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Faculty and Staff Profile

Robert D Bixler


Phone: 864-367-2548

 Educational Background

PhD Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
Clemson University 1994

MAT Science Education
University of Louisville 1986

BA Biology
University of Louisville 1981


Research focused initially on explaining lack of interest in outdoor recreation in many people. Second step was to investigate how interest in outdoor recreation, particularly natural history dependent recreation develops across the lifespan. The third stage of research focused on human insect relationships as both a barrier to participation, but also a little recognized appealing activity for children ages 6 to 11 to have frequent inexpensive interactions with nearby nature. Additionally, development of new methods for heritage interpretation and describing theoretical underpinnings for heritage interpretation has been a focus.

 Research Interests

People and natural history based hobbies
Development of new methods and theoretical basis for heritage interpretation
Human-insect transactions
Environmental Socialization

 Research Publications

Shipley, N. J. & Bixler, R. D. (2019). An unconventional approach to fostering entomological literacy, American Entomologist, 65(1), 19-23.

Shipley, N. J. & Bixler, R. D. (2017). Why learn about insects, Green Teacher, (Winter).

Duffy, L. N., Pinckney, H. P., Powell, G. M., Bixler, R. D., & McGuire, F. A. (2018). Great theses and dissertation start with an intriguing idea. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education, 22, 82-87.

Shipley N. & Bixler, R. D. (2017). Beautiful bugs, bothersome bugs, and FUN bugs: Examining human interactions with insects and other arthropods, Anthrozoos, 30(3), 357-372.

Bixler, R. D. (2017). Topic or Tease: Structure of Interpretive Program Titles, Legacy, Fort Collins: National Association for Interpretation.

Shipley, N. J. & Bixler, R. D. (2017). Why learn about insects? Green Teacher (112) Winter, 3-6.

Bixler R. D. (2016). Reading ease isn’t so easy Legacy, Nov/Dec. 37-39.

Shipley, N.J. & Bixler, R.D. (2016). On the need to interpret insects: An always small but gargantuan opportunity. Journal of Interpretation Research, 21(2), 65-72.

Bixler, R. D. & James, J. J. (2016). Where the sidewalk ends: Pathways to nature-dependent leisure activities, In D. Kleiber & F. McGuire (Eds.). Leisure and Human Development, 107-131. Urbana, IL: Sagamore Publishing.

Bixler, R. D., Crosby, C. & Howell, K., Tucker, T. (2016). Choosing illustrations of spider (faces) for best first impressions in natural history interpretive programs: A program component analysis. Journal of Interpretation Research, 20(2).

Goodrich, J. L. & Bixler, R. D. (2015). Should interpreters address environmental issues? InterpNews,

Bixler, R. D. & James, J. J. (2015). Star Hopping: Naked Eye Astronomy for Green Teachers, Green Teacher, 105, 3-10.

Bixler, R. D. & James, J. J. (2014). First impressions: Creating adequate titles for public interpretive programs, Visitor Studies, 17(2), 177-190.

Bixler, R. D. (2014). Evaluation? Don't bother!. Legacy, July/August, 21-23.

Bixler R. D., Joseph, S. L. & Searles, V.M. (2014) Volunteers as products of a Zoo conservation education program, The Journal of Environmental Education, 45:1, 57-73

Bixler, R. D. (2013). Fee for all: Struggling with pricing interpretive programs, Legacy, 28-30.

Goodrich, J. L. & Bixler, R. D. (2012). Getting campers to interpretive programs: Understanding constraints to participation, Journal of Interpretation Research, (17)1, 59-70.

Vadala, C., Bixler, R. D., Bransford, J., & Waldrop, T. (2012). Attitudes, knowledge and perception of fuel reduction among involved publics in the southern Appalachians: Implications for responsive communication. Southern Journal of Applied Forestry. (36)3, 159-165 (7).

Bixler, R. D. James, J. J. & Vadala, C. E. (2011). Environmental socialization incidents with implications for the expanded role of interpretive naturalist in providing natural history experiences. Journal of Interpretation Research, 16, 1, 35-64.

Bixler, R. D. (2011). There are soccer moms but no nature moms: Building identity with nature and nature centers, directions: Journal of the Association of Nature Center Administrators. 1, 5-7.

James, J. J., Bixler, R.D. & Vadala, C. E. (2010). From play to recreation then vocation: A developmental model of natural history oriented professions. Children, Youth & Environment, 20(1), 231-256.

James, J. J. & Bixler, R. D. (2008). Children's role in meaning making through their participation in a nonformal environmental education learning program. Journal of Environmental Education, 39 (4), 44-59.

 Honors and Awards

Outstanding Service to the Sunny Southeast Region, National Association for Interpretation. (2019).

Outstanding Interpreter in the Sunny Southeast Region, National Association for Interpretation. (2019).

Fellow, National Association for Interpretation 2017