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Faculty and Staff Profile

Robert Baxter Powell

George B. Hartzog, Jr. Endowed Professor
Director Institute for Parks

Office: 283 Lehotsky Hall
Phone: 864-784-7974

 Educational Background

Ph.D. Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University 2005

M.E.M. Environmental Management
Yale University 2001

B.A. Interdiscplinary Studies
Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 1983

 Courses Taught

Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Clemson University.
PRTM 403: Elements of Park Planning (2006-present)
PRTM 430/630: World Geography of Parks and Equivalent Reserves (2006-present)
PRTM 201: The Recreation Environment (2005-2006)
PRTM 900: Integrated Conservation and Development Graduate Seminar (2012)
PRTM 900: Interdisciplinary Park and Protected Area Management: Questioning the Parks as Islands Approach Graduate Seminar (2008)
PRTM 900: Graduate Conservation Reading Seminar (2013-2014)
PRTM 298: Creative Inquiry (Undergraduate Research): Managing Recreation in the Clemson Experimental Forest (2006)
PRTM 891: Independent Study (2007-present)
PRTM 991: Doctoral Research (2007-present)

National Scholars Program, Clemson University.
PRTM 391 Honors: Values of Parks. (Seminar and Maymester Study Abroad Course in Grand Canyon National Park)(2016)
PRTM 398 Honors: Exploring Tiger Conservation in Bhutan (Seminar and Maymester Study Abroad Course)(2014)
PRTM 498 Honors: Values of Parks. (Seminar and Maymester Study Abroad Course in Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks)(2010)

Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation; Clemson University.
FOR 431/431L; 631/631L: Recreation Resource Planning in Forest Management (2007-present)
FOR 991: Doctoral Research (2009-present)


Robert B. Powell is the George B. Hartzog, Jr. Endowed Professor in Philosophy, Parks, and Environmental Ethics in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University. He is also the Director of the Institute for Parks, which is an interdisciplinary institute focused on providing research, training, and outreach to support park and protected area management. With graduate degrees from Yale University, his research and outreach program has taken him to over 40 countries and 6 continents and focuses on environmental education/interpretation, ecotourism, protected areas, and the human dimensions of biodiversity conservation.

 Research Interests

Include: environmental education and interpretation, parks and protected area management, ecotourism, outdoor recreation, and biodiversity conservation.

External Grants:

2019-2023 National Science Foundation. Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Research in Service to Practice Grant ($1.944M). What leads to better outcomes in informal STEM-based environmental education programs for youth? PI: R.B. Powell; Co-PI: M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech), B.T. Frensley (UNC-W), & R. Gagnon (Clemson Univ.)

2019-2021 Pisces Foundation ($15,000). Building a culture of and capacity for evaluation in Environmental Education: 2.0. Principal Investigator: Charlotte Clark, Duke Univ. Collaborator: R.B. Powell.

2018-2020 US National Park Service ($165,345). Research to evaluate visitor characteristics across and within seasons at Joshua Tree National Park. Co-Principal Investigators: Ryan Sharp, Kansas State Univ.; M. Brownlee, Clemson Univ., R.B. Powell.

2017-2018 North Carolina Outward Bound ($5,000). Assessing the Efficacy of the North Carolina Outward Bound Educator Initiative. Principal Investigator: R.B. Powell. Graduate Student: Hunter Holland

2016-2019 Institute for Museum and Library Services. ($487,000) Identifying the drivers of success in educational programs at nature centers and National Parks in the United States. Co-Principal Investigators: M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech) & R.B. Powell

2016-2018 National Science Foundation ($300,000) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Pathways Grant.Methods development for systematic investigation of factors driving outcomes in informal STEM environmental education programs. Co-Principal Investigators: R.B. Powell & M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech).

2016-2017 Storer Foundation ($30,000) Assessing the Benefits of Outdoor Recreation. Principal Investigator: R.B. Powell, Collaborators: C. Monz (Utah State) and J. E. Thomsen (Univ. Montana).

2015-2016 Antarctica visitor study in cooperation with Aurora Expeditions. Principal Investigator: R.B. Powell.

2015-2016 Government of Viet Nam, Ministry of Construction. (Consultant) 2030 Plan for the Dong Van Stone Plateau Global Geopark in Ha Giang Province, Viet Nam. Principal Investigator: J. Spencer (Clemson). Collaborator: R.B. Powell.

