Date of Award:

1986

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Ecology

Advisor/Chair:

Richard Schreyer

Abstract

Organizations that offer Outdoor Education programs for adults are concerned with how to best attract people to their programs. Effective program design begins with a clear understanding of the people to be served. A marketing orientation--meeting the needs of participants--has begun to pervade non-profit management; specific information on the adult market for Outdoor Education remains limited. The purpose of this study was to identify and characterize segments based upon the benefits people seek from such an experience. Secondly, this analysis describes current programs 1n a five state region and identifies discrepancies between available and needed services. A mail survey of past participants of three residential programs (Audubon Camp of the West, National Wildlife Federation Summits and Teton Science School Seminars) was conducted in 1984. Participants were asked their reasons for attendance and their preferences for location, topic, accommodations and other program features. Demographic background such as age, sex, and income, was recorded. Thirty Outdoor Education organizations reported on their existing programs. The proposed method of segmentation--cluster analysis--failed to yield identifiable market segments using the forty three benefit variables selected from similar studies 1n outdoor recreation. Subsequent work in this study was devoted to testing alternative means of segmentation in order to identify a restricted list of variables capable of differentiating the sample public, somewhat specialized at the outset by virtue of past participation 1n Outdoor Education programs. Vacation-oriented and development-oriented segments were shown to significantly differ and the preferences of each described. Each organization appears to be serving slightly different types of people, with the clientele varying in the degree of comfort desired, concern for serious study and cost-consciousness. The overall market for adult Outdoor Education is primarily motivated by a desire to study and be close to nature. Social aspects, quest for knowledge and stimulation, and enjoyment of quiet beauty were also important considerations. Existing services and facilities 10 the five state region match expectations of participants with the exception of accommodations and meals provided. Many organizations continue to program for young adults even though the dominant age group is twenty-six to fifty-five years old with characteristic needs and interests. This market study and literature review form the bas is for recommending improvements in adult programming. A marketing point of view should enable Outdoor Educators to develop learning opportunities in the outdoor classroom that are not only inspirational, but attractive, convenient and affordable for selected target markets.

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