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Faculty and Staff » Mark Fly

Dr. Mark Fly, Professor &
Human Dimensions Research Lab Director

Dr. Mark Fly is the coordinator of the Wildland Recreation Concentration (B.S. in Forestry) and directs the Human Dimensions Research Lab which he founded in 1992. His appointment in the Institute of Agriculture is 50% teaching in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and 50% research in the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Fly is an Environmental Psychologist who specializes in the interrelationship between people and nature.

Dr. Fly is a native of Maury County near Fly, Tennessee where his family has farmed for 215 years.  He received B.S. and M.A. degrees in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. After teaching psychology at the junior college level for four years, he entered the graduate program at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan where he received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1981 and 1986 in Environmental Psychology, Recreation Behavior and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. Dr. Fly received his survey research training from the University of Michigan's Survey research Center at the Institute for Social Research.

Dr. Fly teaches an introductory course in Wildland Recreation, an advanced course in Wildland Recreation Management and Planning, and Coordinates the Wildland Recreation Internship Program. He also co-teaches the "People and Forests" and “Human Dimensions of Wildlife and Fisheries Science” courses with Dr. David Ostermeier as part of the fall block curriculum for senior level students in forestry and wildlife. He currently advises over 20 undergraduates in wildland recreation, and has one Ph.D. student and two M.S. students.  He has served on numerous graduate committees and received the Neal and Tacie Peacock Teaching Award for innovative teaching activities. He also teaches a graduate course on Teaching Methods in Natural Resources.
Dr. Fly directs the Human Dimensions Research Lab which uses social science research methods, such as surveys, focus groups, and personal interviews to address issues and opportunities associated with agriculture, natural resources, and the environment in Tennessee, the region, and nationally. The Lab employs two full-time research staff and typically three supervisors and approximately 25 undergraduate students. Research projects conducted by the Lab have been funded by USDA-CREES, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Forestry Association, the Tennessee Nature Conservancy and many others. Dr. Fly has authored or co-authored numerous technical publications and journal articles as well as presented research findings at professional meetings associated with forestry, wildlife, fisheries, and recreation at the state, regional, and national levels.

The main thrust of his research is on the use and management of natural resources on private land and recreation behavior. A new focus area of research is on children and nature, which is tied to the growing national concern about children’s health and lack of time outdoors in nature, particularly in unstructured play.

Dr. Fly is on the executive committee of Tennessee’s Every Child Outdoors Coalition and the committee developing Tennessee’s Environmental Literacy Plan. He is currently involved with helping Tennessee State Parks and Henry County to develop an ECO (Every Child Outdoor) Center at Paris Landing State Park. He is currently writing a book Children in Nature: The Emergence of a Threatened and Endangered Species. More information about these efforts and other work can be found on his personal website

Dr. Fly is a member of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources, the Society of American Foresters, and the Tennessee Recreation and Park Association. Mark has served on numerous Departmental, College and University committees including Scholarships, Curriculum, Internship, the Teaching Council, and the Faculty Senate.  He enjoys nature photography, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, and writing poetry.

Border Photo

Contact Information

Mark Fly
239 Plant Biotechnology Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-4522
Phone: (865) 974-7979