2014-2015 Wildlife Management Institute ($139,495) Interactive Conservation Planning for the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative. PI: R. Baldwin (Clemson). Collaborator: R.B. Powell.

2013-2015 US National Park Service ($127,913). Goal setting and needs assessment for Interpretation and Education in the National Park Service. Co-principal Investigators: R.B.Powell & B. A. Wright (Clemson).

2014 Antarctica visitor study in cooperation with Aurora Expeditions. Principal Investigator: R.B.Powell.

2013 Bhutan Dept. of Forests and Park Services and World Bank. Global Leadership for Results Conservation Program. Thimphu, Bhutan. Nov. 14-20. Workshop Presenter.

2008-2013 National Audubon Society. ($506,000) Research for the evaluation and adaptive management of Toyota TogetherGreen. Co-principal Investigators: R.B. Powell, M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech), & N. Ardoin, (Stanford Univ.).

2011-2013 South Florida National Parks Trust ($60,130). Evaluation and research of environmental education at Everglades National Park. Co-principal Investigators: R.B.Powell, G. Ramshaw (Clemson), & M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech).

2009-2013 US National Park Service ($128,688). Assessing the health of Interpretation and Education in the National Park Service. Co-principal Investigators: M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech) & R.B.Powell.

2010-2012 National Parks Conservation Association: Center for Park Management ($219,368). Assessing quality indicators for interpretive programs in the National Park Service. Co-principal Investigators: M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech) & R.B.Powell.

2008-2012 US National Park Service ($24,600). Evaluation of curriculum-based environmental education programs at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Co-principal Investigators: R.B.Powell & M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech).

2008-2011 US National Park Service and Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ($155,600). Research for sustainable adaptive management of environmental education and outreach at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Co-principal Investigators: M.J. Stern (Virginia Tech) & R.B.Powell.

2007 USAID Sustainable Coastal Tourism in Asia-Sri Lanka: Overcoming governance barriers to integrated coastal, marine protected area, and tourism management. Principal Investigator: R.B. Powell.

2007-10 US National Park Service Wilderness Stewardship & Recreation Management Division ($70,000). Evaluation of wilderness recreational ethics education on public lands. Co-principal Investigators: R.B.Powell & B. A. Wright (Clemson University).

 Research Publications

62) Citarella, M.M.*, Hallo, J.C., Fefer, J.P., Brownlee, M.T.J., Powell, R.B. & Dudley, K. (2019) Taking the plunge: Enhancing the visitor experience in waterfall-based state parks. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 37(3) 70-88. DOI: 10.18666/JPRA-2019-9149

61) Ogletree, S.S.*, Powell, R.B., Baldwin, R. F. & Leonard, P.B. (2019) A framework for mapping cultural resources in landscape conservation planning. Conservation Science and Practice. DOI: 10.1111/csp2.41

60) Clark, M., Wilkins, E., Dagan, D.T., Powell, R.B., Sharp, R.L., & Hillis, V. (2019) Bringing forecasting into the future: Using Google to predict visitation in U.S. National Parks. Environmental Management, 243, 88-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.05.006

59) Powell, R.B., Stern, M. J., Frensley, B.T., & Moore, D. (2019) Identifying and developing crosscutting environmental education outcomes for adolescents in the 21st Century (EE21). Environmental Education Research. DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2019.1607259

58) Miller, Z.D.*, Freimund, W.A., Metcalf, E.C., Nickerson, N.P. & Powell, R.B. (2019) Merging elaboration and the theory of planned behavior to understand bear spray behavior of day hikers in Yellowstone National Park. Journal of Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-019-01139-w

57) Holland, K.E.*, Larsen, L., & Powell, R.B. (2018) Characterizing conflict between humans and big cats Panthera spp: A systematic review of research trends and management opportunities. PlosOne 13(9):e0203877.

56) Holland, W.H.*, Powell, R.B., Thomsen, J.M., and Monz, C.A. (2018) A systematic review of the psychological, social, and educational outcomes associated with participation in wildland recreational activities. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership,10(3) 197-225. DOI/10.18666/JOREL-2018-V10-I3-8382

55) Munanura, I.E.*, Backman, K.F., Hallo, J.C, Powell, R.B., & Sabuhoro, E. (2018) Understanding the relationship between livelihood constraints of poor forest-adjacent residents and illegal forest use at Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Conservation and Society, 16(3) 291-304.

