Dr. Mele Wheaton is an interdisciplinary research scholar in the Social Ecology Lab at Stanford University. Her research interests include behavior change, environmental learning, and equity and inclusion in conservation education. Mele currently manages projects including exploring the various pathways to environmental literacy, examining how social sciences are integrated into sustainability research, and connecting research and practice both in education and in conservation land management. Mele has studied environmental behavior change in nature-based tourism, with research sites in Galapagos and California, and examined the development of environmental identity. Prior to academia, Mele taught in a variety of outdoor education settings and worked as a field biologist.

Current Role at Stanford

Research Scholar, Graduate School of Education and Woods Institute for the Environment

Institute Affiliations

Honors & Awards

  • Chancellor’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, University of California, Santa Cruz (2009-2010)
  • Fellowship, Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation (2008)
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, Center for Informal Learning and Schools (2004-2008)

Professional Education

  • BA, University of California, Santa Cruz, Biology Environmental Studies (1996)
  • PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz, Education (Emphasis in Science and Math) (2011)

All Publications

  • Understanding teacher instructional change: the case of integrating NGSS and stewardship in professional development ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION RESEARCH Hayes, K. N., Wheaton, M., Tucker, D. 2019; 25 (1): 115–34
  • Using web and mobile technology to motivate pro-environmental action after a nature-based tourism experience JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM Wheaton, M., Ardoin, N. M., Hunt, C., Schuh, J. S., Kresse, M., Menke, C., Durham, W. 2016; 24 (4): 594-615
  • Post-trip philanthropic intentions of nature-based tourists in Galapagos Journal of Ecotourism Ardoin, N., Wheaton, M., Hunt, C., Schuh, J., Durham, W. 2016; 15 (1): 21-35
  • Nature-based tourism's impact on environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behavior: a review and analysis of the literature and potential future research JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM Ardoin, N. M., Wheaton, M., Bowers, A. W., Hunt, C. A., Durham, W. H. 2015; 23 (6): 838-858
  • Building A Scientific Community: An Inquiry-Based Biology Short Course for the 2009 Hartnell SUMS Program Yuh, P., Wheaton, M., Wright, A., Contreras, L., McCann, S., Hunter, L., Metevier, A. J. ASTRONOMICAL SOC PACIFIC. 2010: 211-+
  • Exploring Middle School Girls' Ideas about Science at a Bilingual Marine Science Camp JOURNAL OF MUSEUM EDUCATION Wheaton, M., Ash, D. 2008; 33 (2): 131-141
  • Talk, tools, and tensions: Observing biological talk over time INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION Ash, D., Crain, R., Brandt, C., Loomis, M., Wheaton, M., Bennett, C. 2007; 29 (12): 1581-1602