Current science education standards mandate the inclusion of inquiry within curricula. However, existing research fails to address the correlation between the teaching of inquiry and the learning of inquiry skills. A unique opportunity presents itself at the Catamount Center where undergraduate students work with small groups of 5th grade students to facilitate a 4-week “Inquiry Unit.” This paper adapts and applies an existing theory by Ruiz-Primo (2010) to introduce a methodology that assesses the presence and quality of conclusion components in 5th grade inquiry papers. As a result of this research, several hypotheses have been generated regarding the successful implementation of the Inquiry Unit at the Catamount Center.
Can environmental education and environmental interpretation inspire a sense of place through education and interpretation specifically designed to help one understand the Pikes Peak landscape? Can the concept of sense of provide a pathway to stewardship? I believe that the answer to both of these questions is yes. My project focuses on Barr Trail (BT), the most common route to the summit of Pikes Peak. I have produced an interpretive guide to BT that incorporates theories from sense of place studies, environmental education, and environmental interpretation as a means to create connection and enhance stewardship. Personal experience with trail users over an eight year period has lead me to theorize that stewardship arises from connection to place; that connection is built on understanding within one’s own framework of experience and mindset; and that understanding requires awareness. Engaging trail users in the landscape of Pikes Peak can help create awareness of the landscape and the interconnected systems of human and non-human nature that make it a specific place. Combining the concept of experiential learning from environmental education with interpretation of the landscape can help inspire a sense of place. Gaining a sense of place in the Pikes Peak landscape can lead to better stewardship of BT.
This study examines the similarities and differences in environmental values and attitudes between Chinese and US college students and predicts their correlation with one’s intention to take environmental actions. Quantitative findings suggest that the majority of participants in both groups share a similar level of environmental knowledge and converged environmental attitudes except for their perception of nature. Qualitative findings, however, reveal that the perception of environmental problems and structure environmental attitudes differ greatly between these two groups of participants insofar their similar levels of environmental concerns. Contextual factors between these two cultures are also explored to evaluate their enabling or constraining effects on environmental behaviors. This study represents a substantial step in building a better understanding of the interplay between social and cultural practices and environmental attitudes. It also has great implication for promoting the efficiency of the practice of environmental education at an international level.
This study provides preliminary qualitative groundwork for a five-year program evaluation by documenting participant-reported experiences in “Latino Family Camps/Campamentos Familiares.” Interviews with 12 members of five families who were camp participants were conducted in focus groups or individually, and coded for major themes using NVivo. Three major themes, or hypotheses, emerged from interview data. First, interviewees viewed nature as a medium for human connection. Second, interviewees reported that environmental appreciation and human-nature connection have diverse sources, including through family traditions in nature. Third, interviewees reported diverse barriers to nature that can be overcome through the Latino Family Camp program. Other notable findings were not major themes, but deserve mention: interviewees did not associate barriers to nature engagement with their ethnic identities, and no participants specifically identified practices of the camp as “inclusive” or “designed specifically for Latino communities.” Additionally, all participants reported that they enjoyed the camps and wanted to return. Positive participant responses suggest that the Latino Family Camps succeed in their goal to empower families to experience nature. However, families’ continued participation in multiple-family camps urges study of the specific benefits of community nature engagement. Program facilitators may also consider their reasoning for explicating inclusive practices for certain audiences and may include an explicit conversation with participants about historical exclusion from green spaces, diverse connections to nature, and the familial and community benefits of nature experiences.