2014 journal article

Role of Significant Life Experiences in Building Environmental Knowledge and Behavior Among Middle School Students


By: K. Stevenson n, M. Peterson n, S. Carrier n, R. Strnad n, H. Bondell n, T. Kirby-Hathaway*, S. Moore n

author keywords: children and nature; environmental behavior; environmental literacy; outdoor education; technology
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 6, 2018

Significant life experience research suggests that the presence of role models, time outdoors, and nature-related media foster pro-environmental behavior, but most research is qualitative. Based on a random sample of middle school students in North Carolina, USA, we found limited positive associations between presence of a role model and time outdoors with behavior and a negative association between watching nature television and environmental knowledge. The strongest predictors of environmental knowledge and behavior were student/teacher ratio and county income levels, respectively. We also found that Native Americans engaged in environmental behaviors more than Caucasians, and that African American and Hispanic students had lower levels of environmental knowledge. Accordingly, life experiences appear less important than promoting small class sizes and addressing challenges associated with lower incomes in schools.