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Ecological literacy in Riley Park : Community accessible lesson plans for elementary school aged children Cao, Shuhong; MacDonald, Kelley; Marohn, Samantha; Zhang, Xianyu 2020-04

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 Shuhong Cao, Kelley MacDonald, Samantha Marohn, Xianyu Zhang   Little Mountain Neighbourhood House ENVR 400 - Winter 2020    Abstract   Situated in Vancouver, BC, Riley Park serves as an educational resource for community members on local ecology, geography, biodiversity, and human history. The park can be used by local community members to develop an understanding of ecosystem biodiversity and showcase the effects of climate change on the natural world. Through educating young community members aged 6-12, this project helps to develop a profound, long-lasting connection to ecological concepts using Riley Park as a familiar example for children. A total of four, 60 minute lesson plans were constructed on the topics of climate change and biodiversity that each consist of discussion, activity, and wrap-up sections. These lesson plans were designed to first be used in the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House 2021 Spring Break Camp with the flexibility to use them beyond this program. By limiting the materials and background knowledge necessary to conduct the lessons, the lesson plans were made to be accessible for as many community members as possible. To enhance the quality of the relationship between young community members and the natural world, research into psychologically and experimentally proven methods of education was conducted to determine the most effective means of constructing educational plans. Four major elements of environmental education were identified as: avoiding eco-anxiety, maintaining a positive perspective on the field of science, ensuring engagement, and incorporating active learning strategies. These were referenced throughout the construction of appropriate learning objectives, lessons, activities, and evaluation techniques. These elements, in conjunction with reference to the BC curriculum guide, strengthened the effectiveness of the plans we established for use in the Riley Park spring break learning program and beyond.          Author Bios   Shuhong Cao has participated in a research program with Jason Ren of Stanford University that was structured similarly to the LMNH project. This experience was extremely useful when developing research-based proposals and reports. He also has education related experience working as a peer tutor in a high school setting. Shuhong’s environmental science specialization is in land, air, and water.   Kelley MacDonald is studying ecology and conservation under environmental science at UBC. She has 3 years of experience working as a summer camp counselor for kids aged 7-15. In this role, she organized and planned activities in an outdoor setting which gave her insight into which types of activities hold kids’ interest. This project gave her space to think creatively about topics such as climate change and sustainability.  Samantha Marohn is an environmental science student with a focus in land, air, and water. She has taken a developmental psychology course which was beneficial when developing learning goals for the project. She has also designed a day’s worth of programs for 7th graders visiting high school, so understands what programs kids respond to. Her administrative experience helped guide the project’s management and organization.  Xianyu Zhang is a land, air, and water focused environmental science student who enjoys biodiversity and ecology related research. She has taken relevant ecology courses that helped guide the team’s understanding of Riley Park’s ecology. She also enjoys reading education and psychology related books, so she has a developed background understanding of education and psychology literature to share with the team. Contents  A. The Organization .............................................................................................. 1 B. Research Objectives ......................................................................................... 3 C. Relevance .......................................................................................................... 4 D. Building the Lesson Plans ................................................................................ 8 E. Results & Discussion ......................................................................................13 F. Implications and Recommendations ..............................................................29 G. Conclusion ......................................................................................................31 H. References ......................................................................................................32 Appendix A . ........................................................................................................... i Appendix B ...................................................................................................... xxxii        1Little Mountain Neighbourhood House. 2Riley Park Community Garden. (n.d.). About Our Garden. 1  A. The Organization a) What is Little Mountain Neighbourhood House? Little Mountain Neighbourhood House (LMNH) is an organization in Vancouver that aims to enhance neighbourhood life by creating opportunities for members to connect with each other and their community1. As an integral part of the community since 1978, LMNH provides programs for children, families, and seniors that integrate the organization’s core community values: diversity, responsiveness, integrity, engagement, accessibility, care, excellence, and empowerment. Their programs range from art therapy and preteen cooking programs to supporting newcomers during their settlement in Canada. They provide educational resources on native plants, water conservation, recipes featuring plants from the community garden, pollinators, geology, and soil. The programs developed by LMNH work to facilitate a sense of empowerment and belonging for a diverse community. b) Riley Park Community Garden One of LMNH’s initiatives is the Little Mountain Riley Park Community Garden, which aims to improve food security, provide information on ecological sustainability, and strengthen community development through participatory education and activities2. As a part of their food distribution program, the Riley Park Community Garden is used to demonstrate sustainable farming practices and share stories and recipes. Food grown in the garden helps to support members and organizations within the community. Above all else, Riley Park Community Garden is a place that fosters community engagement. Through food and ecological literacy events and programs, community members are able to strengthen their understanding of and appreciation for their community while connecting with others.  c) Little Mountain Neighbourhood House’s Spring Break Camp As one of their programs this year, LMNH designed a Spring Break day camp for children aged 6-12 in their community to attend (Figure 1). Families were able to enrol their children in one or both weeks of the camp, as each week had unique programming. The camp consisted of a wide variety of activities set in the community, using the neighbourhood house and Riley Park as settings. Daily programs included outdoor, science-based learning, spa activities, and a game show. The spring break camp was intended to provide children a fun, safe space to interact with their peers in the community.       2 | P a g e     Figure 1. The 2021 Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Spring Break camp flyer (Little Mountain Neighbourhood House, n.d.). 