Graduate student awarded a NSF Dissertation grant to study conservation decision-making

March 2, 2020
Maggie Beetstra, a doctoral student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation grant.

Congratulations to Maggie Beetstra, a doctoral student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), who was awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation grant, “Evaluating the Effects of Financial and Temporal Scarcity on Farmer Decisions to Engage in Conservation” through the  Decision, Risk and Management Sciences program.

With this funding, Beetstra seeks to better understand the likelihood of farmers engaging in conservation practices on private lands through the theoretical framework of scarcity by asking the question: Is engagement hindered by annual seasonal cycles that limit a farmer’s ability to follow through on commitments to conservation? Maggie Beetstra

The research addresses a gap in the conservation use intentions and actual conservation behavior over time research and contributes to the need for a broader perspective of conservation decision-making that considers the context (scarcity and seasonality) in which farmer decisions are made and may prevent a well-intentioned individual from following through on those intentions.

Beetstra studied Environmental Earth Science at Washington University in St. Louis before completing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on understanding farmer decision-making to increase use of on-farm conservation practices to reduce negative environmental effects like nutrient runoff that contribute to algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Beetstra is advised by Robyn Wilson, a professor of risk analysis and decision sciences, and Eric Toman, an associate professor, who are also with the SENR.