Valuing environmental education as a cultural ecosystem service at Hudson River Park
Porter Hoagland and
Ecosystem Services, 2018, vol. 31, issue PC, 387-394
The Hudson River and its estuary is once again an ecologically, economically, and culturally functional component of New York Cityâ€™s natural environment. The estuary's cultural significance may derive largely from environmental education, including marine science programs for the public. These programs are understood as â€œculturalâ€ ecosystem services but are rarely evaluated in economic terms. We estimated the economic value of the Hudson River Parkâ€™s environmental education programs. We compiled data on visits by schools and summer camps from 32 New York City school districts to the Park during the years 2014 and 2015. A â€œtravel costâ€ approach was adapted from the field of environmental economics to estimate the value of education in this context. A smallâ€”but conservativeâ€”estimate of the Parkâ€™s annual education program benefits ranged between $7500 and 25,500, implying an average capitalized value on the order of $0.6 million. Importantly, organizations in districts with high proportions of minority students or English language learners were found to be more likely to participate in the Parkâ€™s programs. The results provide an optimistic view of the benefits of environmental education focused on urban estuaries, through which a growing understanding of ecological systems could lead to future environmental improvements.
Keywords: Ecosystem services; Environmental education; Hudson River; Economic benefits; Travel cost method; Urban (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:31:y:2018:i:pc:p:387-394
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