Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Environmental Studies

Thesis Advisor

Richard Beal

Keywords

Baltimore Woods Nature Center, Environmental education, Environmental literacy

Abstract

Baltimore Woods Nature Center’s Nature in the City school programs provides K-6 students in the Syracuse City School District with hands-on learning experiences that connect them with their environment. To improve the quality of Baltimore Woods Nature Center’s Nature in the City (NITC) program, as well as assess changes in 5th grade students’ environmental literacy, assessments were conducted in all participating schools. Assessments were given before and after NITC programs in each 5th grade classroom. Pre- and post-assessments scores were calculated for each student, and these scores were used to compute statistics for individual schools and the overall district. Paired t-tests were run at a 95% level of confidence (α = 0.05). Following data analysis it was found that the overall participating students showed a significant increase from pre- to post-scores (percent change of 46.3%). Ten out the 12 schools in this report showed an individual significant increase. Results from Delaware and Porter suggest there is room for improvement in the program. When asked, “will you change your habits to save energy in your daily life,” and “do you your actions impact the environment,” the initial response was positive with >40% answering “yes,” or “I already do.” This positive response increased by a small margin of 1 and 3% from pre- to post-scores. The overall findings of this report show that the Nature in the City program is effective at increasing participants’ environmental literacy. This positive change in opinions about the environment, and the significant increase of scientific knowledge, will equip students who participated in the NITC program with the tools they will need to make environmentally conscious decisions and act in its favor. This not only benefits the global environment, but also helps Baltimore Woods Nature Center meet their goal of increasing students’ knowledge and engaging them in hands-on activities.

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