Considering Participants’ Personal Wellness in Conservation-Based Extension Programs: Opportunities for Integrative Development and Evaluation

Energy efficient living, or living green, is becoming increasingly popular. Thanks in part to UF/IFAS Extension faculty, this home and others are being built to high energy efficiency standards designed to conserve energy, lower heating and cooling bills and increase comfort, as well as save on water use both inside and outside. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright.

Extension organizations are at the forefront of water resource issues, using educational programs to drive participant behaviors towards water conservation. The effectiveness of these efforts centers on designing programs with considerations of the factors that will change relevant decisions and behaviors among residential landscape water users. We conducted a statewide study to explore the concept of wellness and well-being, and these characteristics’ relationship to water conservation behaviors. Our results show that psychosocial measures influence current and future residential landscape water conservation behaviors differently. Perception of well-being is the more consistent predictor for both current behaviors and future intentions. These results demonstrate an opportunity for those focused on environmental behaviors to pair and embed programs focused on personal well-being to empower communities to work toward achieving conservation goals.