3 | P a g e  d) Our partnership with Little Mountain Neighbourhood House  As part of the Environmental Sciences program at UBC, student groups are paired up with community partners to conduct meaningful work towards projects in their community. Little Mountain Neighbourhood House enlisted our group to fulfil the requirements of their Garden and Nature event during the Spring Break camp (Figure 1). With our background knowledge in earth sciences, ecology, and climate science, we set out to construct four lesson plans based around the Riley Park environment. Each lesson was designed to fit a 60-minute time slot within the Garden and Nature section of the Spring Break program. Our lesson plans were required to include activities and discussion that would highlight features of Riley Park. To begin, we identified three overarching project objectives to center our research on, which are described in the following section. B. Research Objectives We set out to construct four lesson plans with activities, each to fit a 60-minute time slot within the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House’s Spring Break camp program. We identified three overarching objectives to center our research on: a) Objective 1: How can Riley Park be used as a venue for children to develop ecological literacy? Exploring the outdoors, especially familiar areas, through an educational lens is a significant component of introducing children to topics in environmental science. Riley Park is home to a variety of features that have immense value as educational assets for children to begin to develop ecological literacy. These assets first had to be identified and explored in detail before the benefits they provide to educational plans conducted in Riley Park could be fully understood. Once we established the educational opportunities within the park, we combined this insight with features of the BC Curriculum guide to structure effective lesson plans. Incorporating elements of psychologically proven successful environmental education also enhanced the quality of this ecological literacy. b) Objective 2: How can we keep children aged 6-12 engaged during an hour-long lesson plan? Though our lesson plans were intended to be informative, we also aimed to maintain student interest and attention. A balance had to be achieved between conveying important information and maintaining an element of entertainment, especially considering the target audience of the lesson plans was children participating in a Spring Break camp or an extracurricular activity facilitated by parents or guardians. Since the lesson plans were limited to an hour, we aimed to combine discussion, teaching, and activities that successfully reached this balance in this time frame. We reviewed relevant educational literature to establish the best methods of achieving this. 4 | P a g e  c) Objective 3: How can we effectively communicate climate change and biodiversity related topics to children in an outdoor setting in a way that is accessible for a large number of community members? Over the last decade, global warming and biodiversity losses have been increasingly threatening global environmental issues. It is important for early instances of environmental education to involve an awareness of children’s local communities and environments as a first step to understanding the ecological changes that may occur in the future. Because of this significance, our intention was for our lesson plans to reach a large range of children, whether enrolled in the Spring Break camp or not. Though they were primarily designed for use in the Spring Break camp, the lesson plans were constructed with the consideration that parents or guardians could choose to use these lesson plans as individual educational tools for their children. This meant that materials and necessary background information had to be minimized, and clear, detailed instructions had to be included. Including this level of accessibility was important in order to be mindful of all community members, regardless of their socio-economic capabilities. Also, having the ability to conduct these plans individually coincided with precautionary measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and different families’ comfort levels with group events. This is consistent with LMNH’s inclusivity goal: to involve as many community members in their initiatives as possible to maintain a sense of collectiveness. C. Relevance a) Environmental education: Why now? As a community organization, the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House holds an integral role in establishing a sense of collectiveness, safety, and social cohesion. They provide critical opportunities to deepen the bond between community members in both sanguine and uncertain times through the programs they offer. Parallel to their devotion to addressing community-level food insecurity, the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House organization acts as a steward for addressing community-level elements of the climate crisis. This includes providing a psychologically safe space for community members to learn and understand implications of the climate crisis. Programs such as their Spring Break camp provide extensive value to the community as educational opportunities and sources of social cohesion.  Beyond the benefits this program can have on students through scientific learning, environmental education holds further, more significant implications. With the impacts of anthropogenic climate change harboring feelings of pessimism and anxiety in younger generations, environmental educators have a responsibility to teach in ways that protect mental health while conveying accurate information (Ojala, 2018). Since Riley Park provides outdoor education resources that can alleviate some of the anxiety associated with environmental education, the park can be used as a secure environment for students to explore elements of environmental science through the learning plans we created. Though our lesson plans are only a small piece of the total environmental education that younger generations will inevitably encounter, they must be constructed with insight into effective teaching strategies in order to encourage a positive outlook towards environmental science. 5 | P a g e  b) Psychological and educational research Conducting research into psychological and educational literature allowed us to identify teaching methods that lead to positive outcomes during environmental science education. Our research highlights four main focuses to consider when structuring our lesson plans:  i. Avoid eco-anxiety  The threat of the climate crisis coupled with an involuntary responsibility to solve it creates feelings of anxiety in younger generations. Intensified climate and weather events can trigger or worsen mental health issues such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression, as the problems facing our planet seem exponentially larger than any fathomable solutions (Hayes et al., 2018). Children have been shown to demonstrate disproportionate emotional responses to such problems, making them increasingly vulnerable to mental health implications (Clayton, 2020). Additionally, direct, indirect, and overarching effects of climate change disproportionately affect the mental health of those who are marginalized, which can further disparities and feelings of worry in already disadvantaged groups (Hayes et al., 2018). Learning about the climate crisis can be overwhelming and uncomfortable, so our first element of successful environmental education is to avoid eco-anxiety while delivering our lesson plans. This can be achieved by avoiding common ineffective coping strategies for processing information about the climate crisis (Ojala, 2018).  