Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
Dr. Robert Powell
Dr. Marc Stern
Dr. Aby Sène-Harper
Dr. Brandon Troy Frensley
There is debate regarding whether environmental education (EE) programs should focus exclusively on teaching science or on teaching and encouraging pro-environmental behaviors through civic engagement, advocacy, and action/behavior change (CEAA) techniques. To assess which CEAA techniques EE providers feel are appropriate to utilize in EE programming for youth and the extent to which they utilize them, we designed and distributed a survey to members of several North American EE organizations. Based on the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Guidelines for Excellence (2019) and input from professionals and practitioners, the survey included a list of 32 CEAA techniques. Respondents (N = 261) to the survey were asked to rate each CEAA technique in two ways (1) the level of appropriateness of the technique and (2) how frequently they utilized the technique when teaching their program to students in either grades 4th-5th, 6th-8th, or 9th-12th. The results suggest EE providers prioritize knowledge and enjoyment outcomes for younger audiences and higher cognitive level outcomes (skills, attitudes, and behaviors) for older age groups. The results also suggest that explicit advocacy and behavior change techniques were rated less appropriate and were also utilized less for younger age groups. We also compared the appropriateness and use mean scores of each CEAA technique to determine the “gap” and identify techniques that were deemed highly appropriate but were underutilized. The largest gaps occurred in active civic engagement and advocacy techniques related to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Practical and philosophical implications of these findings are further discussed.
Meier, Erica, "Moving Beyond Scientific Fact-Only Environmental Education in the United States" (2021). All Theses. 3675.