Understanding long-term impacts is essential to knowing whether an Extension program is achieving its goals. I describe a process for long-term program evaluation, using evaluation of the Utah Master Naturalist Program (UMNP) as a successful example. Surveys revealed that the UMNP had impacts on participants up to 10 years after program completion. The UMNP is achieving its goal of promoting stewardship through fostering a deeper connection to nature, encouraging lifelong learning, increasing stewardship feelings and activities, and providing effective professional development. Further long-term evaluation efforts will focus on quantifying behavior change. Overall, the UMNP evaluation process and results underscore the criticality of conducting long-term evaluation to understand lasting impacts of Extension programs.
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Larese-Casanova, M. (2018). The Importance of Evaluating Long-Term Impacts: Utah Master Naturalist Program as a Case Study. The Journal of Extension, 56(6), Article 8. https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.56.06.08