The first coping mechanism to avoid is de-emphasizing: when feelings of inability to influence the climate crisis reduces the threat entirely (Ojala, 2018). Individuals might de-emphasize when lifestyles or behaviours that rely on environmentally harmful practices are threatened, or when individuals are unable to cope with the negative emotions that the issue evokes. Younger generations also might de-emphasize due to a lack of cognitive maturity and incomplete understanding of the issue. De-emphasizing results in an indifference towards environmentalism, or a sense of skepticism.  Another common coping mechanism is using emotion-focused strategies (Ojala, 2018). There are two types of emotion-focused strategies: distraction and problem focused life-changes. Distraction based emotion-focused strategies cause individuals to distance themselves from the emotions they feel by avoiding the problem altogether. Individuals avoid social support tools such as discussing the issue with their peers, creating an overall sense of collective apathy toward climate action. The other type of emotion-focused strategies are problem-focused strategies: when individuals make lifestyle changes like veganism or take zero-waste initiatives and encourage others to follow suit (Ojala, 2018). This can create feelings of low wellbeing, because of the disproportionate burden taken by individuals to act on the crisis. Low well-being can lead to apathy or can end up causing even more distress toward the issue than before.  While de-emphasizing and emotion-focused coping strategies have led to negative outlooks, a coping strategy that has proven successful in avoiding eco-anxiety involves using meaning-focused strategies (Ojala, 2018). The first dimension of meaning-focused strategies is positive re-appraisal: moving from a negative to a positive framing of climate change events. This allows individuals to persist in environmentalism without feeling apathetic or overwhelmed. The second 6 | P a g e  dimension to meaning-focused strategies involves trust. Maintaining trust in scientists, society, governments, and industries helps individuals feel that climate change is a collective issue that they are not alone in. This sense of collectiveness inspires young people to address the climate crisis in a psychologically healthy way. Meaning-focused strategies allow for a balanced approach to climate action, which prevents de-emphasizing and feeling overwhelmed (Ojala, 2018; Hayes et al., 2018). Meaning-focused strategies remove the sense of guilt from the crisis and allows for a collective focus toward action.  By inspiring participants to take climate action in a setting where they are among other community members, we aim to promote meaning-focused coping strategies that encourage collective ability. This avoids what is considered apocalyptic nihilism or apocalyptic fundamentalism: feelings of powerlessness, apathy, or extremism to attempt to return to more familiar, psychologically safe times (Ojala, 2018). Instead, we will inspire apocalyptic activism, a desire to create new solutions that involve non-extremist, reasonable action, and active hope (Hayes et al., 2018). Building connections between children, their community, and the ecosystem around them has been shown to ease anxiety and orient students comfortably with a sense of place amidst the crisis (Grauer, 2020).  ii. Maintain a positive perspective on the field of science Science can be a polarizing topic for children, with varying levels of affinities toward the subject based on a variety of factors. Generally, despite the direction provided by the BC Curriculum Guide, there are many inconsistencies in the quality and content of science material delivered to students across districts, schools, and even classes within a school (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). Science is taught differently depending on the teacher, and is often characterized by fear or avoidance rather than interest and passion. This makes programs across classes and schools such as a Spring Break program complicated, as it becomes necessary to ensure that all participants have an equal baseline understanding of required background knowledge. Without considering this extra step to structuring lesson plans, children can be intimidated and their learning experience can be negatively impacted. Positive reinforcement can be used to maintain a positive perspective on the field of science and encourage the development of learning (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005). Demonstrating positive attention such as praise in response to desired student behaviour can inspire children to continue demonstrating this behaviour, which is a tactic used to promote learning. Students are shown to develop self-efficacy when positive reinforcement is used as they believe they are equipped with the skills needed to succeed in learning (Kobus et al., 2007).  Considering the field of science particularly, a few main elements of maintaining a positive perspective on science can be described (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). Science teaching is most effective when it is: • relevant to students' lives and interests • linked with their communities more broadly 7 | P a g e  • includes inquiry, ideas, and evidence • challenges students to develop meaningful conceptual understandings • involves opportunities to interpret and establish information  Additionally, including opportunities for discussion allows students to share and develop tentative understandings of topics and allows them to explore concepts individually through the support of their instructors and peers. This can also allow for the benefits of positive reinforcement when concepts are explored in ways that allow children to find success in their learning (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005). Working in groups of four has been shown to promote collaborative argumentation, a method of group work that decreases levels of cognitive isolation when learning about topics in science (Sugai et al., 2018). This group size allows for an appropriate level of idea sharing and comprehension while allowing each group member to have a significant role in the discussion and work to be completed. iii. Ensure engagement to develop long-lasting take home lessons Building deep connections with nature starts most significantly in childhood and is enhanced through inspiring youth about environmental topics and issues (Hecht et al., 2019). When interviewed, adults described nature related experiences from childhood that developed into an appreciation and strong connection to nature throughout their lives. These relationships were further strengthened when their experiences were linked to community-related explorations of nature. Out of school experiences, such as camps or extra-curricular activities were also most notable in retained memories. Creating opportunities for youth to develop an interest in the natural world highly supports a long-lasting sense of ecological literacy. The strength of these memories are attributed to the level of engagement students experienced in their youth learning opportunities.  Education can only reach its full potential if participants remain engaged, interested, and intellectually stimulated throughout a lesson (Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006). Important factors to consider in keeping students engaged include drawing on prior knowledge, encouraging active investigation, including collaborative activities and independent thinking, and allowing for participation in taught material. Additionally, maintaining a pace that is fast enough to not lose the attention of participants while being slow enough to ensure understanding is crucial.  