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Horticulture and Natural Resources

Jeffrey Skibins

Skibins, JeffreyAssistant Professor of Park Management and Conservation
Office: 1601 Throckmorton

785-532-6949 fax


Area of Specialization:
Park Management & Conservation

View My Curriculum Vitae

Bio Brief

Dr. Skibins was born and raised in Chicago. Growing up he visited the many zoos, museums, and nature centers around the city, which helped to cultivate a life-long love of wildlife. After completing his master's degree in conservation biology, he returned to the Chicagoland area and spent fifteen years working as a natural resource manager, interpreter, adjunct faculty, and consultant for several conservation agencies, museums, zoos, and universities.

Dr. Skibins returned to academia to complete his Ph.D. in Park and Conservation Area Management at Clemson University in South Carolina. His research focuses on the relationship between ecotourism and wildlife conservation. Much of his work has a strong international focus and has taken him to Africa, Australia, Europe, and South America. He joined the faculty at K State in 2014.


Ph.D. (2012) Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management, Clemson University
Dissertation title: The Influence of Flagship Species on In Situ and Ex Situ Wildlife Tourists' Connection to Wildlife and Pro-Conservation Behaviors.

M.S. (1993) Conservation Biology, Illinois State University
Thesis title: A Multivariate Statistical Investigation of the Validity of the Taxon Myotis sodalis (Indiana Cave Bat)

B.A. (1991) Biology, Illinois Wesleyan University
Undergraduate international experience: Year abroad – University of Sheffield (England), Travel course – Marine Biology, Australia

You can follow my research and projects on:
Research Gate at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jeffrey_Skibins
Academia at https://ksu.academia.edu/JEFFREYSKIBINS

Click here for news updates on Dr. Skibins' research:

Wildlife Society - http://wildlife.org/new-live-cam-technology-might-help-conservation/
Alaska Public Radio - http://kdlg.org/post/live-bear-cam-gives-researchers-insights-humans#stream/0
National Parks Traveler - http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2016/07/bearcam-study-looks-human-emotional-connection-wildlife-parks
Science Codex - http://www.sciencecodex.com/bearcam_study_focuses_on_human_emotional_connection_with_wildlife_parks-186491#.V5AYam0Z4bo.email
Newsweek - http://www.newsweek.com/do-animal-livecams-make-us-feel-same-watching-animals-irl-481461

Area of Emphasis

Dr. Skibins’ research focuses on human dimensions of wildlife conservation. Much of his research revolves around three overarching questions: 1) how can parks, protected areas, zoos, and aquariums increase public participation in wildlife conservation, 2) how do we improve the long-term sustainability of ecotourism, and 3) how does interpretation influence the visitor experience. To address these questions he uses conservation and environmental psychology theories to investigate how visitors’ emotions, on-site experiences, and attitudes can be modeled to predict pro-conservation behaviors. His findings are designed to provide managers strategies to enhance wildlife conservation, interpretation and exhibit design, public campaigns, and visitor experiences. Dr. Skibins’ research methods incorporate a variety of techniques, including: visitor surveys, in-depth interviews, and electronic visitor interfaces (e.g. eye-motion glasses, physiological sensors, GPS monitoring, and apps). His projects address wildlife conservation at a global scale and he conducts research in Australia, Africa, and North and South America.

Areas of Specialty

  • Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation
  • Flagship Species
  • Zoos & Aquariums
  • Ecotourism/Wildlife Tourism
  • Protected Area Management
  • Interpretation
  • Statistical Modeling
  • Resilience


Zajchowski, C. A. B., Verbos, R. I., Brownlee, M. T. J., & Skibins, J. C. (2017). "I'd like to be just a bit closer": Wildlife viewing proximity preferences at Denali National Park & Preserve. Journal of Ecotourism, 1 - 16 .

Holladay, P. J., Skibins, J. C., Zach, F. J., & Arze, M. (2017). Exploratory social network analysis of stakeholder organizations along the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 35(4), 37 - 48.

Skibins, J. C. and Sharp, R. L. (2017). Evaluation of the brown bear viewing experience at Katmai National Park and Preserve: Implications for management. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 22(5), 476 - 482.

Skibins, J. C., Dunstan, E., & Pahlow, K. (2017). Exploring the influence of charismatic characteristics on flagship outcomes in zoo visitors. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 22, 1 - 15.

Skibins, J. C., Powell, R. B., & Hallo, J. C. (2016). Lucky 13: Conservation implications of broadening 'Big 5' flagship species recognition in East Africa. Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

Skibins, J. C., Smith, A. M., & O'Brien, J. (2015). Can anthropomorphism help save the Leadbeater's Possum? Journal of the International Zoo Educators Association, 51, 22 – 25.

Verbos, R. I., Brownlee, M. T. J., & Skibins, J. C. (2015). Understanding visitors' commitment to grizzly bear conservation at Denali National Park and Preserve. Alaska Park Science, 14(1), 60 - 69.

Skibins, J. C. (2015). Ambassadors or attractions? Disentangling the role of flagship species in wildlife tourism. In K. Markwell (Ed.), Birds, beasts, and tourists: Animal-Human relations in tourism, 256 - 273. Bristol: Channel View Publications

Students & Staff

Danielle Dagan - Master's student PMC
Ashely Kelly - Master's student PMC
Paul Waters - Master's student PMC


PMC 201 - Introduction to Outdoor Recreation

PMC 620 - Park Planning & Design

PMC 710 - Natural Resource Based Tourism