Getting to know nature

Getting to know nature: evaluating the effects of the Get to Know Program on children’s connectedness with nature
– paper in the current issue
Volume 23, Issue 1, January 2017, Page 43-62
Coral M. Bruni, Patricia L. Winter, P. Wesley Schultz, Allen M. Omoto & Jennifer J. Tabanico

People in industrialized countries may be losing their connection with nature. The Get to Know Program (Get to Know) is a multi-faceted program aimed at encouraging direct connection with nature through a variety of activities (observations of wildlife, hiking, creative arts, and special events), specifically among youth. Three studies assessed the effects of three Get to Know program activities on youth’s implicit connectedness with nature (measured using a computer based game). Participants were youth recruited from southern California schools or youth organizations. Participation in the Get to Know Program’s Creative Arts Contest was associated with increased implicit connectedness with nature. However, participation in the Get to Know Natural Treasure Adventure and Virtual Hike did not have an effect on connectedness with nature. Implications of these findings are important for agencies seeking to find effective tools for outreach focused on connecting participants with nature.
Keywords: connectedness with nature, implicit association test, environmental program


Start the week with Vol 1 of Environmental Education, and an extract from the first contribution

Start the week with Vol 1 of Environmental Education, and an extract from the first contribution

James Swan ends his (1969) essay for Phi Delta Kappan on ‘the challenge of environmental education’ with:

Environmental education has been offered as a challenge because it is a new and developing educational concept. As yet little research has been devoted to exploring the multitude of ways of involving citizens in environmental problem solving, and even less research has dealt with developing measures to assess environmental attitudes accurately. I hope, however, that educators across the country will realize the need for developing a better informed, more effective citizenry willing to meet the challenge of our degraded environment.

While research is in much better shape to address these shortcomings, Swan started his essay detailing problems in the USA in those times – concerns that, perhaps unsurprisingly, continue to resonate to this day: “No other society in history has been so materially rich and so environmentally degraded” … “a “policy by crisis” pattern” … “many of our environmental problems are actually problems of human behavior rather than problems of technology” … just some of the nuggets from the first page.

Swan’s penultimate paragraph argues environmental education is relevant to the needs and interests – and lives – of citizens as much as students. If you’ve read the article and would like to share your thoughts on it and such themes, either here or on the journal’s blog, please do so – standard netiquette rules apply.

PS Over the coming year, we will be tweeting and sharing extracts from various entries in the Major Works collection for Routledge on environmental education via @eerjournalEnvironmental Education Research.

We encourage you to order a copy for your library should you be interested in using this reference collection for research, reference or teaching needs – further details on the flyer and link:

Saving squawk? Animal and human entanglement at the edge of the lagoon

Saving squawk? Animal and human entanglement at the edge of the lagoon
– paper in current issue
Susanne Gannon
Volume 23, Issue 1, January 2017, Page 91-110

Emerging posthuman paradigms are beginning to influence approaches to educational research and pedagogy, including the ‘common worlds’ investigations of relations among children and wild animals in early childhood settings. This paper turns to child-animal encounters in a secondary school wetlands project to explore some of the implications of posthumanism for environmental education. It explores how singular encounters with wild animals – a swamp hen, a turtle and an eel – became pivot points for young people’ s affective and creative engagement with the site and emerging issues of environmental responsibility, sustainability and urban land and water management. Though initially the neighbourhood lagoon in the middle of a new housing development seemed to be a tenuous, degraded and domesticated wetland, the students and their teachers began an inquiry into the deep interconnectedness of the site with natural waterways, the animals that move through them, and themselves. Open-ended interdisciplinary inquiries enabled students to choose a range of modes of response including a rap song about the ‘rescue’ of a swamp hen, a picture book that documented the passage of eels from the Pacific to the urban wetland and a dance about a dead turtle.
Keywords: secondary, sustainability education, posthuman, Pedagogical encounters

Prof Justin Dillon appointed President of NAEE 


Many congratulations from the journal to Professor Justin Dillon for being appointed the next President of the National Association for Environmental Education (NAEE).

