Ecological Methods and Disability – A State of the Science Colloquium

Ecological Methods and Disability, the second colloquium in the series “An Ecological View of Disability for an Era of Community Living: Toward a Science of the Environment and Participation” took place in March 2015 and featured presentations from Dr. Wayne Freimund and Dr. Craig Ravesloot.

Archived Webinar Materials

Link to Ecological Methods and Disability video

Link to Ecological Methods and Disability transcript

Overview and Agenda

Dr. Freimund presented research on national park usage, patterns of tourist visitation and crowding. The studies he reported focused on tracking to see where tourists went and when they went there. Surveys tracked the quality of their experience. He provided graphic maps featuring movement patterns that indicated popular park features and peak usage that assist park rangers in management and oversight.

Dr. Ravesloot presented the preliminary results of a research project on Pain and Participation which also tracked the real-time movements of individuals to see how the experience of pain affected participation. Individuals in the study reported experiencing some kind of disability and most reported experiencing pain on a daily basis. As part of the project, participants were asked to rate their pain, where they were and what they were doing when they experienced it. Participant movements were tracked via GPS and these movements were matched with the survey results to determine when pain influenced a person’s decision to continue participating or return home.

As a result of this conversation, participants agreed that it would be an interesting project to combine the sophisticated movement tracking and mapping techniques used by Dr. Freimund with the real-time qualitative techniques used in Dr. Ravesloot’s work as a way of better understanding activity patterns in combination with behavioral decisions.


CraigDr. Ravesloot is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Research Professor of Psychology at the University of Montana where he directs disability and health research for the Rural Institute on Disabilities. Dr. Ravesloot has over 20 years of experience in research, program development and evaluation of services for people with disabilities funded through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Public Health Service (PHS).



Wayne.FreimundDr. Wayne Freimund is a professor in the College of Forestry and Conservation at University of Montana and has served as the Director of the Wilderness Institute and the Chair of the Department of Society and Conservation. Additionally, he has co-led the International Seminar on Protected Area Management since 2000. His current research focuses on the effects of mass transportation on national parks and monitoring visitor perceptions of soundscape resources.


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