To build linkages among environmental stewardship, community wellness, and social-ecological systems resilience.


The Civic Ecology Lab will be a dynamic hub for action research seeking to understand and support humans stewarding local nature and community wellness under difficult conditions.

Introduction to the Civic Ecology Lab

Civic Ecology is the study of the interactions, including feedbacks, among four components of a social-ecological system:

  • community-based environmental stewardship (civic ecology practice);
  • education and learning situated in these practices;
  • the people and institutions involved; and
  • the ecosystem services produced by the people, their stewardship, and educational practices.

We investigate the individual, community, and environmental outcomes of civic ecology practice, including sense of place, adaptive capacity, social capital, and ecosystem services. We also study the mechanisms through which civic ecology practices contribute to social-ecological systems resilience, including social innovation, governance networks, and adaptive co-management.

Marianne E. Krasny serves as Director of the Civic Ecology Lab. Together with Keith G. Tidball, she founded the lab in 2008. Dr. Tidball’s research on resilience, disaster, symbol and ritual, and memorialization in New Orleans and New York City, as well as his work with veterans and nature-based recreation, has been instrumental to the lab’s scholarship and outreach.

Dr. Krasny’s and the Lab’s current research focuses on: (1) larger impacts of civic ecology practices, including related to governance and climate change; (2) learning embedded in civic ecology practices; (3) online learning for professional development and volunteer engagement; and (4) environmental education.

Members of the Civic Ecology Lab couple research with outreach. For example, graduate students conduct action research and volunteer with the civic ecology practices they are studying. Lab members conduct MOOCs and smaller online courses on civic ecology, transdisciplinary approaches to addressing wicked problems, climate change communication, and environmental education.

We welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students and research and outreach partners.