Outcomes and Transference of Wilderness-Based Environmental Education

Our EE grad students have done some fabulous work preparing for the Southern Oregon Arts and Research (SOAR) conference, happening on the Ashland SOU campus on May 14th-18th. Check out the schedule of events here: http://www.sou.edu/soar/

We will be presenting in the “Trends of EE” symposium, as well as showcasing research through posters. You’ve already seen a preview of some of our research in this post on inquiry (https://seecing.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/inquiry-letting-kids-wonder/). Here is another preview of some research.

The primary objective of environmental education is to develop environmentally responsible citizens. As a common venue for the implementation of this pursuit, wilderness-based environmental education offers extensive and unique exposure to the backcountry field opportunities. A review of the primary literature offers insights for improving the transference of environmental learning objectives to the front-country lives of students. This analysis incorporates the findings of researchers in the fields of environmental education, experiential education, adventure/outdoor education, and sustainability education.  The literature offers instruction to better equip wilderness-field instructors for back-country curriculum design and implementation that will improve students’ long range environmentally responsible behavior. The authors reviewed here call upon the wilderness-based environmental educator to improve transference of pro-environmental action by deconstructing the civilization-nature dichotomy; discussing long term intentions for environmental action; helping students to feel empowered to take action on environmental issues; allowing for free-choice learning to improve emotional attachment to nature; and, by improving the quality and relevance of ecological systems and environmental issues lessons—necessarily requiring that instructors have a strong understanding in these fields.


So come on out to SOAR, and learn more about “Trends in EE”! Contact Brennan McGinnis through seec@sou.edu for his annotated bibliography.


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