Meet the Coordinator

Interview with Division 6 Deputy Division Coordinator Taylor Stein
From: Division 6 Newsletter, Issue 02, 01-2021

What’s your name and affiliation, and what’s your role in Division 6?

My name is Taylor Stein, and I am a professor of ecotourism and natural resources management in the School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences at the University of Florida in the US. I happily serve as a deputy for IUFRO in a few areas. I am one of three Deputy Coordinators for Division 6, overall, but I also happily serve as Deputy Coordinator for Working Group 6.03, Nature Tourism, where I had previously served as Coordinator.

How and when did you get involved in IUFRO?

In the late 1990’s, as a Ph.D. student, I had the opportunity to take part in a student tour, sponsored by Division 6, which allowed graduate students to learn about the social aspects of forestry in Europe, where we toured Germany, Austria, and Italy. I met outstanding IUFRO leaders, who I am still good friends with. In 2005, I participated in my first IUFRO World Congress in Brisbane, Australia and was subsequently asked to be a Co-Deputy for the Nature Tourism Working Group.

What is the focus of your research and/or teaching?

I am a social scientist who works to best integrate recreation into management of conservation areas. I focus on the benefits recreation and tourism can provide to society and the environment. I do my best to identify how land managers can provide opportunities for people to attain these benefits, while simultaneously conserving and protecting sensitive natural resources.

What are you passionate about?

I strongly believe the world will be a better place as more people have active, beneficial experiences with the natural environment and identifying innovative and sustainable ways to provide recreation access to those areas for diverse audiences is essential. Recreation of natural areas is too often an afterthought in natural resource planning, but I want to make it a priority. When I am not fighting for sustainable recreation and tourism, I focus on my other passions: family, movies, and the Beatles.

How have you dealt with the current pandemic?

I have dealt with the pandemic by going outside. I advocate that experiencing nature provides a wealth of benefits. Now natural areas are some of our safest places for leisure. Although I try to go into nature for fun, I took on a project with many collaborators to measure how people are using our trails during the pandemic. I’ve collected much of the data myself and enjoyed connecting with colleagues I normally would not have worked with.

Do you have some ‘wellbeing tips & tricks’ for your colleagues?

I find that I must remind myself why I got into this profession – to work in forests. However, I find myself tied to the computer and office (or home office lately). My advice is to get outside!