Tracking the environment in Australian children’s literature: the Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards 1955-2014

Tracking the environment in Australian children’s literature: the Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards 1955-2014

  • New EER Article Alert

Yeyoung May Babb, Janine McBurnie & Kelly K. Miller

Pages: 1-15 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1326020


Popular and accessible before television and the internet, picture books capture the context of the time they were created and influence the generations of children who consume them. Depictions of the natural world have changed across several generations of picture books as seen in illustrations of all 249 books of an influential collection, the Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards shortlists from 1955 to 2014. This study found that natural environments became proportionally less present in picture books over time while depictions of built environments increased. The presence of wild animals and native Australian animals also decreased over time. Sustainability themes and more realistic depictions of wild animals and biodiversity increased over time which reflects a growing ecological or environmental awareness, and diversification of environmental themes in recent picture books of this prominent Collection.

Keywords: Children’s Book Council of Australia, biodiversity, children’s literature, environmental sustainability, picture books



Exclusory and transformative dimensions of adult environmental education in two Brazilian protected areas

Exclusory and transformative dimensions of adult environmental education in two Brazilian protected areas

  • paper in current issue

Mayla Willik Valenti, Haydée Torres de Oliveira & Amadeu José Montagnini Logarezzi

Pages: 675-686 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1077503


This study addresses the limitations and potential for the development of an adult environmental education program in two protected areas in Brazil. The investigation was based on critical communicative methodology and involved 25 people variously related to puma conservation and environmental education. We found that the staff of protected areas had difficulties interacting with the local community. The main cited obstacle was the lack of infrastructure and staff, but partnerships with scientists and other institutions might help to overcome this limitation. As we identified a great diversity of potential audience, a dialogical process would be necessary to collectively identify community demands and seek solutions. Moreover, an adult environmental education program must consider the characteristics of adulthood and should promote diverse types of activities. In conclusion, we suggest that dialogical learning and critical communicative methodology can contribute to the development of the adult environmental education.

Keywords: biodiversity, community participation, dialogical learning, top predator conservation, Puma concolor


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 relationship of childhood upbringing and university degree program to environmental identity: experience in nature matters

The relationship of childhood upbringing and university degree program to environmental identity: experience in nature matters
– new EER Article Alert
Anne-Caroline Prévot, Susan Clayton & Raphael Mathevet
Pages: 1-17 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1249456
Education has been proposed as an important way to increase environmental concern. Beyond providing information, education could also encourage a stable sense of oneself as connected to the natural world, or environmental identity (EID), which is a predictor of environmental concern and behavior. This study explored the relative roles of environmental education at university and previous personal characteristics on the level of individual EID. Results from a questionnaire distributed to 919 French students in different academic curricula (ecology, other sciences and political sciences) showed significant difference in levels of EID for students in ecology compared to others, but also that EID was strongly influenced by personal experiences of nature and social context regarding conservation. These results suggest that academic curriculum is more a result than a cause for high environmental identity. We discuss the results in terms of education and access to nature for children and young people.
Keywords: University curriculum, environmental identity, conservation of biodiversity, environmental concern

Children in nature: sensory engagement and the experience of biodiversity

Children in nature: sensory engagement and the experience of biodiversity
– New EER Article Alert
Thomas Beery & Kari Anne Jørgensen
Pages: 1-13 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1250149

Given concerns for a severely diminished childhood experience of nature, coupled with alarm for a rapidly diminishing global biodiversity, this article considers the potential for childhood nature experience to be an important part of biodiversity understanding. Findings from two studies are integrated and presented as windows into childhood nature experience to illuminate important aspects of sensory rich learning. In one study from Sweden, semi-structured interviews with adults were conducted and analyzed to explore an understanding of the sensory experience of childhood collecting in nature via participant memories. In the second study, direct observations of children’s play and exploration in an outdoor kindergarten in Norway were conducted and analyzed. Bringing these two studies together for shared analysis is useful for investigating biodiversity experience and understanding. Analysis supports the idea that the experience of biodiversity, actual childhood interaction with variation and diversity with living and nonliving items from nature allows children important learning opportunities, inclusive of biodiversity understanding. The results support practical implications for sensory rich environmental education and underscores the practical importance of childhood access to nature.
Keywords: Biodiversity understanding, embodied experience, experience of nature, extinction of experience, sensory experience