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Chesapeake Bay Agriculture: Using Social Science to Advance Conservation Engagement

Mar 22, 2023 - 3:20 PM
to Mar 22, 2023 - 5:10 PM
Houser Poster

The Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture invites you to join us for:

"Chesapeake Bay Agriculture: Using Social Science to Advance Conservation Engagement"


Dr. Matthew Houser

Zoom Link:

Agriculture is the dominant contributor of nutrients degrading water quality across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Addressing this challenge—I will argue—depends in part on gaining a better understanding of agricultural stakeholders’ decision-making and especially what factors are limiting adoption of conservation practices. Drawing on my work since joining The Nature Conservancy’s Chesapeake Bay Program, I’ll discuss two specific projects as examples of how environmental social science can contribute to a better understanding of barriers to behavioral change in the agricultural sector. Ultimately, I hope this talk suggests the importance of interdisciplinary research approaches to support the practical impact of science, and further that students in attendance gain a better understanding of The Nature Conservancy and the potential for non-academic science career paths in sustainable agriculture.

Matthew Houser is an Applied Social Scientist dually appointed at The Nature Conservancy MD/DC Chapter and The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point Laboratory. Matt earned his MA and a PhD in environmental sociology from Michigan State University. Matt’s research focuses on understanding the barriers farmers face to adopting and effectively using conservation management practices. Since 2017, Matt has published over 20 peer-reviewed papers and received approximately $2.5 million in funding support from sources such as The National Science Foundation, The States of Maryland and Minnesota, and Corteva Agriscience. He is passionate about interdisciplinary research, engaging non-academic audiences, mentorship, and developing meaningful partnerships with agricultural stakeholders. He lives in a fixer-upper on Maryland’s Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay with his wife, two daughters, a timid puppy, and five very bold chickens.


Houser Colloquium poster