The role of formative outdoor and family experiences on environmental belief formation in children and this role's implications for environmental education Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4m90dx68m

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  • The purpose of this research was to determine the role of formative experiences in the home and family pertaining to environment on children's overall environmental beliefs. Students attending environmentally related and non-environmentally related summer camps at a children's science museum served as test subjects in this study. A written instrument was constructed for determining both environmental belief and level of prior experience with environment in the home. Students filled out the written instrument at the beginning of the first day of a five day camp, at the end of the last day of camp, and six weeks after camp. In addition, select students were invited to participate in personal interviews. All formative experiences chosen for investigation such as talking about the environment with family and spending time outdoors with family were found highly correlated with environmental beliefs and useful in an equation to model environmental beliefs. Students participating to a greater degree in the formative experiences under investigation were shown to have more pro-environmental beliefs in all iterations of the written instrument. However, these formative factors were found only moderately correlated and responsible for change in environmental belief over the period of an environmental education (EE) camp. Students participating in an environmental education camp were found to differ meaningfully in their environmental beliefs from non-participating students after a summer camp program and again six weeks later. However, the changes in environmental belief for environmental education students were not found to statistically increase over the five day period. It is proposed that the EE experience served to stabilize environmental beliefs while the beliefs of non-EE students unexpectedly decreased over the five days. In both the post-test and delayed post-test a measurement of family involvement was found more correlated with environmental belief than any demographic or other factor including whether the student participated in an environmental education camp. Findings are used to inform existing models for understanding the formation of environmental beliefs as well as used to suggest changes in the current state of environmental education. Specific recommendations are given for ways to utilize the family and home as both a target for EE and as a source of EE.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Linda Kathman(linda.kathman@oregonstate.edu) on 2007-09-06T16:01:14Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 Vincent_M_Smith_ocr.pdf: 6971692 bytes, checksum: 4797d7ade0a91672491caebb956c68c8 (MD5)
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