54) Miller, Z.D.*, Freimund, W., & Powell, R.B. (2018) Measuring elaboration and evaluating its influence on behavioral intentions. Journal of Interpretation Research, 23(1) 27-44.

53) Munanura, I.E.*, Backman, K.F., Sabuhoro, E., Powell, R.B., & Hallo, J.C. (2017) The Perceived Forms and Drivers of Forest Dependence at Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Environmental Sociology. DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2017.1414661

52) Thomsen, J., Powell, R.B., and Monz, C. (2018) A systematic review of the health outcomes associated with participation in wildland recreational activities. Journal of Parks and Recreation Administration.36(1) 123-148.

51) Jamaliah, M.* & Powell, R.B. (2018) Integrated vulnerability assessment of ecotourism to climate change in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan. Current Issues in Tourism. 26(4) 519-536. DOI:10.1080/09669582.2017.1360893

50) Morris, D.M.*, Pilcher, J.J., & Powell, R.B. (2017). Task dependent cold stress during expeditions in Antarctic environments. International Journal of Circumpolar Health. 76(1),1379306. DOI: 10.1080/22423982.2017.1379306

49) Powell, R.B., Stern, M.J., & Frensley, B.* (In press) Crosscutting outcomes for Environmental Education programming in national parks. In Thompson, J.L., Houseal, A.K. & Cook, A. (editors). America’s largest classrooms: What we learn from our national parks. XXXXXX.

48) Powell, R.B., Depper, G.L.*, & Wright, BA (2018) Interpretation training needs in the 21st Century: A needs assessment of interpreters in the National Park Service. Journal of Interpretation Research. 22(2), 17-34.

47) Jamaliah, M.* & Powell, R.B. (2018) Assessing the resilience of ecotourism to climate change in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 4, 519-536. DOI:10.1080/09669582.2017.1360893

46) Powell, R. B., Vezeau, S.L.*, Stern, M.J., Moore, D.D., & Wright, B.A. (2018) Does elaboration influence environmental behaviors? Journal of Environmental Education Research. 6, 875-888. DOI:10.1080/13504622.2017.1339302

45) Powell, R.B., Green, T.F., Holladay, P.J., Krafte, K.E.*, Duda, M.*, Nguyen, M.T., Spencer, J.H., & Das, P. (2018) Examining community resilience to assist in sustainable tourism development planning in Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark, Viet Nam. Tourism Planning and Development. 15(4) 436-457. DOI: 10.1080/21568316.2017.1338202

44) Stern, M.J., Frensley, B.*, Powell, R.B., & Ardoin, N.M. (2018) What difference do role models make? Investigating outcomes at a residential environmental education center. Environmental Education Research, 6, 818-830. DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1313391

43) Holladay, P.J.*, & Powell, R.B. (2016) Social-ecological systems, stakeholders, and sustainability: A qualitative inquiry into community-based tourism in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Caribbean Studies. 44(1), 3-28.

42) Munanura, I.E.*, Backman, K.F., Hallo, J, & Powell, R.B. (2016) Perceptions of tourism benefits as a tool for wildlife conservation among protected area managers and local residents: The case of tourism revenue sharing at Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 12, 1709-1726.

41) Stern, M.J., Ardoin, N.M., & Powell, R.B. (2016) Exploring the effectiveness of community outreach strategies: The case of the Audubon Toyota TogetherGreen program. Society and Natural Resources, 30 (1) 95-111.

40) Vezeau, S.*, Powell, R. B., Stern, M.J., Moore, D., & Wright, B. (2017) Development and validation of a scale for measuring stewardship behaviors and elaboration in children. Environmental Education Research, 23(2) 192-213.

