It’s not just for plants: Exploring the Human Dimensions of Eco-Restoration

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Eric Knackmuhs James Farmer

Abstract

Eco-restoration projects can accomplish many environmental goals from cleaning up pollution to trail building or habitat creation. Many natural areas in urban and suburban cities and towns face increasing pressure from development. Eco-restoration projects can be a good way to preserve and enhance community green space and ensure residents have access to recreational and restorative experiences. Several eco-restoration projects are currently being undertaken in Bloomington, IN- from invasive species removal to native woodland restoration. This qualitative pilot study serves as an initial investigation into what kinds of benefits result from student participation in outdoor education via service learning experiences. Interview results showed that participants received social benefits from interacting with other peers, educational benefits by applying classroom content to a real-world context, psychological benefits from doing meaningful work, and developed a strong sense of stewardship they hoped to promote to the community.

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Author Biographies

Eric Knackmuhs, Indiana University

Doctoral StudentDepartment of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies

James Farmer, Indiana University

Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies