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University of Surrey, UK

Christy Hehir web

I am an environmental psychologist and conservationist, passionate about the relationship between humans and the natural world. I joined the University of Surrey as a PhD Researcher and ESRC Scholar in October 2016, and have since taken on a Teaching Fellow role within the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

My environmental interest was ignited when I travelled to Antarctica with Students on Ice, having been elected as the UK’s student representative of International Polar Years in 2007-2008. I then joined the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) on a research expedition to Svalbard in 2011. Such experiences led to my award winning Master’s thesis, The future of Antarctica: Is tourism an ally or an enemy? The publication of my first book, Arctic Reflections: Moment of Inspiration, a Lifetime of Action (Tomac., Hehir. 2013) and now my PhD.

My environmental psychology based PhD research collaborates with leading tour operators and international wildlife charities to measure the actual value travelling has for conservation. Outcomes of this research identify the types of experiences/activities that add value and engage tourists to emotionally connect with the environments they visit, and pinpoint triggers in travel that inspire philanthropic donations both onsite and subsequently.

Research projects / interests:

  • (Re)connection to Nature
  • Polar Tourism
  • Conservation Psychology
  • Pro-environmental behaviours of tourists

For publications visit: Christy's university page

To get in touch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Areas of interest:

  • Tourism
  • Environmental Management
  • Polar Policy
  • Human Geography
  • Environment
  • Values


Environmental Psychology; Connectedness to Nature; Behaviour Change; Last-chance Tourism; Travel within the Polar Regions; Tourists as Ambassadors; Wildlife Tourism