 0.584 Actions water quantity (outdoor) Irrigation system Discussion frequency Yes 90 30 No 10 70 Fishers exact test p = 0.005** Drought-tolerant plants Discussion frequency Yes 90 25 No 10 75 Fishers exact test p = 0.001** Mulching Discussion frequency Yes 20 5 No 80 95 Fishers exact test p = 0.251 Evaporation avoid Discussion frequency Yes 10 20 No 90 80 Fishers exact test p = 0.64 Planting zones Discussion frequency Yes 70 25 No 30 75 Fishers exact test p = 0.045* Rain barrels Discussion frequency Yes 40 5 No 60 95 Fishers exact test p = 0.031*


78 Table 4-1. Continued. FYN participation Yes (%) No (%) Actions water quantity (indoor) Shorten showers Discussion frequency Yes 70 55 No 30 45 Fishers exact test p = 0.694 Full load Discussion frequency Yes 70 50 No 30 50 Fishers exact test p = 0.440 Shower heads Discussion frequency Yes 40 25 No 60 75 Fishers exact test p = 0.431 Brushing teeth Discussion frequency Yes 70 40 No 30 60 Fishers exact test p = 0.245 Faucets Discussion frequency Yes 60 40 No 40 60 Fishers exact test p = 0.442 Actions water quality (outdoor) Drought-tolerant plants Discussion frequency Yes 80 15 No 20 85 Fishers exact test p = 0.001** Mulching Discussion frequency Yes 20 5 No 80 95 Fishers exact test p = 0.251 Irrigation systems Discussion frequency Yes 80 15 No 20 85 Fishers exact test p = 0.001**


79 Table 4-1. Continued. FYN participation Yes (%) No (%) Actions water reuse (outdoor) Rain barrels Discussion frequency Yes 40 5 No 60 95 Fishers exact test p = 0.031* n=30. *Significant at .05 level (2-tailed). **Significant at .01 level (2-tailed).


80 Figure 4-4. Low Index Non-FYN Pa rticipant Homeowners Mental Model of Water Conservation


81 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND DISCUSSION A discussion and conclusions of the m ajor fi ndings from Chapter 4 are presented in this section. The discussion is organized into the fo llowing sections: 1) mental models approach perspectives, 2) water conservation research fr amework, 3) informal learning aspects, and 4) Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program perspec tives. Future research needs as well as recommendations for better communicat ion strategies are provided. Research Overview This study investigated the Fl orida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program interpreters, non-FYN participants (Florida homeowners), and FYN homeowner participants perceptions of water conservation concepts. Through face-to-face interviews, nine FYN interpreters (experts), 20 non-FYN participant homeowners, and ten FYN participants were in terviewed between the end of May, 2008 and the middle of October, 20 08. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in locations where participants felt comforta ble. Each interview lasted about 30 minutes. The purpose of this study was to understand if there are water conser vation perception gaps between experts and Florida homeowners. On the basis of mental models theory, water conservation mental models for FYN interpre ters, non-FYN participant homeowners, and FYN participants were created. Mo reover, a non-FYN participant home owners and FYN participants water conservation mental models comparison was done. This comparison was used as a tool to evaluate the program. In the process of analyzing interview transcript s, several themes were abstracted as a result of coding and comparing the nine experts transc ripts. A diagram representing experts mental model of water conservation was developed (Fig ure 4.1). The expert model was used to guide the interview template for both non-FYN par ticipant homeowners and FYN participants.


82 Interviewing, coding, analyzing and comparing the 20 non-FYN participant homeowners and 10 FYN participants transcripts were done to understand possible gaps in the communication channels. As a result, disc repancies were identified. Delimitations This study was conducted in Florida. The sa m ple population was homeowners in central and northern Florida. Given the unique fresh water conditions in Florida, the generalizability of this research is likely limited. Limitations Two lim itations of this study were the way th e respondent sample was selected and its small size. Volunteer respondents w ho were willing to participate in this research might have had a higher awareness or interest in water conserva tion issues. Some social desirability concerns might have affected interviewees answers. Fu rthermore, attempting to estimate the general perceptions of water conservati on from twenty Florida homeowners and ten FYN participants is subject to sampling error. However, the models presented here are an exploratory first step toward providing insights into the major water conservation themes held by the Florida public and limitations in funding restricted the sample size. Moreover, the interview questions might have be en too general. They may have limited the ability to abstract more specific relevant factor s in terms of water cons ervation concepts; some open-ended questions might have been utilized to more fully reveal each mental model. As far as the interview administration pr ocedure towards the non-FYN participant homeowners and the FYN participant homeowners, concerns such as possible recall problems or limited interviewees thoughts about water conservation should be verified in a follow up study. In addition, the interviewers interview conducting abilities probably evolved during the data collection process. This may have influenced the quality of the early interviews. Given the fact that the interviewer


83 is not a native English speaker, possible cultu ral and language background biases might have influenced the transcription and hence, research results. Discussion and Interp retation of Findings This section focuses on revisiting the literature about the m ental models approach, water conservation behaviors, and inform al learning. Integrating previous research and the results of this research, recommendations for future wate r conservation behavior research and the FYN program are also provided. Mental Models Approach As stated in Chapter two the mental models approach is relevant to identifying communication gaps for a specific target concep t (e.g. Byram et al., 2001 ; Kovacs et al., 2001; Wagner, 2007). In this study, the creation of an expert mental model was the first step to identifying what conservation educators think is important about water conservation. Given their specialized training and experience, the experts (FYN interpreters) expressed their thoughts of water conservation in a convers ational manner. Rouse and Morri s (1986) indicated that the purposes of mental models are to describe the target concept, e xplain the system, and predict the future of the system. It assumes while actually assessing peoples mental models, the dynamic and working mental model will be presented (Rouse & Morris, 1986). Figure 4-1 details the main dimensions of water conservation; the potential consequences; th e possible contributing factors; and the actions people can take. It is not onl y a presentation of knowledge but an active diagram of each concept. More detailed informa tion about water conservation concepts from the expert mental model will be discussed in the next section. Non-FYN participant homeowners in this study represented lay people as related to water conservation. This is a heterogeneous group in terms of their unde rstandings of water conservation. Therefore, a wate r use behavior index was devel oped to facilitate categorizing