39) Sgalitzer, H.A.*, Brownlee, M.T.J., Bricker, K.S., & Powell, R.B. (2016) Travelers’ philanthropy: Understanding tourists’ motivations to donate at Sweetwater Chimpanzee Sanctuary. Journal of Ecotourism, 1, 1-20. DOI: 10.1080/14724049.2015.1117091

38) Skibins, J.C.*, Powell, R.B., & Hallo, J.C. (2016) Lucky 13: Conservation implications of broadening ‘Big 5’ flagship species recognition in East Africa. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 24(7) 1024-1040. DOI:10.1080/09669582.2015.1101126

37) Powell, R.B., Ramshaw, G.P., Ogletree, S.S.*, & Krafte, K.* (2016) Can heritage resources highlight changes to the natural environment caused by climate change? Evidence from the Antarctic tourism experience. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 11 (1) 71-87.

36) Depper, G.*, Vigil, D., Powell, R.B. & Wright, B.A. (2015-2016) Resource protection, visitor safety, and employee safety: How prepared is the National Park Service? Park Science, 32 (2) 18-24.

35) Brownlee, M.T.J.*, Hallo, J.C., Jodice, L.W., Moore, D.D., Powell, R.B., & Wright, B.A. (2015) Place attachment and marine recreationists’ attitudes towards offshore wind energy development. Journal of Leisure Research, 47(2), 263-284.

34) Munanura, I*, Backman, K., Moore, D., Hallo, J., & Powell, R.B. (2014) Household poverty dimensions influencing forest dependence at Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: An application of the sustainable livelihoods framework. Natural Resources, 5(16).

33) Miller, Z.*, Hallo, J.C., Sharp, J., Powell, R.B., & Lanham, D. (2014) Birding by ear: A study of recreational specialization and soundscape preference. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 19(6), 498-511.

32) Vagias, W.*, Powell, R.B., Moore, D.D., & Wright, B.A. (2014) Predicting behavioral intentions to comply with recommended Leave No Trace practices. Leisure Sciences, 38(5), 439-45.

31) Stern, M.J., Powell, R.B., & Hill, D. (2014) Environmental education research in the new millennium: What do we measure and what have we learned? Environmental Education Research, 20(5), 581-611.

30) Brownlee, M.T.J.*, Hallo, J.C., Moore, D.D., Powell, R.B., & Wright, B.A. (2014) Attitudes towards water conservation: The influence of site specific factors and beliefs in climate change. Society and Natural Resources, 27(9), 964-982.

29) Thomsen, J.*, Powell, R.B., & Allen, D. (2013) What is the value and implications of viewing park resources as health resources? Park Science, 30(2), 30-36.

28) Stern, M.J. & Powell, R.B. (2013) What leads to better visitor outcomes in live interpretation? Special Issue: Journal of Interpretation Research, 18(2), 9-44.

27) Powell, R.B. & Stern, M.J. (2013) Is it the program or the interpreter? Modeling the influence of program characteristics and interpreter attributes on visitor outcomes. Special Issue: Journal of Interpretation Research, 18(2), 45-60.

26) Powell, R.B. & Stern, M.J. (2013) Speculating on the role of context in the outcomes of interpretive programs. Special Issue: Journal of Interpretation Research, 18(2), 61-78.

25) Stern, M.J., Powell, R.B., McLean, K.D.*, Martin, E.*, Thomsen, J.M.* & Mutchler, B.A.* (2013) The difference between good enough and great: Bringing interpretive best practices to life. Special Issue: Journal of Interpretation Research, 18(2), 79-100.

24) Skibins, J.C.,* & Powell, R.B. (2013) Conservation Caring: Measuring the influence of zoo visitors’ connection to wildlife on pro-conservation behaviors. Zoo Biology, 32(5), 528-540.

23) Brownlee, M. T. J.*, Hallo, J. C., Wright, B. A., Moore, D., & Powell, R. B. (2013). Visiting a climate-influenced National Park: The stability of climate change perceptions. Environmental Management, 52(5), 1132-1148.

22) Holladay, P.J.* & Powell, R.B. (2013) Resident perceptions of social-ecological resilience and the sustainability of community-based tourism development in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(8), 1188-1211.

21) Skibins, J.C.*, Powell, R.B. & Hallo, J.C. (2013) Charisma and conservation: Charismatic megafauna’s influence on safari and zoo tourists’ pro-conservation behaviors. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22(4), 959-982.

20) Brownlee, M.T.J.*, Powell, R. B., & Hallo, J. (2013) A review of the foundational processes that influence beliefs in climate change: Opportunities for environmental education research. Environmental Education Research, 19(1), 1-20.