Readers of the journal will know Justin has been with Environmental Education Research since the early days. He maintains a variety of roles, from contributor and erstwhile referee, to longstanding editorial board member. He is currently an associate editor, and in addition to that position during the first half of this year, is acting as joint editor-in-chief while the lead editor is on sabbatical.

Justin’s service to the fields of practice and research are simply immense and far reaching. Three short cuts to this are the recognition he received through the Outstanding Contributions to Research in Environmental Education Award at NAAEE in 2013, the recent publication of his collected works on the convergence of science and environmental education, and as joint editor of the 4 volume reference text, Major Works of Environmental Education.

Unlike some other recent presidential incumbents (like a certain someone in the USA), we have every confidence Justin will not only be able to juggle his ongoing work commitments at University of Bristol and in other places, but most crucially, help champion and advance the field of environmental education in the UK and elsewhere, working with a wide range of practitioners, researchers, policy-makers, and others.

Collaborating and advocating to ensure that a better situation for education, environment and environmental education is sustained during this generation and inherited for ensuing ones is a common goal in this field – rather than their flip sides – so let’s make sure this particular president has the support and critical friends needed to achieve such outcomes …

Congratulations again, Justin.

PS the last president at NAEE was the founding editor of Environmental Education Research, Professor William Scott.

Source: 2017: Prof Justin Dillon appointed President of NAEE | Graduate School of Education | University of Bristol

Help support Thesis Thursdays

Help support Thesis Thursdays

Please visit: to access the new streamlined template.

If you’ve just finished your doctorate researching EE, or know someone who has, or want others in this research community to know about that, this feature of the journal may be the tool for you …

  • Please note, this is not a dissertation abstract recirculation, as with online commercial or institutional thesis databases – fresh writing, reframing and rejigging are expected as per the guidelines and editing expectations. *

How do visitors relate to biodiversity conservation?

How do visitors relate to biodiversity conservation? An analysis of London Zoo’s ‘BUGS’ exhibit
– New EER Article Alert
Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui & Richard Perkins
Pages: 1-14 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1259395

Using a case study of London Zoo’s BUGS (Biodiversity Underpinning Global Survival) exhibit, this article assesses the role of experiential learning in raising biodiversity knowledge, concern and potential pro-conservation actions. Using Personal Meaning Mindmapping, a novel method in visitor research, the study examines how adult visitors relate to biodiversity conservation. Researcher priming, perceived proximity, affection, and responsibility are explored as key factors in understanding biodiversity and conservation. A mixed-method approach involving statistical, discourse and semiotic analysis finds that BUGS enables visitors to value nature by fascinating and entertaining them. However, BUGS falls short of its experiential potential as it does not resonate in visitors’ everyday lives, nor does it enable them to personally contribute to conservation efforts.
Keywords: Personal Meaning Mindmapping, experiential education, biodiversity conservation, visitor studies, zoos

The influence of the family, the school, and the group on the environmental attitudes of European students

The influence of the family, the school, and the group on the environmental attitudes of European students
– paper in the current issue
Rosa Duarte, José-Julián Escario & María-Victoria Sanagustín
Volume 23, Issue 1, January 2017, Page 23-42

The attitudes of young people arise from an intense interaction with their social groups of reference, and in this work we examine the extent to which this background conditions the individual environmental attitudes of the young. Using data provided by the PISA 2006 survey for the European Union, we test for the influence of the family, the characteristics of the school, and the social interactions or school peer group on attitudes toward the environment. The existence of social interactions, as well as the important role of family characteristics and school activities, are confirmed. The results allow us to emphasize the importance of the social context of the adolescent, and the need to take this into account as a channel that amplifies the influence of specific environmental education strategies.
Keywords: peer effects, environmental attitudes, PISA, school