Dr. Melson’s consulting work focuses on program development, evaluation, and dissemination in the areas of:
*Enriching children’s lives through responsible engagement with animals and nature.
*Building skills in children through targeted interventions involving animals and nature. Specific skills include: humane attitudes and behaviors; empathy and social skills; nurturing and appropriate caregiving; resilience in the face of stress; biological understanding; ecological sensitivity and responsibility.
*Helping children with special needs achieve developmental goals through engagement with animals and nature.
*Harnessing new technologies that connect children to animals and nature. Specific technologies include robotic pets; virtual pets; virtual gardens and media depictions of nature.
*Developing strategies to document human-animal interaction programs and to demonstrate their effectiveness through a variety of research approaches.
*Disseminating evidence-based research on child development in the context of animals and nature.
*Securing funding for evidence-based program development in the field of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI).
*Developing and implementing best practices for children in human-animal interaction programs.