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collaborative interdisciplinary research investigates the relationships between ecosystems and well-being, focusing on the intersection of environmental values, learning, and human behavior. Issues of equity and inclusion are central to all of her work. All of her projects include a substantial focus on understanding heterogeneity in multiple domains – e.g., in perspectives on “the environment;” in the benefits people receive from ecosystems; and in how environmental learning happens. Those projects also explore how to inform equitable decision-making in the face of that heterogeneity.
Rachelle has two research areas: Cultural Ecosystem Services (and nonmaterial values of ecosystems, more generally), and Environmental Education. Using the lens of Cultural Ecosystem Services, she examines how nature improves well-being in nonmaterial ways. Using the lens of environmental education, she explores how people learn about the environment, and how that learning does (and does not) connect to behavior.
Rachelle and her research group currently have projects underway in Vermont, on Hawaii’s Big Island, and (to a lesser extent) in New York City. Partnering with communities and organizations is an important part of this work; learn more about the group’s partners.