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College student knowledge and perceptions of invasive species

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Waliczek, Tina M. (main author), Williamson, Paula S. (author), Oxley, Florence M. (author), Texas State University Austin Community College
Journal article
Publication Date:
United States: American Society for Horticultural Science
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
colleges, educational methods, information dissemination, knowledge, knowledge level, perceptions, pest management, public attitudes, students, survey methods, surveys, Texas, USA, invasive species, demographics, impacts
7 pages., Via online journal., The purpose of this study was to determine college students’ understanding of invasive species and their support for plant and animal pest control and eradication methods. Surveys were administered at a university and community college in Texas in biology and agriculture departments. A total of 533 respondents participated in the study. Most students said they were not part of any type of environmental organization and felt they were not very informed about invasive species issues. More students reported learning about invasive species in high school than in college courses. The average score on knowledge questions related to invasive and native plants and animals was 32%. Most students underestimated the negative impact of invasive species but many were aware of costs to manage those species. Reliable reported sources of information included environmental organizations, college courses, and the Internet. Pearson product-moment correlations showed positive relationships between students who had college class instruction regarding invasive species and positive attitudes toward management of invasive species. Positive relationships were also found between instruction and an awareness of invasive plants or animals. Respondents who were knowledgeable of invasive species in the community had more positive attitudes toward the management of invasive species. In demographic comparisons, differences were found with males, upperclassmen, and those identifying as Caucasian or other having more knowledge of invasive species and more positive attitudes toward their management.