Senior Extension Associate and Assistant Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Tidball conducts integrated research, extension, and outreach activities in the area of ecological dimensions of human security. The overarching theme of his work is better understanding how to amplify recruitment of citizen conservationists and resulting development and proliferation of a 21st century land ethic. This conservation ethic often emerges in places and time periods characterized by violence, conflict, disaster or war. Thus, his work often occurs in "hot spots" or "red zones" and includes vulnerability assessment, resilience analysis, risk management and adaptation strategies within social-ecological systems, as well as cultural systems analysis within these contexts.
Tidball's work is focused on the interactions between humans and the rest of nature in the aftermath of disturbances such as natural disasters and war. He is particularly interested in how these interactions relate to social-ecological system resilience, or in other words, how humans and their interactions with nature are related to a system's ability to bounce back after being disturbed.
Tidball approaches this work through integration of anthropology and ecology and draws heavily from fields such as environmental psychology and philosophy, ecological anthropology, social-ecological systems resilience theory, and international relations theory. Sub-disciplines and areas of interest include Community Forestry, Community-Based Natural Resource Management, Ecological Engineering, Cultural Anthropology and Symbolism, Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management, and SSTR (Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction). Emerging areas of inquiry and practice are (1) outdoor recreation activities as therapeutic for combat-wounded veterans, leading to increased conservation attitudes and behaviors, and (2) recruitment of citizen conservationists via combinations of sustainable food cultures, hunters and anglers.
Outreach and Extension Focus
Dr. Tidball is a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Natural Resources, and Assistant Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension for Natural Resources and Environment. Within this portfolio, he leads a focal area on Veterans, Military Families, and Disaster Education. He coordinates a suite of projects dealing with veterans and military families, and also serves as the Program Leader of the New York State Extension Disaster Education Network.
Dr. Tidball’s integrated research and extension work focus on better understanding how to amplify recruitment of citizen conservationists and the development of a 21st century land ethic. He has focused specifically on three related domains, areas that he believes yield particularly rich and important insights into what might constitute portals or entry-points for citizens of the 21st century into developing a land ethic and engaging in civic ecology practices. The first deals with how societies and individuals use nature and outdoor recreation to recover from traumatic large scale events such as major disasters or war. This work includes in-depth studies of veterans and their use of outdoor recreation (particularly hunting and fishing) to heal and reintegrate into peaceful society, studies of environmental activism after large disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy or the recent triple disasters in Japan, and studies of post-conflict greening, among others.
The second domain encompasses theoretical and applied research akin to fields such as environmental philosophy and environmental psychology, and interrogates the human-nature dichotomy prevalent in western thought, motivations and mechanisms at work among individuals and social groups in peopled landscapes that engage in conservation activities, and how memories, meanings, and symbols influence the development and expression of conservation behaviors and a land ethic.
The third domain explores fundamental questions about human nature and human development from the standpoint of the most basic activities of all omnivores, acquiring protein. This domain is concerned with how people of the 21st century may be developing a new “portal” into the land ethic and conservation behaviors via extending the locavore movement to hunting, fishing and the preparation and consumption of wild-caught fish and game. This “coming full circle” is a key object of study and outreach focus in Tidball’s work in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University
- Tidball, K. G. (2016). Traps in and of Our Minds: Relationships between Human Logic, Dialectical Traps and Social-Ecological Traps. Sustainability Science. 11:867-876.
- Tidball, K. G., & Stedman, R. C. (2013). Positive Dependency and Virtuous Cycles: From Resource Dependence to Resilience in Urban Social-Ecological Systems. Ecological Economics. 86:292-299.
- Tidball, K. G. (2012). Urgent Biophilia: Human-Nature Interactions and Biological Attractions in Disaster Resilience. E&S: Ecology and Society. 17:Art. 5.
- Tidball, K. G. (2015). Hunting and the Return of the Warrior: Therapeutic Possibilities for the Chase. This Land Is Your Land: Toward a Better Understanding of Nature's Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and their Families Sagamore Publishing, Urbana, IL.
- Krasny, M. E., & Tidball, K. G. (2015). Civic Ecology: Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up. p. 293 MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
- Oswald-Spring, U., Brauch, H. G., & Tidball, K. G. (2014). Expanding Peace Ecology: Peace, Security, Sustainability, Equity and Gender. Springer.
- Tidball, K. G., & Krasny, M. E. (2014). Greening in the Red Zone:. p. 503 Disaster, Resilience, and Community Greening Keith G. Tidball & Marianne E. Krasny (ed.), Springer, Netherlands.
- Tidball, K. G. (2015). Terrorist Threats to Food and Water Supplies. p. 1375-1376 The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues Ken Albala (ed.), SAGE Publications, Los Angeles, CA.
Presentations and Activities
- Returning Warriors: Using Outdoor Recreation for Restoration & Resilience. eXtension MFLN Learn Event. December 2015. Military Families Learning Network. online webinar.
- Greening in the Red Zone. Mann Library "Chats in the Stacks". September 2014. Mann Library. Cornell University.
- Vulnerability Assessments and Rapid Warning System Enhancements in Flood Prone Upstate NY Rivers. Climate Change and Extreme Weather in NYS and its Impact on Inland and Coastal Flooding. May 2014. University at Albany. Albany NY.
Awards & Honors
- Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (alt) (2018) US Department of Interior
- Program Excellence Through Research (2016) National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
- Certificate of Appreciation (2015) Republic of the Philippines Dept. of Agriculture ATI
- Certificate of Appreciation (2015) United States Department of Agriculture
Tidball is occasionally called upon to teach or assist in teaching courses with an urban ecology, disaster or post-conflict, or related component. Recent examples have included:
- Natural Resources 694 “Trans-disciplinary Approaches to Environmental Challenges.” Fall 2008. With Dr. E. Mills & Dr. R. Stedman.
- Natural Resources 494/694 “Urban Environments/Alternative Spring Break NYC.” Spring 2008.
- City and Regional Planning 384/584 “Green Cities.” With Elan Shapiro, Fall 2007.
- Natural Resources 490: “Urban Environments/Alternative Spring Break NYC.” Spring 2007.
- Natural Resources 496: “Urban Environments/ Alternative Spring Break NYC.” Spring 2006.
- Natural Resources 496: “Urban Environments/ Alternative Spring Break NYC.” With Dr. M. Krasny, Spring 2005.
- Natural Resources 699: “Science Education for Civic Participation.” Team-taught with Dr. M. Krasny and Tania Schusler, Fall 2005.
Ithaca, NY 14853
kgtidball [at] cornell.edu
Keith in the news
- Cornell Atkinson
- Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Natural Resources and the Environment
- Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Natural Resources and the Environment