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Tania M. Schusler

Assistant Professor of Environmental Sustainability, Loyola University of Chicago

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About Tania

Schusler's research focuses on community participation and stakeholder engagement in environmental management. For example, she investigated how participatory planning can transform conflict towards cooperation in natural resources management. She also has documented the practices of educators engaging youth in local environmental action and the outcomes of these experiences for young people. Her current research examines the intersection of environmental and social justice with an emphasis on building people's capacity to participate in environmental decision-making. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles, peer-edited book chapters, and technical reports in the field of natural resources management and environmental education.

In the News

Opinion: "Education Won't Fix Climate Change — but Campaign Finance Reform Might," Tania M. Schusler, Pacific Standard, April 18, 2017.
Opinion: "Take Nature Back: Local Ecosystem Restoration for All," Tania M. Schusler, Thrive Global, March 18, 2017.


"Environmental Engagement among Latinos: An Exploratory Study of Environmentalists in the Greater Chicago Area" (with Sarah M. Naiman and Jonathan P. Schuldt). Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 9, no. 1 (2018): 109-121.

Seeks to understand motivators and barriers to Latinos' environmental engagement through semi-structured interviews with Latinos participating in environmental projects and organizations in the greater Chicago area. Describes four key themes that emerged from the interview data: meanings of terminology, experiences as Latinos in the environmental movement, barriers to Latino participation, and opportunities to increase Latino involvement. Discusses outreach strategies —including reframing environmental messaging around core terms and dismantling structural barriers to participation— that environmental organizations may wish to consider in their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

"Research Note: Examining the Association between Tree Canopy, Parks, and Crime in Chicago" (with Leah Weiss, David Treering, and Earvin Balderama). Landscape and Urban Planning 170 (2018): 309-313.

Finds that a 10% increase in tree canopy is associated with a 10.3% decrease in battery rate and a 11.3% decrease in assault, robbery, and narcotics. Discovers no correlation between percent park acreage and most crime types.

"Positive Youth Development" (with Jacqueline Davis-Manigaulte and Amy Cutter-Mackenzie), in Urban Environmental Education Review, edited by Alex Russ and Marianne Krasny (Cornell University Press, 2017).

Argues that when environmental education enables children and youth to contribute to improving urban environments, it can not only increase cities' sustainability and resilience but also foster young people's personal growth. Finds that participatory action research, peer education, and youth civic engagement are three educational approaches that can lead to positive change for both urban environments and the youth living within them.

"The Autonomy-Authority Duality of Shared Decision-Making in Youth Environmental Action" (with Marianne E. Krasny and Daniel J. Decker). Environmental Education Research 23, no. 4 (2016).

Seeks insights into the adult experience of shared decision-making through phenomenological interviews with 33 educators facilitating youth environmental action in various non-formal and formal settings in the United States.

"Environmental Action as Context for Youth Development" (with Marianne E. Krasny). The Journal of Environmental Education 41, no. 4 (2010): 208-223.

Explores the practices of teachers, non-formal science educators, community organizers, program managers, and other educators facilitating youth environmental actions, as well as the experiences of some of the youth involved. Discovers strong parallels with theory and empirical research in the youth development literature suggesting environmental action is a valuable context for positive youth development.