Neighbors yet strangers: Local people's awareness of cypress creek National Wildlife Refuge, Southern Illinois, USA

Jean C. Mangun, Chandra A. Degia, Mae A. Davenport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Knowledge and perception of federal land-use decisions and policies among residents of poor rural areas in the United States have received little attention in the literature. The purpose of this study was to examine awareness of Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge and its programs as reported by the surrounding public in rural southern Illinois. A snowball or referral chain sampling technique was used to gain access to minority and low-income segments of a diverse rural population. Study findings reveal that race and distance of residence from the refuge mattered in southern Illinois residents' awareness of the refuge. Lack of broad-based awareness and program attendance were assessed in terms of distributive and procedural equity. Comprehensive and sustained efforts at more effective communication with all local residents, particularly minority residents, will be necessary to achieve the goal of environmental justice in planning and delivery of future refuge programs and services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-307
Number of pages13
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
located in the southern tip of Illinois, 644 km south of Chicago. A diverse flora and fauna is supported by the convergence of four physiographic zones: Illinois Ozarks, the Shawnee Hills, the Upper Gulf coastal plains, and the Mississippi alluvial basin (Duram et al. 2004). The Cache River Wetlands ecosystem has been designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar 2005) because of critical waterfowl breeding habitat and diverse, migratory assemblages of waterfowl and shorebirds. Preservation and restoration efforts for the Cache River Wetlands complex as a whole are managed by a Joint Venture Partnership that includes the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, and the USFWS.


  • Environmental justice
  • Local residents
  • Protected areas
  • Rural
  • Wildlife refuge


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