Engagement is linked to a higher retainment of information and can help to establish an experience as positive and fulfilling (Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006). Evaluation of the success of education can also be used to gauge how successful this engagement was, and is usually positively correlated with levels of enjoyment (Jensen & Nickelson, 2008). iv. Incorporate active learning strategies Active learning can be described as a learning process where individuals are responsible for their own learning by being given the opportunity to decide how well they wish to learn material 8 | P a g e  (Akınoğlu & Tandoğan, 2007). This involves self-regulation for learning for the individual, and has been shown to improve problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity skills.  Benefits of active learning include improved student attitudes toward the material being presented as well as improved instructor morale and enthusiasm (Armbruster et al., 2009). A good relationship between instructors and students is also shown to strengthen the quality of education in a lesson, which is an added benefit of active learning. An effective way of establishing active learning is through taking a backwards approach to structuring lessons (Harris et al., 2020). This involves first defining what the students are to learn through outlining learning objectives, and then planning the activities and lesson style based on these defined objectives.   Active learning draws upon higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, which is a framework used to establish successful educational outcomes (Anderson et al., 2001; Bloom, 1956). Students are challenged during active learning to develop a deeper understanding of curricular knowledge by: • applying concepts • analyzing data or information • synthesizing knowledge that has been gained through education.   D. Building the Lesson Plans a) Educational assets in Riley Park The Riley Park Community Garden is one of the green spaces within Riley Park that contains a number of resources that the community can enjoy. The biodiverse nature of the community garden makes the park a suitable location for our lesson plans. The Riley Park Community Garden as a venue offers many assets that can be used through hands-on activities to supplement concepts and information taught to children (Figure 2). In addition to the wonders of nature visible to students, our activities can be used as a gateway into extensive topics such as sustainability, composting, diverse life forms, anthropogenic effects on the environment, pollination, and much more. We aimed to use this space as an outdoor classroom that would supplement learning within our lesson plans. By identifying these assets and their relation to different environmental topics, children will be able to connect these topics with their own minds, bodies, and well-being. 9 | P a g e    Figure 2. Annotated map of Riley Park Community Garden. This map highlights some of the main educational assets in the community garden and provides short summaries of how each asset can be used. Original map retrieved from: (Riley Park Community Garden, n.d.). The Woodland Border is located to the Northwest of the Riley Park Community Garden (Figure 2). It consists of a variety of different shrubs, small trees, and plants that might eventually form a canopy within the garden as they mature. A large stand of lady fern can also be found in this area, along with several kinds of mosses and lichens. This area is designed to have a primarily native, wild garden feel, making it an excellent spot for children to observe insects, 10 | P a g e  decomposers, and the biodiversity that exists among native plant species. The Woodland Border could serve as a teaching tool to stimulate children's curiosity and allow children to ask questions such as, "why do some plants grow close to each other?" or "why do some have thorns?". The compost bin can be used as a tool to introduce a discussion on decomposition (Figure 2). Composting is a natural process, beginning beneath our feet in the soil and involving billions of microbial interactions. This includes fungi, bacteria, worms, and other animals consuming organic matter. The compost bin in the Riley Park Community Garden can be used as an active example of decomposition in our lesson plan. It is important for children to learn that seeds, new plants, and living organisms only grow when nourished. Through composting, food and yard scraps can be rich sources of nutrients for helping plants grow. In a single composting bin, children can see the circle of life from where new life comes from the death and decay of organic matter. We can connect the decomposition process in natural ecosystems with recycling our food scraps and garden waste.  The Garden Shed is home to many exciting things: rakes, shovels, brooms, and a lawnmower (Figure 2). Another section unique to this shed is a testbed for green and sustainable design which demonstrates the repurposing of materials, rainwater harvesting and collection, and renewable energy with wind and solar panels. The garden shed is an excellent example of how we can apply renewable energy to our daily lives. It can help demonstrate to children how numerous devices and machinery in our homes can have alternate fuel sources as examples of things we can do to combat climate change.  The Wheelchair Path is a pathway through the garden (Figure 2). Although not perfectly wheelchair-accessible as it is not tiled, this path can be used to provide an overview of the community garden and have children make general observations about the ecosystem. The path runs through the garden, generally following one garden bed at a time. Each stop includes an introduction to the various plants that children can also try to identify as they go. There are benches along this path that can be used for resting or as observation points for those wanting to observe different parts of the garden from a distance. From these benches, children can make general observations of plants in various beds throughout the garden. The South Pollinator Border is one of many pollinator-friendly zones in the Riley Park Community Garden (Figure 2). This zone is intended to serve as a showcase for plants that offer nectar, pollen, or shelter to a wide range of native pollinators. Other tasks include establishing a community garden pollination plan and supporting pollinator diversity by maintaining local insect biodiversity. These plants can be used to highlight the role of pollinators in an ecosystem and exemplify some specific pollinator/plant relationships. The pollinator-friendly garden beds can support a beautiful outdoor classroom. Children can observe these small pollinator habitats and learn how to become stewards of the natural environment and cultivate environmental responsibility.  The Shared Garden Beds are available for all community members to use, which serve the purpose of strengthening community cohesion (Figure 2). When people work together, it creates a more positive outlook on individuals within the same neighborhood (Hayes et al., 2018). This 11 | P a g e  will facilitate efforts for community members to relate to each other through the sharing of a common bond of growing food together. They also provide space for small food-growing businesses, garden education, and food education. These garden beds can help demonstrate sustainable farming practices and provide opportunities for children to gain knowledge about urban farming. They are a perfect tool for education surrounding food literacy, but can also be used to demonstrate various soil types and sustainable farming practices.  