84 them. Meanwhile, this index also provided an al ternative measurement to triangulate interview results. Figure 4-2 presents the non-FYN participant homeowners water conservation mental model. In comparing figure 4-2 to figure 4-1; many additional variables were raised during the interview process by the non-FYN participant homeowners. Though some of these variables were only mentioned by few people, they revealed individual di fferences. Independent of the accuracy of their thoughts, these variables rela ted to water conservation in their view and introduced directions that an e ducational program could focus on. Th e discrepancies also lead to a mental model theoretical issue the nature of expertise. As early as 1986, Rouse and Morris stressed a potential problem of mental model theory. They raised the popular belief that an expert will have a more elaborate mental model for a specific concept. However, researchers have argued this phenome non from a methodological basis and provided explanations. Speelman (1997) summarized a number of explanations. Here are some possible explanations re levant to this study. The first one is the experts might not be familiar with the interview process. When they feel uneasy, it is possible their conversation would not cover all of their understandings on a speci fic topic. Also, they ca nnot verbalize as fast as they can reason. In addition, they might not me ntion those things that are common sense to them. Furthermore, the experts are FYN interp reters. Their discussion of water conservation might be limited to what they have decided to teach instead of covering a wider range of water conservation ideas. Rouse and Morris (1986) concluded one critical fe ature for being an expert is the ability to select the most useful elements toward solving the problem or making a decision. Therefore, those variables covered in the expert mental model would be the more concrete ideas associated with water conservation rather than the more elaborate ones.


85 Another theoretical issue that n eeds to be addressed is if th ere is a general mental model for water conservation. Some of the non-expert respondents did not seem to organize their thoughts around a general mental model of water c onservation. One instance is the idea of water reuse. Even with verbal cues, many interviewees s till failed to raise this variable. For those who have lower index scores (which indicated lo wer performance on mentioning water conservation concepts), some variables were missing in their model. However, in taking a closer look at the FYN participants water conservation mental mode l, many variables are represented in darker colors and larger ellipses (i.e ., more respondents mentioned that variable). Consequently, this indicates that they share a gene ral mental model of water conser vation. It showed that program training can modify peoples me ntal model of a specific conc ept. Jungermann et al. (1991) discussed that people share a gene ral mental model of a particular drug effect. They assumed that the general mental model was influenced by patient package inserts. These two studies indicated a similar research finding in unde rstanding this theoretical issue. In terms of homeowners and F YN participants expr essing an attitude of disliking other peoples wasteful behaviors, prev ious studies have viewed atti tudes toward taking conservation behavior from two components: affective and cognitive. Research has defined this kind of disliking feeling as the affec tive component of attitudes (e.g. Breckler, 1989; French et al., 2005). However, this variable does not appear in the experts model. There is a possible explanation for this. From a methodological pe rspective, research has shown that while conducting face-to-face, in-depth interviews, interviewees who are experts tend to discuss topics related to their profession instead of the emotional part (Anastas, 2004). Generally, a mental models approach can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational program for the following reasons (Fischhoff et al., 1998; Morgan et al., 2002):


86 For most concepts, people have some basic knowledge or believe th at they do. A mental models approach can be used to detect pe oples basic knowledge on a specific concept. By creating an expert model and a lay pers ons model, some possible discrepancies in associated concepts can be identified. The differences can be addressed during a communication process. Moreover, current knowledge that can be built upon can be revealed by the comparison. More in-depth information can be obtained with an open-ended, slightly guided response format compared to basic survey questions. Researchers have an opportunity to clarify re sponses during interviews with participants. The mental models approach can be employed as a preliminary study to develop issues for which questions can be written to be utilized in a later questionnaire. From the comparison of the three targeted gr oups water conservation metal models, some new directions for reinforcing peoples aw areness of water conservation concepts and communication gaps were reveale d. This leads to a discussion on the content of the water conservation mental models via an examinati on of the scope of water conservation ideas expressed by the various segments. Water Conservation Behavior Framework Overall, what is water conservation for expe rts ? They conceptual ize water conservation along three themes: water quantity, water quality, and water reuse. Water conservation ideas and factors such as population growt h, economic issues, the whole ecosy stem and future generations influence each other mutually. Because of experts concerns about the environment, their personal habits, job training, and their desire to save money; they are willing to take water conservation actions. Those are the variables that the experts think of while discussing water conservation. Some variables are either depreci ated or added among Florida homeowners. In the following section, a close look at those variab les within a water conservation behavior framework and the context of pr evious research is given.


87 First, is the idea of water reuse. As show n in table 4-1, only 30% of non-FYN participant homeowners discussed water reus e during their interviews. Since water reuse is an important resource aspect of water conservation for the expe rts, it should be communicated to the public in conjunction with other dimensions. In this study, residential irrigation gardening was considered as a water reuse action. Hartley ( 2006) studied how people perceive d water reuse as well as their commitment to participate in water reuse actions. He presented five themes: managing information for all stakeholders; maintain ing individual motivation and demonstrating organizational commitment; promoting communica tion and public dialog; ensuring a fair and sound decision-making process and outcome; and building and maintainin g trust. These five themes cover governmental, industrial and personal water reuse strategies. He also listed some factors that might contribute to the degree of public acceptance of water reuse. Four of the factors are relevant to this study and are r ecommended for implementation to promote water reuse in Florida. First, the protection of the environment is a cl ear benefit of reuse. According to this study, 60% of non-FYN participant homeowners think th at environmental concern is an important contributing factor for water conservation. Studies have show n that water reuse can have environmental benefits. Anderson (2003) discussed the potential envi ronmental benefits of water reuse. Protecting the natural resource and reduc ing the impacts on water quality were mentioned. Jeffrey (2002) indicated that peop le were more ready to reuse wa ter from different sources for toilet flushing when they have undertaken some water conservation measures (such as using lowflow fittings) at home. The level of environmental concern has been shown to relate to their water reuse behaviors. From this point of view, clear benefits of water reuse being emphasized in water conservation messages is a good strategy to promote water reuse.


