Portland State University. Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Education: Policy, Foundation and Administration
Educational Leadership and Policy
1 online resource (xi, 110 pages)
Wolves -- Oregon -- Public opinion, Predatory animals -- Oregon -- Public opinion, Wildlife recovery -- Oregon
European immigrants once regarded wolves as the "devil in disguise" (Lopez, 1978, p.40). With our growing awareness of other cultural perspectives and flourishing body of scientific knowledge with regard to wolves' behavior, our perceptions of wolves have become more complicated and nuanced. Our collective awareness of the environment in which we live also gathers complexity. I examine these issues in this study. Wolves are returning to Oregon. The arrival of wolf B-45 in 1999 heralded the beginning of the return of wild wolves to Oregon. More wolves are expected to cross the border as young sub-adults disperse from the growing population in Idaho.
This study explores our perceptions of wolves using empirical, qualitative methodology. Running in parallel with this main goal, I also seek to understand how these perceptions relate on a larger scale to the ways we understand nature. In exploring these questions qualitatively, I seek to answer the following questions: (a) What ways can story play a role in defining people’s perceptions, in particular, of wolves? (b) What lessons can be learned to inform future ecological educators' work to communicate on this or other similarly complex topics? (c) What is the collective story that we can tell each other on the eve of wolves' presence in the Oregon landscape becoming an acknowledged reality once again? (d) Finally, how can what is learned inform future ecological educational programs regarding wolves in the state?
This study explores the above questions. In considering people's perceptions, I attempt to examine whether the desires to exterminate wolves are really gone. Perhaps, as we learn more about the complex ways that wolves interact in the landscape and the various ways that humans react to the idea of wolves, we may recognize the greater complexities in the ways we inter-relate with them.
Nobel, Laura Briana, "The Nature of People's Perceptions of Wolves" (2009). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2683.