Finally, the Gathering Place is a great place to meet up with friends, learn something new, and enjoy the company of others (Figure 2). For our lesson plans, the space can be used for wrap-up discussions at the end of the activities in the park. It is a good place for children to share their experiences with one another while still being immersed in nature. b) Content areas and topics After identifying these assets and their relation to different environmental topics, we decided to focus on biodiversity and climate change for our lesson plans. Biodiversity and climate change are two contemporary environmental topics that are important to us as individuals and for future generations. Communicating biodiversity with children can help them connect better with nature. By learning about the different kinds of organisms that exist in nature, children can have a more positive view on the natural world. Teaching about climate change is crucial because it encourages children to think about how important their actions can be in the broader context of environmental health. We wanted to engage children in activities that would inspire them to think about the world around them, their environment, and show them ways they could take action and improve their environment. We believed the visual signals provided by the Riley Park Community Garden would help us communicate the effects of climate change as well as show our passion for biodiversity. Based on the content areas identified, we further specified four topics to build our lesson plans around. Each lesson is intended to have reference to one or both of the content areas (Appendix A): Lesson 1: Plants Throughout the Seasons  Lesson 2: Plants Across Different Climates  Lesson 3: Plants, Animals, and Decomposers in Riley Park  Lesson 4: Plant biodiversity in Riley Park  c) Learning objectives, activities, and evaluation The BC Curricular Competencies help identify the skills, concepts, and abilities students need to learn at different levels. The competencies support the notion of educating students through transdisciplinary study and meaningful experiential learning. We used these competencies to guide our curriculum design process by referring to the learning elements shown in the BC Curricular Competencies table (Appendix B). These acted as a guideline when 12 | P a g e  developing learning objectives tailored to our activity plans (British Columbia Curriculum, 2020). These learning elements are: • Questioning and predicting  • Planning and conducting • Processing and analyzing data and information  • Evaluating  • Applying and innovating  • Communicating  We created five learning objectives for each lesson plan that together address the overarching learning element listed above. These learning objectives were also aligned with our main findings from the four defined main focuses on environmental education. After defining our learning objectives and content areas, we structured our lesson plans to contain three parts: Lesson & Discussion, Activity, and Wrap-up.  In the Lesson & Discussion section, several discussion questions that are straight-forward and relevant to the topic will be provided to children. These engaging discussion questions will be used to elicit thoughtful responses from children. This will enable children to gather their ideas and provide a baseline for asking more questions, leading to a discovery of the underlying processes governing the natural world. This section will also provide an opportunity for children to express their thoughts and feelings and allow them more interaction with other children in the program. This will also be a good chance for less confident children to practice expressing their ideas out loud. For children completing the lesson plans with parents or guardians, this section provides an opportunity to discuss amongst each other. In this part, we also provide follow-up questions for more extended thinking, along with possible answers to supplement instructors, parents, or guardians conducting the lesson plans.  In the Activity section of the first two lesson plans, we created drawing and observing activities that divide children into groups to observe and draw plants in Riley Park. While these exercises fall under observation skills, they also allow children to interact with each other because each group will be asked to find three plants that are distinct from each other. In the first lesson, children will need to write down the characteristics of plants, such as color, size, and shape, while observing and drawing, and make a simple prediction of the area where the plant belongs, such as from a cold or tropical area. In the second lesson, each group will be asked to make a prediction of how the plants they found will change with the seasons.  We developed scavenger hunt activities for the third and fourth lessons on the topics of species in the food chain (lesson 3) and plant diversity (lesson 4). By finding and recording species in the park as groups, these scavenger hunts are designed to help students discover the species that play different roles in the region, encourage students to explore their environment, and locate natural species as resources for learning. We believe this is an engaging way for children to learn about biodiversity in Riley Park. In the Wrap-up section, we used further discussion to evaluate the effectiveness of the delivered information and tie the activities to the initial Lesson & Discussion. This section will 13 | P a g e  bring the discussion back to the objectives and ask a few more questions to help children synthesize and internalize the knowledge brought by the lesson. d) Analysis of the effectiveness of the lesson plans We dissected our constructed plans and evaluated them against our four defined main aspects of environmental education as well as our three defined research objectives to identify how effective our plans were at meeting our goals. E. Results & Discussion a) The lesson plans as psychologically supported environmental education To ensure the effectiveness of our lesson plans in instilling ecological literacy in participants, we incorporated our four main elements of successful environmental education in each lesson plan’s learning objectives (Harris et al., 2020). After establishing the learning objectives as effective, we used them to structure the lesson and discussion, activity, and wrap-up components for each plan. As follows is an analysis of the learning objectives of each plan as well as the ways in which the lesson and discussion, activity, and wrap-up components follow the same patterns of effective environmental education. 1. Learning Objectives (L.O.)  i. Lesson 1: Plants Throughout the Seasons   (L.O. 1) Understand the difference between weather, seasons and climate by comparing observations, experiences, and predictions.  (L.O. 2) Describe the time and spatial scales associated with weather, seasons, and climate. (L.O. 3) Understand the effects that seasonal weather patterns have on the plants in the Vancouver area. (L.O. 4) Understand what climate change means and describe some expected changes that it may cause.  (L.O. 5) Make predictions on seasonal changes to plants in Riley Park to develop a personal connection to local ecology through observation and hands-on activities. Avoid eco-anxiety Understanding variability in weather, seasons, and climate is an important first step to understanding current environmental issues (L.O. 1). It can be overwhelming for younger generations to be bombarded with news about climate change without having a good sense of the time and spatial scales that this news involves, so providing background information on this can help them navigate through this information (L.O. 2) (Ojala, 2018; Grauer, 2020). Establishing a baseline idea of regular, seasonal changes that occur in a familiar location can be a crucial step in understanding the differences between anthropogenic-caused changes and natural variation and 14 | P a g e  can remove anxiety they may feel when observing seasonal changes. A general understanding of some of the expected changes in Vancouver specifically can also help children form a realistic perception of the climate crisis and presenting this information in a psychologically safe setting can help avoid negative coping mechanisms from learning about these topics (L.O. 3; 4).  