Two related exploratory studies, one with families, and a second one with adult and child members of an independent school community, suggest that our connections with the rhythms, processes, species, and cycles of nature, our love and feelings of affinity for nature, can be strengthened by practicing contemplation outdoors. In The Family Nature Workshop Study, urban and suburban families participated in a seven-week Contemplation in Nature program, and in The Sit Spot Study, children and adult members from an urban school community practiced sitting quietly outdoors, recording observations in a journal twice a week for five weeks. Changes in connectedness were measured using the Inclusion of Nature in Self Scale (Schultz, 2001), the Ten-item Connectedness to Nature Scale (C. Frantz, email communication, January 11, 2012), the Child and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (Greco, Baer & Smith, 2011), and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (Brown & Ryan, 2003). Analysis of journal entries provided additional insight into the participants' experiences of self, experiences of the world outside of self, experiences of the self in relationship with other community members, and expressions of Biophilia Values (Kellert & Wilson, 1993). The journals reveal a picture of nature found in suburban and urban landscapes as it was perceived and experienced by the humans in the environment, people who were willing to take time out of busy schedules to pause, sit, listen, and learn. The journals thereby open a window through which we can view the everyday and extraordinary experiences of being a human in and as part of nature.
|Commitee:||Fleischner, Thomas L., Shorb, Terril, Stupski, Karen|
|Department:||Education / Sustainability Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Environmental education, Sustainability|
|Keywords:||Affinity, Biophilia, Connection to nature, Contemplative practices, Education, Nature|
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