Effects of the University of Georgia’s Outdoor Adventure Activities Class on Students’ Environmental Stewardship and Confidence within the Great Outdoors

Robyn Elise Albritton

Abstract


There is current concern that the younger generations of people in America have become, and are becoming, more disconnected and less exposed to natural resources in the great outdoors. This detachment from the natural world has resulted in the term ‘nature deficit disorder’ being used to describe this phenomenon (Louv, 2005). To help address this issue of nature deficit disorder, many school and summer programs have been developed to help reconnect and expose children to nature. However, while many school and summer programs have been shown to have a positive impact on children’s environmental stewardship and confidence levels within the great outdoors, limited research has been conducted on university programs aimed at achieving the same goals. Hence, this exploratory study examined the effects of participation in the University of Georgia’s Outdoor Adventure Activities Class (PEDB 1090) on participant’s environmental stewardship and confidence levels within the great outdoors. A pre-post-test survey structure was used on the treatment group, which consisted of individuals who were participants in the class, and the control group, who were interested in the class but unable to join, in order to determine whether or not participating in the class altered environmental stewardship and confidence levels. In addition, reliability and validity tests were conducted on the survey instrument that was adapted from the New Environmental Paradigm scale to determine any altered levels of environmental stewardship or confidence. Overall, results suggested participation in the class did not have an effect on students’ environmental stewardship, but did have a positive effect on students’ levels of confidence within the great outdoors

Keywords


outdoor ecreation; environmental stewardship; personal confidence

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