Making predictions on changes that may occur allow students to critically apply the information that they will gain from the lesson and will work to further solidify their ability to assuage worry on these issues (L.O. 5). Having an opportunity to piece together personal experiences and observations can help children cope with the uncertainty they are feeling and doing so in a group setting or with the assistance of parents or peers promotes a sense of collectiveness (Ojala, 2018; Hayes et al., 2018). Feeling connected to their local ecology promotes ecological literacy, which also contributes to positive coping mechanisms.  Maintain a positive perspective on the field of science Prompting children to understand the difference between weather, seasons, and climate by using their own experiences and observations allows for an opportunity for positive reinforcement (L.O. 1). Using this positive reinforcement in the stage of recalling personal experiences and observations can enable more insightful predictions on the topic (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005; Kobus et al., 2007). Aversions to science are often created on the basis of confusion or a lack of understanding of material, so simplifying time scales of weather, seasons, and climate can ensure that children have consistent understandings of the next parts of the lesson plan (L.O. 2) (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). This will facilitate a positive attitude throughout the program and contribute to an appreciation of science education. Encouraging children to understand the effect seasons have on local plants allows for a relevance to children’s lives that can be beneficial in solidifying comprehension of the lesson material (L.O. 3) (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005).  Making predictions on seasonal changes to plants in Riley Park allows children to draw upon personal and community experiences and challenges them to diversify the tentative understandings they have made throughout the lesson plan (L.O. 4; 5) (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005). Additionally, groups of four will be recommended as this has proven to have advantageous effects on learning (Sugai et al., 2018). Pacing will be fast enough to maintain engagement. Ensure engagement to develop long-lasting take-home lessons Comparing observations, experiences, and predictions to understand the difference between weather, seasons, and climate allows children to draw on prior knowledge and encourages active investigation (L.O. 1) (Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006). Using this prior knowledge to further understand the time scales of these concepts requires children to independently think about the lesson content in meaningful ways (L.O. 2). Relating information on seasonal weather to plants in the Vancouver area maintains engagement by ensuring that children can visualize and directly understand what is being described (L.O. 3) (Jensen & Nickelson, 2008).  Introducing the topic of climate change as well as some expected changes that may cause in Vancouver establishes interest in the lesson material based on personal connections to the 15 | P a g e  area, which strengthens the take-home messages from the program (L.O. 4) (Hecht et al., 2019). Making predictions on seasonal changes to plants in Riley Park also allows for this type of personal connection, and it enables active investigation that requires prior knowledge established in the lesson (L.O. 5) (Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006). Incorporate active learning strategies Understanding the difference between weather, seasons, and climate as well as the time scales associated with each challenges children to apply and synthesize knowledge that has been gained through experience and education (L.O. 1; 2) (Anderson et al., 2001; Bloom, 1956). Understanding what climate change means as well as some expected changes it may cause provides opportunities for active learning, too (L.O. 5). This is a significant component of active learning as it allows for a deeper understanding of curricular knowledge. Applying this knowledge to the Vancouver area by understanding seasonal changes involves self-regulation of learning, as children will ultimately decide the depth at which their connections will reach (L.O. 3) (Akınoğlu & Tandoğan, 2007). Making predictions on seasonal changes to plants in Riley Park allows for further synthesis of lesson information, and will encourage deeper levels of reflection and learning (L.O. 5). This self-regulation component of active learning will ultimately improve ecological literacy throughout and beyond this program. ii. Lesson 2: Plants Across Different Climates  (L.O. 1) Understand the difference between weather, seasons and climate by comparing observations, experiences, and predictions. (L.O. 2) Understand how plants change seasonally (L.O. 3) Use prior knowledge on common climate regions to describe differences between the size, abundance, and colours of plants as climate conditions change. (L.O. 4) Make observations about the types of plants found in the Vancouver area (L.O. 5) Observe and describe plants in Riley Park to develop a personal connection to local ecology through hands-on activities. Avoid eco-anxiety Understanding how plants change seasonally can help to avoid anxieties about changes children may observe throughout the year and misinterpret as anthropogenic climate change (L.O. 1; 2) (Grauer, 2020). Allowing them to recognize natural changes and become familiar with some of the plants that can be found in the Vancouver area can contribute to this understanding (L.O. 4). Additionally, we expect children to have basic familiarity with the major climatic conditions of deserts, tropical regions, and arctic regions. Reminding children of variability across the planet can help manage stress about what potential climate change impacts could look like and whether or not this should be considered normal for the planet (L.O. 3). We also urge them to identify the climate conditions of Vancouver to deepen this understanding and become more familiar with the range of climates that can be observed (Grauer, 2020; Hayes et al., 2018). As gaining information in psychologically safe environments can help foster positive 16 | P a g e  coping mechanisms for the climate crisis, introducing information for a familiar location can help with minimizing anxiety on the topic of climate change (Ojala, 2018). It is also helpful to use hands-on experience in local community ecology to avoid this type of stress, so we aim to allow children to feel connected to their natural environment and develop ecological literacy this way (L.O. 5). Maintain a positive perspective on the field of science Our mechanisms for maintaining a positive perspective on the field of science for lesson 2 are similar to those of lesson 1. Learning objectives (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5) will prompt children to draw upon their own experiences and observations in ways that allow for positive reinforcement (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005; Kobus et al., 2007). We aim to avoid a lack of understanding by simplifying material into digestible components and allowing for students to align their knowledge by combining new and previously understood information (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). This allows for students with varying levels of background knowledge to standardize this information and learn new information together. This