88 Secondly, promotion of water cons ervation is a clear benefit of reuse. As shown in figure 4-1, water reuse and conservation influence each ot her. In the interview process, most non-FYN participant homeowners considered water cons ervation as an important issue. Accordingly, providing water reuse benefits re lated to water conservation can reinforce the publics positive attitudes towards the impor tance of water reuse. A third factor is the cost of technology. Money is a concern for most people. People expect to pay less for water bills if they implement water reuse skills. On the other hand, people generally do not expect to invest much for water reuse technology. It is a po int to pay attention to in promoting water reuse strategies. While meeting with the experts, the researcher participated in a rain barrel workshop. The extension office partnered with a barrel recycling company. Reasonable prices for barrels and the teaching skills needed to make a qual ity rain barrel made the workshop successful. It also advocated th e water reuse idea to the participants. The last point, which is a critical one, is th e awareness of water supply problems. Peoples awareness towards water reuse will likely increase when water shor tage issues become critical. In1998, the Melbourne (Australia) water focus group de scribed that water reuse is a last solution for the water needs problem when alternative strate gies were presented (as cited in Po, Kaercher, & Nancarrow, 2003). A proactive approach w ould be to increase peoples knowledge and awareness of water reuse during daily life before water shortages become acute. Though studies have shown that Floridas popula tion growth declined to a lower growth rate because of the 2008 economic recession, Flor ida still had about 18 million people in 2007 (Economic and Demographic Research, 2008). It was the seventh fastest growing state in the U.S. from April 2000 to July 2007 (EDR, 2008). P opulation growth is another variable that should be addressed. From the experts unders tanding, water can become a limited natural


89 resource because of an expanding population. Fo r Florida, the demand for water includes both Florida residents and tourists (w hich for some months of the year can add about one million people to the population). Without tourists, Fl oridas economic status would be impacted substantially. Moreover, water cons ervation also influences populat ion growth in many aspects. Not many non-FYN participant homeowners menti oned population growth as an important driving force behind promoting water conserva tion ideas. For the FYN participant group, only 10% of them raised the populati on growth issue. This implie s a concept that is not well understood and calls for information distribut ion, communication and education. Emphasizing the balance between water supply and population demand might be a good point to add to the FYN educational program. The role which government is playing in water conservation wa s discussed by non-FYN participant homeowners. In particular, the governments water policy was addressed. Water policy in this case can be treated in two dir ections: financial policy and conservation policy. Rogers, de Silva, and Bhatia (2002) argued for water as an economic good and discussed issues related to using water prices to promote sust ainability. They listed three well-known and three lesser known effects of price polic y. A price policy can reduce demand; reallocate the resource efficiently; and increase the resource supply. Fu rthermore, a price policy can improve equity; improve managerial efficiency; and improve re source sustainability. Combined with people's concerns about their water bills, water pricing policies can play a role in promoting water conservation. However, given the fact that many Florida homeowners water use is not metered, water price policy cannot be the only wa y to address water sustainability issues. As far as the role of water conservation polic y, mandatory restrictions on certain types of water use such as the time spent irrigating resi dential lawns was particularly mentioned during


90 non-FYN participant homeowner interviews. In Fl orida, due to previous, current and seasonal droughts, many counties have limited residential irrigation to two times per week. In the St. Johns River Water Management Dist rict, for example, residential irrigation is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., no matter the irrigation water source (i.e., wells, or public water supply). Lee and Warren (1981) st udied the relationship between water consumption and water conservation policies. They concluded that mandato ry policies with per capita restrictions were more effective than voluntary conservation campaigns. Corral-Verdugo and Fras-Armenta (2006) reported that individuals beliefs of environmental regulation inefficacy cannot be a predicator for their water conservation behaviors. In addition, more wate r wasteful behaviors can be obs erved in antisocial individuals than prosocial people. They suggested usi ng water conservation programs which place an emphasis on environmental values and norms. In the current study, some interviewees (non-FYN participant homeowners) expre ssed the idea that promoting i ndividuals water conservation actions violates their rights of managing their own yards. They discussed that keeping their landscape green and beautiful, the way they want, is one of the benefits of living in Florida. This provides some indications of social desirability issues and how a pro-environmental educational program must cope with a social norm of main taining green and neat yards by planting water consuming grasses. One variable that did not appear in figure 4-4 (compared to the expert model) is a concern for future generations. While discussing water conservation issues with those who had lower scores for their water conservation behaviors, they did not mention water conservation as it relates to future generations. This raised an issue of peoples ideas of sustainability. The definition of sustainability includes a time perspe ctive component. Sustainable behaviors require


