To create new insights into the links between environmental stewardship, community well-being, and social-ecological systems resilience.
The Civic Ecology Lab will be a dynamic hub for scholarship seeking to understand ways in which humans are reconnecting to nature under the most difficult of conditions, and in so doing are making meaningful and measurable change to their communities and the environment.
The Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University is founded on the belief that humans can act to enhance the ecosystems of which they are a part. In enhancing local ecosystems through such practices as community forestry, community gardening, and watershed restoration, humans also contribute to the well-being of their community. Civic ecology practices often occur under the harshest of conditions, including in declining, post-industrial cities and after disaster or conflict.
In a broad sense, civic ecology is the study of the interactions, including feedbacks, among four components of a social-ecological system:
In addition to studying these interactions, we investigate the individual, community, and environmental outcomes of civic ecology practice, including sense of place, adaptive capacity, social capital, and ecosystem services. We are also studying the mechanisms through which civic ecology practices contribute to social-ecological systems resilience, including virtuous and vicious cycles, social innovation, memorialization, and social-ecological symbols and rituals.
Our research is informed by and contributes to trans-disciplinary perspectives in social-ecological systems resilience, environmental education, social learning, and urban ecology. Our partners include the Stockholm Resilience Centre, ICLEI Urban Biosphere project (URBIS), and the North American Association for Environmental Education. We also work with multiple organizations serving war veterans, as well as with community-based organizations engaged in environmental restoration and education.
The Civic Ecology Lab has two major foci for our research and outreach: education and learning and nature and human security.
Marianne E. Krasny serves as Director and Keith Tidball serves as Associate Director of the Civic Ecology Lab. We welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students and research and outreach partners.
The "half theta" symbol used in the Civic Ecology logo derives from the theta symbol in the Ecology Flag created in the late 1960s. It is thought that the original symbol incorporates an E for ecology and O for organism. Our "half theta" incorporates a C for civic and E for ecology.