Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Robert B Powell, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Jeff C Hallo

Committee Member

Barry A Garst

Abstract

Environmental education (EE) targets specific positive outcomes such as environmental literacy, positive youth development, and 21st century skill among others. However, there is no isolated research on the contribution of nature on EE outcomes, or how the specific characteristics of the nature experience during an EE field trip enhance these outcomes. Data collected from 334 specific EE field trip programs for 5-8th grade students, using both quantitative and qualitative research tools, were used to analyze the impact of the natural setting on positive learning outcomes. Certain attributes of the natural setting, including novelty, beauty, and naturalness, as well as means of utilizing the setting through place-based education, immersion, and time spent inside vs. outside, are suggested to positively impact people’s experiences with nature. This purpose of this study is to isolate the attributes of the natural setting to observe how they influence outcomes and observe how the utilization of the natural setting influences outcomes.

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