promotes positive attitudes and science appreciation. Keeping the learning objectives relevant to individual and community experiences fosters stronger understanding of material. This lesson also will be encouraged to complete in groups of four (Sugai et al., 2018). Ensure engagement to develop long-lasting take-home lessons Our mechanisms for ensuring engagement in lesson 2 are similar to those of lesson 1. Children will be able to compare observations, experiences, and predictions through learning objectives (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5) in ways that draw upon prior knowledge, require active investigation, and encourage relating information to personal and community experiences (Hecht et al., 2019; Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006; Jensen & Nickelson, 2008). The pace will also be fast enough to maintain engagement. Incorporate active learning strategies Active learning will also be achieved in similar ways as described in lesson 1. Learning objectives (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5) will challenge children to apply and synthesize information with previous knowledge, and thus will encourage self-regulation for learning (Akınoğlu & Tandoğan, 2007; Armbruster et al., 2009; Anderson et al., 2001; Bloom, 1956). Being given the opportunity to apply this knowledge to local ecology will enable deeper understandings, another significant component of active learning. iii. Lesson 3: Plants, Animals, and Decomposers  (L.O. 1) Describe what plants need to grow and how they get the components that they need. (L.O. 2) Define decomposers and their role in an ecosystem. (L.O. 3) Understand how and why ecosystems benefit from composting. (L.O. 4) Categorize living things in ecosystems into plants, animals, and decomposers. 17 | P a g e  (L.O. 5) Observe and describe plants, animals, and decomposers in Riley Park to develop a personal connection to local ecology through hands-on activities. Avoid eco-anxiety As lesson 3 is less concerned with climate change, eco-anxiety is not as directly prevalent. However, establishing background information on other topics in the field of environmental sciences increases ecological literacy, which in turn facilitates the process of learning about more uncertain climate crisis topics (Grauer, 2020). Through describing what plants need to grow, we introduce children to a basic component of the carbon cycle through describing photosynthesis and briefly discussing the drawdown of carbon dioxide (L.O. 1). Having an understanding of this can help children in future educational endeavours involving atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Understanding basic food chain structures as described in learning objectives (2), (3), (4), and (5) are significant in the field of biodiversity and can be linked to the climate crisis further in the children’s scientific education. Having this lesson plan to look back on when learning about this in more detail can help them to feel more confident in the subject matter and less worried about the dynamics of food chains in issues of climate change (Grauer, 2020; Ojala, 2018; Hayes et al., 2018). Maintain a positive perspective on the field of science Our mechanisms for maintaining a positive perspective on the field of science for lesson 3 are similar to those of lesson 1. Learning objectives (1), (2), (3) and (4) provide opportunities for positive reinforcement through combining previous knowledge from their experiences and observations (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005; Kobus et al., 2007). We also aim to standardize background knowledge and allow students to learn new information together at the same pace in our lesson plan, also contributing to positive attitudes (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). Learning objective (5) includes relevance to individual and community experiences, facilitating a deeper understanding and appreciation for science. We also will encourage students to complete the activity in groups of four for this lesson plan (Sugai et al., 2018). Ensure engagement to develop long-lasting take-home lessons Our mechanisms for ensuring engagement in lesson 3 are similar to those of lesson 1. Making observations, drawing on individual and community experiences, and making predictions will require children to draw upon prior knowledge and use active investigation (L.O. 1; 2; 3; 4; 5) (Hecht et al., 2019; Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006). Additionally, the learning objectives will be paced quickly enough to maintain interest such that students can remain engaged (Jensen & Nickelson, 2008). Incorporate active learning strategies Active learning will also be achieved in similar ways as described in lesson 1. Lesson information and previous knowledge will be synthesized in challenging ways that require educational self-regulation (L.O. 1; 2; 3; 4) (Akınoğlu & Tandoğan, 2007; Anderson et al., 2001; 18 | P a g e  Bloom, 1956). Learning will use the familiar location of Riley Park to deepen children’s understanding of the material (L.O. 5) (Armbruster et al., 2009). iv. Lesson 4: Plant Biodiversity in Riley Park (Appendix 5) (L.O. 1) Describe what plants need to grow and how they acquire these things. (L.O. 2) Understand the role of plants in their ecosystem. (L.O. 3) Understand what climate change means and how plants can help mitigate climate change. (L.O. 4) Describe differences in plants with reference to their size, colour, and leaf shape. (L.O. 5) Compare and contrast plants found in Riley Park on the criteria of size, colour, and leaf shape to develop a personal connection to local ecology through hands-on activities. Avoid eco-anxiety Lesson 4 combines the mechanisms for avoiding eco-anxiety from lessons 1 and 2 as well as from lesson 3. Background information on ecosystem dynamics and a brief introduction to photosynthesis is beneficial in instilling ecological literacy in children to be applied in further scientific education (L.O. 1; 2; 4) (Grauer, 2020; Hayes et al., 2018). Additionally, an introduction to climate change in a psychologically safe and familiar environment will promote a tendency toward positive coping mechanisms for the climate crisis (L.O. 2; 3) (Ojala, 2018). We also introduce atmospheric carbon dioxide mitigation strategies using plants which intends to provide first steps into learning about climate change solutions. Highlighting a potential solution and focusing on positive and objective aspects of climate change also avoid negative coping mechanisms. As was achieved in the other three lesson plans, allowing children to connect to their natural environments through hands-on activities further increases ecological literacy and contributes to assuaging worries on the topic of climate change (L.O. 5) (Grauer, 2020; Hayes et al., 2018). Maintain a positive perspective on the field of science Our mechanisms for maintaining a positive perspective on the field of science for lesson 4 are similar to those of lesson 1. Learning objectives (1), (2), (3), and (4) allow children to receive positive reinforcement when drawing upon previous knowledge to discuss new lesson information along with making observations and predictions (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005; Kobus et al., 2007). Background knowledge is also aimed to be standardized and synchronized throughout the lesson plan (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). Learning objective (5) involves making connections to familiar locations and also deepens the children’s understanding of the lesson material as a result (Sigler & Aamidor, 2005; Kobus et al., 2007). Additionally, the learning objectives involve pacing that is appropriate to maintain understanding, such that science education does not feel daunting. Groups of four will be suggested for this lesson plan, too (Sugai et al., 2018). Ensure engagement to develop long-lasting take-home lessons 19 | P a g e  Our mechanisms for ensuring engagement in lesson 4 are similar to those of lesson 1. Active investigation and synthesis of prior knowledge and experiences will be encouraged as children make observations and predictions (L.O. 1; 2; 3; 4; 5) (Hecht et al., 2019; Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006). Pacing will be fast enough to maintain interest and engagement (Jensen & Nickelson, 2008). Incorporate active learning strategies  Active learning will also be achieved in similar ways as described in lesson 1. Learning will require self-regulation and will use familiar locations to maximize the depth of understanding that children will have (L.O. 1; 2; 3; 4; 5) (Akınoğlu & Tandoğan, 2007; Harris et al., 2020; Armbruster et al., 2009; Anderson et al., 2001; Bloom, 1956). 