About Tara

Dr. Teel's work focuses on improving conservation decision-making through understanding human thought and behavior and through building social science capacity among conservation professionals. Much of her research has been devoted to examining human-wildlife relationships in the U.S. and globally, with a particular focus on employing concepts and methodologies from social psychology to study human values toward wildlife, attitudes toward wildlife-related issues, and the social factors underlying human-wildlife conflict. She works closely with conservation agencies and organizations in the application of social science to inform their planning, management, and communication efforts. Dr. Teel teaches courses at CSU in human-wildlife conflict, theory in human dimensions of natural resources, and social science research methods and statistics. Additionally, she has organized a number of social science trainings for practitioners, including a human dimensions certification program for wildlife professionals in North America, social science short courses for 2007-2013 SCB annual meetings, and a training program emphasizing best practices in protected area management and conservation social science for forest service officers in India.



  • Research interests include: applications of social science theory and methods, with a focus on contributions from social psychology, to natural resource conservation and management issues; human dimensions of wildlife; human-wildlife conflicts; values, attitudes, and behaviors; and communication, with an emphasis on attitude-behavior change theory in psychology.


PhD, Human Dimensions in Natural Resources (emphasis in social psychology) - Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO, 2004

MS, Fisheries & Wildlife Management - Utah State University
Logan, UT, 1999

BS, Fisheries & Wildlife Management - Utah State University
Logan, UT, 1997

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • Denver Regional Council of Governments Award recipient for the project entitled “Understanding the Multi-Dimensional Nature of Human-Coyote Conflict in Urban Areas”, 2012
  • President of the Social Science Working Group of the Society for Conservation Biology (elected position), 2009-2014


  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources (2001-Present)
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration (2006-Present)
  • The Wildlife Society (1997-Present)
  • Society for Conservation Biology (2006-Present)
  • IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, Working Group on Certification to inform protected area capacity development (2013-Present)
  • Psychology Representative, Elected to the Board of the Social Science Working Group, Society for Conservation Biology (2007-Present)