Kids in the woods
The Nature of Americans
Mission accomplished
A national initiative
to understand and connect Americans and nature
Around the bend
and many other partners
Sponsored by Yale University,
The Walt Disney Company


The Study

Profound changes are occurring in the American public’s connections to nature, the outdoors, and wildlife. Participation in traditional, nature-based recreation is stagnant or declining, Americans are spending more time indoors, and they are using electronic media more than ever before. At the same time, there is growing evidence that human health and wellbeing depend on beneficial contact with nature. To better understand and foster Americans’ relationship with nature, Dr. Stephen Kellert and DJ Case & Associates conducted an unprecedented study of nearly 12,000 adults, children and parents across the United States in 2015-16.

Three different research methods were used, and each was closely integrated with the others.

  • 15 focus groups in Florida, Texas, California, Illinois, and New York
  • Online survey of over 10,000 adults across the country
  • Interviews with almost 800 children ages 8–12 and an online survey of one of their parents

By May 2017, DJ Case will begin rolling out relevant findings to various groups inside and outside of the conservation community:

  • American adults and children’s values of and interests in nature, as well as their behaviors, memories, and influences
  • Barriers and facilitators to contact with nature
  • Support for nature-based programming and attitudes toward conservation
  • Variation across race and ethnicity, location, age, political views, and more

With these results, the conservation community will be better equipped to provide the programs and services needed to connect Americans and nature, for the benefit of both.


Investigations are underway. Results will be available in 2017.

Notify me when results are available...


The principal Investigators of Nature of Americans research are:

Dr. Stephen R. Kellert (deceased) was Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a leader and pioneer in the theory and science of human relationships to nature and wildlife.

David J. Case is the founder and president of DJ Case and Associates (communication specialists in natural resources conservation), and a leading practitioner in the field of human dimensions of wildlife and natural resource management.

DJ Case and Associates

317 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Mishawaka, IN 46545



Photo of Dr. Stephen Kellert

Dr. Stephen R. Kellert
1943 - 2016

Dr. Stephen R. Kellert led this National Initiative to Understand and Connect Americans and Nature as a collaborative study with DJ Case & Associates. This Initiative is grounded in his 1970s research of Americans' perceptions of nature, research that is widely recognized as a wellspring for the study of the social dimensions of conservation. Dr. Kellert was passionate about this project, and was still providing guidance and direction on the near-completed project reports just two weeks prior to his passing, on November 27, 2016. Our research team is deeply saddened by his loss. But Dr. Kellert was joyous and enthusiastic in his work—as anyone who came in contact with him would agree—and hopeful that the study's findings would provide important guidance to improving human health and wellbeing. It is with highest esteem that we submit this report as a tribute to his immeasurable contributions as scholar, colleague, and friend.