91 an inclination toward the future. It is possible that these respondent s have a different time orientation. Corral-Verdugo et al. (2006) proposed a re lationship between water conservation behaviors and time perspectives. They conclude d that people with a present orientation, negatively affect water conserva tion behaviors. Conversely, peopl e with future orientations, tended to report pro-environmental behaviors. This raises the que stion of how a prosustainability educational program can communicat e the idea of time orie ntation successfully. Informal Learning Wherever people have the need, m otivati on, and opportunity for learning, informal education can take place. For the reasons that the mental model approach attempts to emphasize both on the scientific importance and individual real ities of a specific concept; customized messages can bring concepts to peoples attention fairly easily. Moreover, individual differences can play a role in peoples approach to learning. This is especi ally important for adult learning. Marsick and Watkins (2001) proposed an informal and incidental learni ng model for adults. They believe that each daily experience can trigger ch allenges or problems that need to be solved or affect a vision of a future state. For adults, the way they interpret thei r experiences and diverse learning strategies make individu al differences become more cri tical. The mental models were established on the basis of each individuals li fe experiences. In order to assess adults perceptions of water conservation, establis hing their mental models can inform the communication process. During the interview process, many non-expert participants mentioned their memories of Florida springs and rivers in their childhood. For those interv iewees who grew up outside Florida, they also recal led their childhood water experiences in their hom etowns. This indicates the importance of triggering local community identity or sense of place. Sobel (1996) emphasized that when trying to teach kids enviro nmental awareness, it is critical to explain


92 everything from a local viewpoint. For adult le arners, it might be easier for them to view environmental issues from a global point of view However, childhood memories still play a role in connecting mother nature with environmental issues. Therefore, this provides a reminder to assess the relationship between peoples sense of place and water conservation behaviors. In informal environmental education settings, how can interpreters or educators use sense of place to connect with target conservation behaviors (e.g. water conservation behaviors, water reuse behaviors)? Unfortunately, there is no literature addressing this aspect. There is a need to investigate this geographic c onnection issue more thoroughly. Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program Implications This summ ative evaluation made several points and offers hints for future improvements of the FYN program. The FYN participants gro up in this study demonstrated better knowledge of several water conservation actions than th e non-FYN participant homeowners group. From an FYN program training perspective, it showed that it is a successful educational program. The Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program is desi gned to teach people ab out protecting water systems and conservation in their own yards. Th ere are nine principles emphasized in this program: Right plant, right place Water efficiently Fertilize appropriately Mulch Attract wildlife Manage yard pests responsibly Recycle Reduce stormwater runoff Protect the waterfront Given the range of these principles, we can better understand how and why those participants were able to comm unicate water conservation actions fairly well. On the basis of the


93 comparison between non-FYN participant hom eowners and FYN participants water conservation mental models, FYN participants showed better mental model awareness of concepts in many aspects of water conservati on actions including irrigation systems, droughttolerant plants, planting zones, and rain barrels than homeowners who did not attend the program. FYN participants perceived the importance of ecosystems, plants, and landscapes as having a water conservation role significantly more than homeowners. Moreover, many FYN participants were eager to show their Florid a-friendly yards to the interviewer during the interviews. They designed and maintained thei r yards based on what they learned. Their own yards also potentially become excellent demonstration areas in local communities. Also, FYN participants water conservation index scores were aggregated at the higher end. Moreover, FYN participants water conservation mental model presented in a similar way to the experts' mental model. The communication be tween experts and participants was shown to be accomplished, for the most part. Based on these findings, the following suggestions can be made for the FYN program: Many FYN participant respondents seem to have difficulty in connecting the idea of mulch to water conservation. In addition, the actions of preventing water quality deterioration were not usually mentioned by those represented in the low water conser vation behavior scores mental model (Figure 4-4). These are two cont ent areas that FYN should address. Different teaching styles or terms to explain the value of mulching might be a better way to inform participants of the benefits of mulching. Mulching can protec t both water quantity and quality. However, people apparently lack knowledge of its contribution to water qua lity conservation. Since previous personal experience plays a ro le for homeowners, another recommendation would be to share life experiences with hom eowners. Sinkhole and drought experiences are good


94 examples. Experience sharing can be done in se veral ways. Storytelli ng, photographs, and video programs can impress people easily. In the interv iew process with FYN participants, many of them mentioned a video showing Florida's aquife r status with a scuba diver visiting Floridas underground caves as an impressive lesson. Aquifers can be influenced by our daily life, is what they recalled learning. Therefore, inform ation related to understanding Floridas water status and information about dr ought or other related experiences can help heighten peoples awareness of water issues. From the FYN nine principles (p.92), it is clear that th e FYN program provides outdoor water conservation skills to their participants. Be sides the water conservation skills, it is also critical to reduce the ho meowners worries about the water s ituation. In looking at figure 4-2, it is noted that the homeowners have some concer ns about water issues. Since the awareness of water as an issue seems to be present, strategi es to motivate people to participate in the FYN program will be key to providing them with knowledge to abate their concerns. Proenvironmental values can be emphasized while a dvertising this program. As in the previous discussions, the issue of water reuse, the possi ble consequences relate d to water conservation, water quality, and the responsibility of government are all intertwined. Providing information to instill these concepts needs to be an integral part of the program's message. Awareness is the biggest challenge for th is program. For most non-FYN participant homeowner interviewees, they had never heard of the FYN program. For the FYN participants in Citrus county, most of them learned about the program from the local newspaper. When asked where the homeowners obtained information about water conservation, most of them mentioned the local water utility company. It might be more successful for the FYN program to partner with local water utility companies. B ooklets, brochures or stickers with FYN information could be


95 distributed to local homeowners along with their utility bills. Multiple communication approaches are encouraged to distribute c onservation information to the public. Radio, newspapers, and internet advertisements can be mediums to more widely broadcast program information and awareness of the course. Furthermore, building cooperation with local homeowner associations is critical. There are at least two benefits th at should be realized. Local homeowner associations often play a role in suggesting individual homeowners landscape planting selections and designs. Cooperating with them can promote program principles in adva nce of homeowners lands caping decisions. That can save homeowners money in terms of re -designing their landscap es and promote water conservation ideas at the same time. Furthermor e, reinforcing local community benefits from implementing program strategies can strengthen peoples local environmental awareness, and perhaps, establishing a sense of place instilled with an idea of quality water use in a sustainable manner. While visiting each FYN office and demonstrat ion gardens, another problem observed was the lack of visitation. Demonstration gardens are located near extension offices. However, a lack of visitation underutilizes this valuable information. In line with the challenge of information distribution, increasing the awaren ess of FYN programs might be addressed by cooperating with local parks and recreation departments to promote demonstration gardens as well as planning and developing special events. Moreover, based on communication effectiveness studies from the marketing field, lining up celebri ties to promote environmental conservation programs might be a good solution to attract the publ ic (Cialdini & Rhoads, 2001). However, funding such events and gardens could be an issue, especially in the current economic downturn environment.


