Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Connecting with nature: The effects of organized camp experiences and early-life outdoor experiences on children's environmental consciousness
by Garner, Margaret Ann, M.S., East Carolina University, 2012, 130; 1510502
Abstract (Summary)

This study examined how children aged 9 - 14 years, attending two different residential summer camps, responded to questions related to their connection with nature, environmental stewardship, interest in environmental learning and discovery, and knowledge and awareness of environmental and ecological issues (i.e., environmental consciousness). The study also explored the association of early-life experiences in the outdoors with campers' responses related to their environmental consciousness. Both camps were situated in similar, natural outdoor settings, but only one of the camps (designated as Camp A) engaged the children in intentional environmental education programming. The other camp (designated as Camp B) served as a control group, but also provided a setting for studying the effects of participation in a summer camp in a natural outdoor setting without intentional environmental education programming on the campers' environmental consciousness.

Samples of children attending Camp A and Camp B were surveyed before and after their camp experience to determine any changes in their environmental responses from pre- to post-camp experience. Early-life outdoor experiences, as reported by the children in the pre-camp questionnaires, were analyzed to determine associations between levels of early-life outdoor experiences and environmental response scores on both the pre- and post-camp surveys. Results showed that Camp A children's overall scores increased significantly from pre- to post-camp experience, although the scores were significantly higher on only two of the four indices measured. The scores of Camp B children showed no significant increases, either in the aggregate or on any of the four indices individually, from pre- to post camp experience. Higher levels of early-life outdoor experience were associated with significantly higher scores on environmental scales at both camps both pre- and post-camp.

KEYWORDS: connection with nature, outdoor recreation, environmental education, adventure education, early-life outdoor experience, environmental philosophy

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stevens, Cheryl A.
Commitee: Loomis, David, Shores, Kindal, Taft, Elizabeth D.
School: East Carolina University
Department: Recreation and Park Administration
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental philosophy, Environmental education, Recreation
Keywords: Adventure education, Connection with nature, Early-life outdoor experience, Outdoor recreation
Publication Number: 1510502
ISBN: 978-1-267-33913-3
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