Graduate Project

Evaluating the Efficacy of Biophilia in K-12 Access Interpretive Programs in California State Parks

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  • The purpose of this capstone is to provide a reassessment of the emergence of biophilia in interpretive programs conducted in California State Parks. More specifically, this project examines what effect natural resource interpretive programming has on the emergence of biophilia practices and if participants are more likely to be more connected with nature following participation in an education program. California State Parks has conducted numerous surveys assessing their interpretive and educational programming; however, none have directly evaluated participant engagement or evaluated change in environmental behavior as a result of an interpretive program. Park education surveys have traditionally reflected a participant’s “liking” and “enjoyment”, rather than directly evaluating change in environmental behavior. Data from California State Parks’ retrospective EE21 survey conducted at park sites between 2021-2023 is used to statistically analyze potential change in environmental behavior pertaining to biophilia. This study provides substantial evidence that interpretive programming creates a change in environmental behavior and supports the initial hypothesis that program participants are more likely to develop a stronger bond with the natural world. As a result, this project will provide a basis for future research on interpretive and education programs conducted at natural sites.
  • Keywords: Natural Resources, EE21, Environmental Interpretation, Interpretation, Biophilia, Environmental Efficacy, Connectedness with Nature
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