96 Future Research Understanding peoples perception of water cons ervation is the first step to understanding the publics awareness about this issue. Som e in sights about Florida homeowners perceptions of water conservation themes were presented in this study. More que stions were raised and more research needs were identified in the process. First, along with the mental models approach, a questionnaire designed around the basis of mental model diagrams is needed. A questionnaire can be easier to administer to a larger group of homeowners a nd a more generalizable result could be obtained based on the questionnaire being a pplied to a larger sample. It can also provide more information in terms of evaluating FYN programs. Secondly, a lack of research regarding peopl es perceived difficul ties in adopting water conservation behaviors is r ecognized. From the Florida Ya rds and Neighborhoods program perspective, there are diverse strategies such as workshops, lectures, demonstration gardens, videos and family-oriented tours adapted to demonstrate a Florida friendly (and water conserving) landscape concept. Wh ile this study focused on Florida, other effective educational strategies might exist in different states or different countries. Which educational approach is the most efficient method? How can these useful messages more effectively reach the public and prompt them to take conservation actions? Furthermore, no literature was located that documented the relationship between sense of place and water conservation behaviors. How do people perceive water conservation behaviors when they have a strong attachment to a place? Lastly, the study identified pe rception gaps between expert s and Florida homeowners. Targeting those potential gaps in future message distribution is critical for improving informal educational program designs to enhance the pub lic's understanding of sustainability issues.


97 APPENDIX A EXPERT INTERVIEW TEMPLATE This research is interested in how you think about water conservation. I am interested in everything you think about it and want you to say everything you think about water conservation. 1. Can you tell m e all about the issue of water conservation? Can you tell me more about ___________? Can you explain how (why) ____________? Can you explain to me what you mean by ____________? Does ____________ bring anythi ng else to mind? 2. Can you give me any idea how important water conservation is? 3. Can you tell me about the ki nds of things that determine your water use behavior? 4. What might be bad about water conservation? 5. What might be good about water conservation? 6. What can be done about water conservation? 7. Have you ever done anything about water conservation? 8. What kind of information would you tell the public about your program (FYN)? 9. Have you heard about any other programs or agencies that dealing with water conservation? 10. If you were going to explain water conservati on to someone else, is there anything you would say differently or a dd to what you have said? Could you tell me a little about yourself ( how long have you been working for UF extension? Who are your target audience?)?


98 APPENDIX B INSTRUMENT FOR NON-FYN PARTICIPANT AND F YN PARTICIPANT HOMEOWNERS The following statements refer to some water-con servation behaviors. Please answer according to your water use behavior. (Please only one response for each statement.) Statements Never Rarely Sometimes Very Often Always Shorten my showers Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher Water plants only as needed Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints Plant drought-tolerant plants Have a shut-off device on irrigation system Wash car efficiently, park it on the grass and use a hose Hand watering ornamental plants Shut off tap water when not using it Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors Demographic Profile 1. What is your gender? Male Female 2. In which year were you born? _________________ 3. How many people are livi ng in your household? ___________ 4. Is your water use metered? No One meter for indoor and outdoor use One meter for indoor use and a second meter for outdoor use 5. What is your permanent residence Zip Code? _____________ 6. How long have you lived at this location? _______ years ________ months 7. What is the highest educational le vel you have attained? (Check one) Less than high school Completed 4 year college degree High school diploma Some graduate work Attended business/technical school Completed graduate or advanced degree Some college or 2 year degree


99 APPENDIX C INTERVIEW TEMPLATE FOR NON-FYN PARTICIPANT AND F YN PARTICIPANT HOMEOWNERS Work sheet for guiding mental models interview about water conservation What Id like to ask you to do is just talk to me about water conserva tion: that is, tell me whatever you know about water conservation. Basic Prompts: 1. Anything else? 2. Can you tell me more? 3. Anything else? Dont worry about whether its right, just te ll me what comes to mind. 4. Can you explain how (why) ___________? Draw a Blank (in order): 1. Have you heard (the word) __________? Can you remember anything at all about it? 2. Let me see if I can jog your memory a bit. (Describe a little about the term). Does that help? 3. Let me try a little bit more. (D escribe more detail). Have you ever heard of such a thing? When I say water conservation, what comes to your mind? Water System __|__ Water Source __ Can you explain to me about the Florida water system? The Importance of Water Conservation __ Is water conservation really important to you or that is not all that important? __ Can you tell me why? __|__ Population (only if brought up) __ You told me that _________ (e.g. population growth will influence water use), can you tell me more about that? __|__ Economics (only if brought up) __ You told me that _________ (e.g. economics will be influenced by water use), can you tell me more about that? __|__ Consequence (only if brought up) __ Can you give me any idea about the possi ble consequences if we do not conserve water now? __ You told me that __________ (e.g. we will run out drinking water, storm water runoff), can you tell me more about that? __|__ Natural Resource Sustaina bility (only if brought up) __ You told me that __________ (e.g. sustainability), can you tell me more about that?

