Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Robert Powell

Committee Member

Dr. Marc Stern

Committee Member

Dr. Aby Sène-Harper

Committee Member

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.



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