This study examined the significant life experiences (SLE) of individuals who had placed conservation easements on private property. Specifically, this study explored how early life experiences may impact one's conservation ethic to effect decisions on land protection. The researchers utilized a sequential embedded mixed methods research design, relying on both qualitative and quantitative data in order to develop an understanding of the phenomenon. All participants for this study were individuals who had placed a conservation easement on her or his property in Indiana. The mixed method analysis indicates that individual and informal experiences in and about the outdoors had the greatest perceived impact and were significantly different than more formalized experiences among the study's participants. The discussion focuses on the impact of informal experiences in the outdoors and the impact on the self-perceived development of conservation ethics as significant life experiences pertaining to conservation behavior and the placing of conservation easements. Implications of this exploratory study are discussed as they pertain to practitioners and scholars alike.
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Vol. 31 • No. 4