PAGE 100

100 Water Conservation Behavior __|__ Influential Factors __ Can you tell me about the things th at determine your water use behavior? __ You told me that ___________, can you tell me more about that? __|__ Indoor Behavior __ Can you tell me about the things that can be done at home about water conservation? __ You told me that ___________ (e.g. run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher), can you tell me more about that? __|__ Outdoor Behavior __ Can you tell me about the things that can be done outside your house about water conservation? __ You told me that ___________ (e.g. irrigation system, rain barrel, car wash), can you tell me more about that? Water Conservation Promotion Programs __|__ Information Delivery System __ Where have you heard or read ab out water conservation messages? __|__ Water Conservation Programs __ Have you heard about any government or private programs to deal with water conservation? __ Is there anyway someone can learn about water conservation? __|__ Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program (Only if brought up) __ Can you tell me about FYN program? __ You told me that ___________ (e.g. landscape planning), can you tell me more about that? At end __ Is there anything else a bout water conservation that I havent asked you that you would like to say?

PAGE 101

101 LIST OF REFERENCES Abel, N., Ross, H., & Walker, P. (1998). Ment al models in rangeland research, communication and m anagement. Rangeland Journal 20(1), 77 91. Anastas, J. W. (2004). Quality in qualitativ e evaluation: Issues and possible answers. Research on Social Work Practice 14(1), 57 65. Anderson, J. (2003). The environmental benefits of water recycling and reuse. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, 3(4), 1 10. Barrie, E. R. (2001). Meaningful interpretive exp eriences from the participants perspective Unpublished doctoral dissertation, In diana University, Bloomington. Beckman, E. A. (1999). Evaluating visitors reactions to interpretation in Australian national parks. Journal of Interpretation Research 4(1), 5 19. Billings, R. B., & Day, W. M. (1989). Demand manage ment factors in residential water use: The Southern Arizona experience. Journal American Water Works Association 81(3), 58 64. Bonaiuto, M., Bilotta, E., Bonnes, M., Ceccarelli, M., Martorella, H., & Carrus, G. (2008). Local identity and the role of indivi dual differences in the use of na tural resources: The case of water consumption. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 38(4), 947 967. Bostrom, A., Morgan, M. G., Fischhoff, B., & Read, D. (1994). What do people know about global climate change? 1. Mental models. Risk Analysis 14(6), 959 970. Breakwell, G. M. (2001). Mental models and social representations of hazards: the significance of identity processes. Journal of Risk Research 4(4), 341 351. Bryman, A. (2004). Social Research Methods (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. Bruvold, W. H. (1988). Public opinion on water reuse options. Journal of Water Pollution Control Federation 60(1), 45 50. Byram, S., Fischhoff, B., Embrey, M., de Bruin, W. B., & Thorne, S. (20 01). Mental models of women with breast implants: Local complications. Behavioral Medicine 27, 4 14. Campbell, H. E., Johnson, R. M., & Larson, E. H. (2004). Prices, devices, pe ople, or rules: The relative effectiveness of policy instruments in water conservation. Review of Policy Research 21(5), 637 662. Cialdini, R. B., & Rhoads, K. V. L. ( 2001). Human behavior a nd the marketplace. Marketing Research 13(3), 8 13. Clayton, M. J. (1997). Delphi: a technique to ha rness expert opinion for critical decision-making tasks in education. Educational Psychology, 17(4), 373 386.

PAGE 102

102 Corral-Verdugo, V., Bechtel, R. B., & Fraijo-Sing, B. (2003). E nvironmental beliefs and water conservation: An empirical study. Journal of Environmental Psychology 23, 247 257. Corral-Verdugo, V., Fraijo-Sing, B., & Pinheiro, J. Q. (2006). Su stainable behavior and time perspective: Present, past, and future orie ntations and their relationship with water conservation behavior. Interamerican Journal of Psychology 40(2), 139 147. Corral-Verdugo, V., & Fras-Armenta, M. (2006) Personal normative beliefs, antisocial behavior, and resident ial water conservation. Environment and Behavior 38(3), 406 421. Corral-Verdugo, V., Fras-Armenta, M., PrezUrias, F., Ordua-Cabrera, V., & EspinozaGallego, N. (2002). Residential water consum ption, motivation for conserving water and the continuing tragedy of the commons. Environmental Management 30(4), 527 535. Craik, K. (1943). The nature of explanation Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Dawes, R. M., & Messick, D. M. (2000). Social dilemmas. International Journal of Psychology 35, 111 116. DeVellis, R. F. (2003). Guidelines in scale development. In Scale development: theory and applications (2nd ed.) (pp. 60 99). Applied Soci al Research Methods Series, 26. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publications. Economic and Demographic Research. (2008). Fl orida Demographic Summary. Retrieved March 22, 2009, from /population/popsummary.pdf Falk, J. H. (2005). Free-choice environm ental learning: Fram ing the discussion. Environmental Education Research 11(3), 265 280. Fazey, J. A., & Marton, F. (2002). Understand ing the space of experiential variation. Active Learning in Higher Education 3(3), 234 250. Field, A. (2005). Discovering Statistics Using SPSS. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Fien, J., Scott, W., & Tilbury, D. (2001). E ducation and conservation: Lessons from an evaluation. Environmental Education Research 7(4), 379 395. Fischhoff, B., Riley, D., Kovacs, D. C., & Sma ll, M. (1998). What information belongs in a warning? Psychology & Marketing 15(7), 663 686.

