Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook

Second Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Padilla

Third Advisor

Dr. Lucius F. Hallett IV


oak wilt, invasive species, invasive species management, perception, environment

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Oak wilt, a thought-to-be exotic, invasive fungal disease preys upon oak tree species (Quercus sp.) and has begun to cause die-off in oak stands throughout the state of Michigan, with potential for increased cases and subsequent death. Despite efforts to treat the disease, there is no guaranteed treatment for already-infected oak trees. The best option is to control the infection and prevent its spread, by methods such as disconnection of root systems, removal of infected trees, and informed pruning. Given that humans play a role in oak wilt’s artificial spread, it is imperative that the public understands their role in the management of oak wilt. This study’s primary objective was to determine whether or not the general public within Grand Traverse County, Michigan, knows of oak wilt and whether or not they are willing to participate in behaviors that prevent its spread. The study involved a mixed-methods data collection approach, utilizing both Likert-type scale and open-ended questions, acquired through a door-to-door questionnaire. Statistical analyses were used to determine significance differences in understanding of oak wilt and willingness to participate in preventative measures among different demographic categories. Recommendations for state resource agencies and local environmental groups are given with regard to outreach and education efforts.

Included in

Geography Commons