19) Skibins, J.C.*, Powell, R.B., & Stern, M.J. (2012) Exploring empirical support for interpretation’s best practices. Journal of Interpretation Research, 17(1), 25-44.

18) Vagias, W.*, Powell, R.B, Moore, D, & Wright, B.A. (2012) Development, psychometric qualities, and cross-validation of the Leave No Trace attitudinal inventory and measure (LNT AIM). Journal of Leisure Research, 44(2), 234-256.

17) Van Riper, C., Powell, R. B., Machlis, G., Wagtendonk, J., van Riper, C.J.*,von Ruschkowski, E., Schwarzbach, S. & Galipeau, R. (2012) Using integrated research and interdisciplinary science: Potential benefits to managers of park and protected areas. George Wright Society Forum, 29(2), 216-226.

16) Stern, M.J., Wright, M.E.*, & Powell, R.B. (2012) Motivating school participation in National Park Service education programs. Journal of Visitor Studies, 15(1), 28-47.

15) Powell, R.B., Brownlee, M.T.J.*, Kellert, S. R. & Ham, S.H. (2012) From awe to satisfaction: Immediate affective responses to the Antarctic tourism experience. Polar Record, 48(2), 145-156.

14) Stern, M.J., Powell, R.B. & Hockett, K.S. (2011) Why do they come? Motivations and barriers to interpretive program attendance at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Journal of Interpretation Research, 16 (2), 35-52.

13) Baldwin,R.F., Powell, R.B., & Kellert, S.R. (2011) Habitat as architecture for sustainability: Integrating conservation planning and human health. Ambio, 40(3), 322-327.

12) Powell, R.B., Stern, M.J., Krohn, B.* & Ardoin, N. (2011) Development and validation of scales to measure environmental responsibility, attitudes toward school, and character development. Environmental Education Research, 17(1), 91-111.

11) Stern, M.J., Powell, R.B., & Ardoin, N.M. (2011) Evaluating a constructivist and culturally responsive approach to environmental education for diverse audiences. Journal of Environmental Education, 42(2),109-122.

10) Stern, M.J., Powell, R.B., & Cook, C. (2010-2011) The benefits of live interpretive programs to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Park Science, 27(3), 56-60.

9) Vagias, W.* & Powell, R.B. (2010) Backcountry visitors’ Leave No Trace attitudes. International Journal of Wilderness, 16(3), 21-27.

8) Powell, R. B. (2010) Developing institutions to overcome governance barriers to ecoregional conservation. In S. C. Trombulak & R. F. Baldwin (Eds.), Landscape-scale Conservation Planning (pp. 53-67). New York: Springer.

7) Powell, R. B & Vagias, W.* (2010) Benefits of stakeholder involvement in the development of social science research. Park Science, 27(1), 46-49.

6) Powell, R.B., Cushnir, A., & Peiris, P. (2009) Overcoming governance barriers to integrated coastal zone, marine protected area, and sustainable tourism management in Sri Lanka. Coastal Management, 37(6), 633-655.

5) Powell, R.B., Kellert, S. R., & Ham, S.H. (2009) Interactional theory and the sustainable nature-based tourism experience. Society and Natural Resources, 22(8), 761-776.

4) Stern, M.J., Powell, R.B., & Ardoin, N. (2008) What difference does it make? Assessing student outcomes of participation in a residential environmental education program. Journal of Environmental Education, 39(4), 31-43.

3) Powell, R.B. & Ham, S.H. (2008) Can ecotourism interpretation really lead to pro-conservation knowledge, attitudes, and behavior? Evidence from the Galapagos Islands. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 16(4), 467-489.

2) Powell, R.B., Kellert, S. R., & Ham, S.H. (2008) Antarctic tourists: Ambassadors or consumers? Polar Record, 44(230), 233-241.

1) Powell, R.B., Stern, M.J., & Ardoin, N. (2006) A sustainable evaluation framework and its application. Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 5(4), 231-241.

 Honors and Awards

2016 Clemson University. College of Health, Education, and Human Development. Excellence in Research
2014 Calhoun Honors College and Pearce Center. Clemson University. Thoughts Worth Thinking Speaker


Institute for Parks
Powell Research Gate
Powell Named Endowed Professor
Powell Yale Env. Profile
Powell-NSF Research Award- 2019