PAGE 103

103 Gaskell, G. (2000) Individual and group inte rviewing. In M. Bauer & G. Gaskell (Eds.), Qualitative researching with text, image and sound (pp. 38 56). London: Sage. Geller, E. S., Erickson, J. B., & Buttram, B. A. (1983). Attempts to promote residential water conservation with educational, beha vioral and engineering strategies. Population and Environment 6(2), 96 112. Gentner, D., & Stevens, A. L. (1983). Mental models (pp. 1 6). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Gouveia, V. (2002). Self, culture and sustainable development. In P. Schmuck & P.W. Schultz (Eds.), Psychology of Sustainable Development (pp. 151 174). Norwell, MA: Kluwer. Haley, M. B., Dukes, M. D., & Miller, G. L. ( 2007). Residential irrigati on water use in central Florida. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 427 434. Ham, S. H. (1992). Environmental interpretation: A practic al guide for people with big ideas and small budgets Golden, CO: North American Press. Ham, S. H., & Krump, E. E. (1996). Iden tifying audiences and messages for nonformal environmental education A theore tical framework for interpreters. Journal of Interpretation Research 1(1), 11 23. Hammitt, W. E. (1984). Cognitive process i nvolved in environmental interpretation. Journal of Environmental Education 15(44), 11 15. Heimlich, J. E. (2007). Research trends in the United States: EE to ESD. Journal of Education for Sustainable Development 1(2), 219 227. Henderson, B. J., & Maguire, B. T. (2000). Three lay mental models of disease inheritance. Social Science & Medicine 50, 293 301. Howard, J. (1999). Research in progress: Does environmental interpretation influence behaviour through knowledge or affect? Australian Journal of Environmental Education 15/16, 153 156. Howard, R. A., & Matheson, J. (1981). Influence Diagrams, in The Principles and Applications of Decision Analysis Vol. II. Strategic Deci sions Group, Menlo Park, CA. Jacobson, S. K., & Marynowski, S. B. ( 1998). New model for ecosystem management interpretation: Target audiences on military lands. Journal of Interpretation Research 3(1), 1 20. Jacobson, S. K., McDuff, M. D., & Monroe, M. C. (2006). Conservation education and outreach techniques New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

PAGE 104

104 Jeffrey, P. (2002). Public attitudes to in-house water recycling in England and Wales. Journal of the Charted Institution of Wa ter and Environmental Management 16(3), 214 217. Jih, H. J., & Reeves, T. C. (1992). Mental mode ls: A research focus for interactive learning systems. Educational Technology Research & Development 40(3), 39 53. Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1983). Mental models: Towards a c ognitive science of language, inference, and consciousness. Cambridge, Harvard University Press. Joint Statement of Commitment for the D evelopment and Implementation of a Statewide Comprehensive Water Conservation Program for Public Water Supply by the Florida Department of Environmental Protecti on. (2002) Retrieved August 4, 2008, from /waterpolicy/docs/jsoc_fact.pdf Jungermann, H., Schtz, H., & Thring, M. (1991). How people might process medical information: A mental model perspective on the use of package inserts. In R. E. Kasperson, & P. J. M. Stallen (Eds.), Communicating risks to the public: International perspectives (pp. 219 236). Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Knapp, D. (1998). Environmental education and e nvironmental interpretation: The relationships. In H. D. Hungerford, W. J. Bluhm, T. L. Volk & J. M. Ramsey (Eds.), Essential readings in environmental education (pp. 349 356). Champaign, IL: Stipes Published L. L.C. Koran, J. J. Jr., Longino, S. J., & Shafer, L. D. (1983). A framework for conceptualizing research in natural history museum and science centers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 20(4), 325 339. Kovacs, D. C., Fischhoff, B., & Small, M. J. (2001). Perceptions of PCE use by dry cleaners and dry cleaning customers. Journal of Risk Research 4(4), 353 375. Kuzel, A. (1992). Sampling in qualitative i nquiry. In B.Crabtree & W. Miller (Eds.). Doing qualitative research (pp. 33-50). Newbury Park, CA:Sage. Lantz, P. S., & Hale, W. A. (1998). The Florida water story: fr om raindrops to the sea. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press. Lee, T. R. (1998) Evaluating the effectiveness of heritage interpretation. In D. Uzzell and R. Ballantyne (Eds.), Contemporary issues in heritage & environmental interpretation (pp. 203 231). London: The Stationery Office. Lee, M. Y., & Warren, R. D. (1981). Use of a predictive model in evaluating water consumption conservation. Water Resources Bulletin 17, 948 955. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

PAGE 105

105 Lynne, G. D., Casey, C. F., Hodges, A., & Rahmani, M. (1995). Conservation technology adoption decisions and the th eory of planned behavior. Journal of Economic Psychology 16(4), 581 598. Madin, E. M. P., & Fenton, D. M. (2004). Environm ental interpretation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: An assessment of programme effectiveness. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 12(2), 121 137. Maharik, M., & Fischhoff, B. (1993). Contrasting pe rceptions of using nucl ear energy sources in splace, Journal of Environmental Psychology 13, 243 250. Miller, W. L., & Crabtree, B. F. (1999). The dance of interpretation. In B. F. Crabtree, B. F. & W. L. Miller (Eds.), Doing Qualitative Research (2nd ed., pp. 127 143). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Moore, C. M. (1987). Group Techniques for Idea Building. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Morgan, M. G., Fischhoff, B., Bostrom, A., & Atman, C. J. (2002). Risk Communication: A Mental Models Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Moscardo, G. (1999). Making visitors mindful: Principles for creating sustainable visitor experiences through effective communication. Champaign, IL: Sagamore. Moscardo, G., Woods, B., & Saltzer, R. (2004). The role of interpretation in wildlife tourism. In Higginbottom, K. (Ed.), Wildlife tourism: Impac ts, management and planning (pp. 231 251). Australia, Common Ground Publishing. Morse, J. M., Barrett, M., Mayan, M., Olson, K., & Spiers, J. (2002). Veri fication strategies for establishing reliability and validity in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 1(2), 1 19. Munro, J. K., Morrison-Saunders, A., & Hughes, M. (2008). Environm ental interpretation evaluation in natural areas. Journal of Ecotourism 7(1), 1 14. Nieswiadomy, M. L. (1991). Estimating urban residential water demand: Effects of price structure, conservation, and education. Water Resources Research 28(3), 609 615. Niewhner, J., Cox, P., Gerrard, S., & Pidgeon, N. (2004). Evaluating the efficacy of a mental models approach for improving occu pational chemical risk protection. Risk Analysis 24(2), 349 361. Norman, D. A. (1983). Some observations on mental models. In Gentner, D., & Stevens, A. L. (Eds.), Mental models (pp. 7 14). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

