Watershed Group Effectiveness: A Case Study of the Friends of Big Walnut Creek

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The Ohio State University

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Volunteer organizations often attempt to improve their recruitment strategies to drive participation for their respective causes. This recruitment drive is especially important for local watershed groups, which are an integral component of collaborative environmental management. Watershed groups help to raise awareness of watershed issues, and can provide useful natural resource monitoring data to governmental agencies. This paper focuses on a watershed group in central Ohio, The Friends of Big Walnut Creek. Through a qualitative case study The Friends of Big Walnut Creek was examined to see if they were effective in their mission in protecting the Big Walnut watershed, and what factors are the most important in driving recruitment efforts of potential members. However, effectiveness of a watershed group may primarily rest with how the group in question defines themselves. After analyzing the data of this case study with previous research, it was concluded that fostering social connections and certain group characteristics, such as group focus, were the biggest factors that influenced participation in a watershed group. Other factors also contribute to this dynamic however, and future research is needed to determine which factors play the biggest role in driving participation when compared with one another.



Watershed, Volunteer Participation, Collaborative Environmental Management, User Monitoring