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Title page for ETD etd-12072006-104916

Type of Document Professional Paper
Author Notin, Kimberly Knowles
URN etd-12072006-104916
Title Learning to Change and Changing Learning in Environmental Management: A case study of the Kaw Nature Reserve in French Guiana
Degree Master of Science
Department College of Forestry and Conservation
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dr. Carol Brewer Committee Chair
Dr. Sarah Halvorson Committee Member
Dr. Steve Siebert Committee Member
  • social learning
  • environmental education
  • participation
  • Kaw
  • French Guiana
Date of Defense 2006-10-13
Availability unrestricted
Participation is a key component in socially just, successful nature conservation. Yet,

participation can range from informing citizens to offering them decision-making power.

Only participation that allows for an open, respectful negotiation of conservation

planning and implementation opens the door to engaging, place-appropriate conservation,

rather than conservation implemented by external agents with external agendas. However

ecologically or socially correct these external agendas may be, collaboration by all

stakeholders validates the appropriateness of conservation projects. One conservation tool

is education, which typically assumes that the public lacks environmental knowledge and

that information can create environmentally aware and active citizens. Often in

environmental education programs, the leading organization defines the problem and

goals prior to contact with the public. While education can enhance environmental

literacy and open doors to environmental action, it is important to recognize the diverse

knowledge and experiences of the audience so that they can contribute to successful

conservation. My research was based on two connected ideas. First, collaboration among

the broadest array of stakeholders requires an education model that is based on learning

together, versus a one-way flow of information. Second, a useful way of beginning

collaborative education is to recognize, respect and make the most of the diverse

experiences, opinions and knowledge of all the stakeholders. I present a case study that

focuses on the stakeholders of the Kaw Nature Reserve. This Reserve is eight years old

and has been historically beset with conflict. I interviewed a diverse array of stakeholders

involved with or affected by the Reserve to determine important themes regarding

communication, conservation goals, and viewpoints on land use. The themes I identified

can provide the groundwork to understanding the potential role of collaborative education

and dialogue in this Reserve, and provide collaborative tools for participatory

conservation in France and beyond. The analysis revealed four dominant themes: 1)

historical, regulatory and communicative sources of conflict among the Kaw Reserve

stakeholders, 2) the effect of external power relations on the Kaw village and Reserve, 3)

the Atipa resource crisis, and 4) similarities among stakeholders and diversity within


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