PAGE 106

106 Orams, M. B. (1996). Using interpretati on to manage nature-based tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism 4(2), 81 94. Packer, J., & Ballantyne, R. (2004). Is educational leisure a contradiction in terms? Exploring the synergy of education and entertainment. Annals of Leisure Research 7(1), 54 71. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Petty, R. E., Wegner, D. T., & Fabrigar, L. R. (1997). Attitudes and attitude change. Annual Review of Psychology 48, 609 647. Po, M., Kaercher, J. D., & Nancarrow, B. E. (2003). Literature review of factors influencing public perceptions of water reuse. CSIRO Land and Water. Read, D., Bostrom, A., Morgan, M. G., Fischho ff, B., & Smuts, T. (1994). What do people know about global climate change? 2. Survey studies of educated laypeople. Risk Analysis 14(6), 971 982. Rogers, P., de Silva, R., & Bhatia, R. (2002). Wa ter is an economic good: How to use prices to promote equity, efficiency, and sustainability. Water Policy 4, 1 17. Roggenbuck, J. W., Loomis, R. J., & Dagostino, J. (1990). The learning benefits of leisure. Journal of Leisure Research 22, 112 124. Rossi, P. H., Lipsey, M. W., & Freeman, H. E. (2004). Evaluation: A systematic approach (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc. Rouse, W. B., & Morris, N. M. (1986). On looking into the black box: Prospects and limits in the search for mental models. Psychological Bulletin 100(3), 349 363. Ryan, C., & Dewar, K. (1995). Evaluating the communication process between interpreter and visitor. Tourism Management 16(4), 295 303. Santos, J. R. A. (1999). Cronbach's alpha: A to ol for assessing the reliability of scales. Journal of Extension 37(2). Retrieved from e/1999April/tt3.htm l at April 23, 2006. Silverman, L. H., & Barrie, E. R. (2000). Dete rmining social science research needs in interpretation: A case study. Journal of Interpretation Research 5(1), 35 44. Sobel, D. (1996). Beyond ecophobia: Reclaiming the heart in nature education. Great Barrington, MA: The Orion Soci ety and the Myrin Institute. Sommer, R. & Sommer, B. (2002). Attitude and rating scales. In A practical guide to behavioral research: tools and techniques (pp. 159 169) New York: Oxford University Press.

PAGE 107

107 Stewart, E., & Kirby, V. (1998). Interpreti ve Evaluation: Towards a place approach. International Journal of Heritage Studies 4(1), 30 44. St. Johns River Water Management Distri ct (2008). Retrieved August 4, 2008 from tar/homebuilders/certification.html Suwannee River Water Management District (2008). Retrieved February 20, 2009 from Taft, J. H. (1995). Misconceptions that may hinde r effective interpretation. Proceedings from National Interpreters Workshop 95: The 1995 Interpretive Sourcebook Orlando, FL. Tal, I., Hill, D., Figuered o, A.J., Fras-Armenta, M., & Corral-Verdugo, V. (2006). An evolutionary approach to explai ning water conservation behavior. Medio Ambiente y Comportamiento Humano, 7(1), 7 27. Thompson, S., & Stoutemyer, K. (1991). Water us e as a commons dilemma: The effects of education that focuses on long-term consequences and individual action. Environment and Behavior, 23, 314 333. Tilden, F. (1957). Interpreting our heritage. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. UNESCO-WWAP. (2003). Water for People Water for Life. The United Nations World Water Development Report Barcelona, Spain: Berghahn Books. Uzzell, D., & Ballantyne, R. (1998). Contemporary Issues in Heritage & Environmental Interpretation London: The Stationery Office. Van Vugt, M. (2001). Community id entification moderating the impact of financial incentives in a natural social dilemma: Water conservation. Society for Personality and Social Psychology, 27(11), 1440 1449. Van Vugt, M., & Samuelson, C. D. (1999). The im pact of personal metering in the management of a natural resource crisis: A social dilemma analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25, 735 750. Wagner, K. (2007). Mental models of flash floods and landslides. Risk Analysis 27(3), 671 682. Willis, G. B. (2005). Cognitive interviewing: A tool fo r improving questionnaire design Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Zaksek, M., & Arvai, J. L. (2004). Toward impr oved communication about wildland fire: Mental models research to identify informati on needs for natural resource management. Risk Analysis 24(6), 1503 1514.

PAGE 108

108 Zimbardo, P. G., & Boyd, J. N. (1999). Putting time in perspective: A valid, reliable individualdifferences metric. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77, 1271 1288. Zube, E. H., Sell, J. L., & Taylor, J. G. (1982) Landscape perception: Re search, application and theory. Landscape and Planning, 9(1), 1 33.

PAGE 109

109 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Ting-Bing Wu was born in Taipei Taiwan. In 1996, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from National Taiwan University, Taiwan. In 2000, she received her Master of Science degree in neuroscience fr om National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan. She was then employed in Academia Sinica until 2003. During her graduate education and her employment in Academia Sinica, she has gained experience in performing experimental design research, laboratory analys es, and report preparation. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in health and human performance with a specialization in natural resource recreation and a c oncentration in wildlife ecology and conservation in May 2009 from the University of Florida. Her research interests include environmental education, people s conservation behaviors and edu cational program evaluation as well as sustainable tourism.