Carena J. van Riper

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I am an applied social scientist with training in the human dimensions of natural resources management.  My scholarship integrates multiple disciplines to examine how people interact with nature. I am particularly interested in the factors that shape environmental attitudes and human behavior, values that outdoor recreationists ascribe to ecosystem services, and the spatial dynamics of social-ecological systems.  My research provides theoretical and practical implications that sustain and fulfill human life while benefiting biodiversity conservation in protected areas.  


I will be joining the faculty of the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in fall, 2014.  I received a Ph.D. from the Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University and certificate in the Applied Biodiversity Sciences National Science Foundation-Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (NSF-IGERT) Program. I also earned a M.S. from my work with the Park Studies Laboratory at the University of Vermont.  My primary interests include:



  • Environmental attitudes and human behavior 
  • Concepts of "value" and "place" 
  • Outdoor recreation carrying capacity 
  • Geospatial modeling  
  • Leisure experience



Carena Van Riper, Copyright 2013