2. Part 1: Lesson and Discussion Each lesson followed similar mechanisms of applying our four elements of successful environmental education. We were able to implement all of these mechanisms in all four lesson plans (Table 1). 3. Part 2: Activity The activities for each lesson plan were structured based on both the learning objectives and the lesson and discussion sections. Our chosen activities also relied on the four elements of successful environmental education. We first identified the ways that an activity could draw on these elements, and then applied them to each lesson plan where appropriate. It is important to note that working in groups of 4 will only be attainable when these lesson plans are conducted with enough participants. Also, for children completing these lesson plans individually with parents or guardians will be designated the responsibilities of all roles in the activities. This still maintains the ability to instill a sense of responsibility, but will be achieved in a slightly different way. After identifying mechanisms through which we could make our activities most effective, we applied these to each lesson plan where appropriate as described in Table 3. 4. Part 3: Wrap-up  The intention of the wrap-up section was to accomplish two main objectives. The first objective was to allow children to reflect on the activities they had just completed as well as to understand the connections between the activity and lesson material. Reiterating these points again to children enables a full comprehension of the big ideas of the lesson plans. This maintains engagement as often during a breakout activity attention can begin to be lost, so having an opportunity to reconvene and review major components of the lesson plan is beneficial. It also serves as a further discussion opportunity to solidify these connections, which is a crucial part of active learning.    20 | P a g e  Table 1 Mechanisms through which successful environmental education was achieved with respect to our four elements identified.  21 | P a g e   Further, positive reinforcement is significant in this stage of the lesson plan as children are able to have their closing thoughts acknowledged and encouraged. This also gives the lesson plan a sense of completion, such that children feel as though they have accomplished the goals intended, contributing to maintaining a positive perspective on science education. Without this component of the lesson plan, children may feel a lack of closure for the activity they conducted.   The second objective for the wrap-up section is to give instructors an opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of the lesson plan. Reiterating the main points through a final discussion is useful to assess how much of the lesson material was received, and can provide insight into areas of improvement for the lesson plan. Identifying concepts that have not yet been established for the children illustrate corrective measures to take when structuring the lesson and discussion section more effectively. a) The lesson plans as they relate to our project objectives  We compared each of our three project objectives with the final lesson plans to ensure our lesson plans were successful in addressing our overarching goals. Concrete evidence from each of the four lesson plans was provided to draw connections to the project objectives.   Objective 1: How can Riley Park be used as a venue for children to develop ecological literacy?  This project objective relates to the map of educational assets in Riley Park (Figure 2). The lesson plans were designed for use in Riley Park, so we kept the identified assets in mind when designing the lesson plans. Table 4 summarizes how some of the main educational assets in the Riley Park Community Garden relate to each lesson plan. The information within the table provides concrete examples from the lesson plan that draw connections between assets in Riley Park Community Garden and the lessons and activities we have designed. Objective 2: How can we keep children aged 6-12 engaged during an hour-long lesson plan? The research from our third and fourth main focuses of effective environmental education relate to children’s engagement in science education. From our research on ensuring engagement to develop long-lasting take home lessons, we found that children’s engagement is higher when we encourage the use of past knowledge, incorporate both individual and group activities, and support hands-on investigation. From our research on active learning, we know that active learning can be easily implemented in lesson plans by designing them “backwards”. This means first identifying what students are to learn and building learning objectives that describe the processes driving the learning. Designing the activities and lessons should be the last step in building the lesson plans. Engagement in science-based activities that are supported by active learning strategies can foster strong connections with nature, especially when concepts are explicitly tied to one’s community.  22 | P a g e  Table 2 Mechanisms through which our activities aimed to achieve successful environmental education. Each element is colour coded to identify how they fit into each lesson plan.   23 | P a g e  Table 3 Lesson-specific mechanisms through which successful environmental education was achieved in the activity component of our lesson plans. Light blue refers to mechanisms related to avoiding eco-anxiety, dark blue refers to mechanisms related to maintaining a positive perspective on the field of science, green refers to mechanisms related to ensuring engagement to develop long-lasting take-home messages, and purple refers to mechanisms related to incorporating active learning strategies. 24 | P a g e  Table 4 Summary of the connections between Riley Park Community Garden educational assets and the lesson plans. Each location mentioned is shown in Figure 2 (continued on page 25).         25 | P a g e  26 | P a g e  Engagement was achieved in each lesson plan through utilizing the mechanisms outlined in Section a). Additionally, there were three key decisions that we made regarding the structure of the lessons in order to keep the lesson plans engaging: 1. We divided the lesson plans into three distinct parts: lesson and discussion, hands-on activity, and discussion based wrap-up. • We divided the 60-minute lesson into shorter parts to avoid boredom. • The lesson at the beginning introduces the relevant topics and allows children to consider previous knowledge about the community and related science-based topics. • The activity in the middle allows children to physically explore the outdoors independently and in groups. This gives them a chance to apply the concepts in this first part while experiencing a change of scenery.  • The discussion based wrap-up at the end ties everything together and provides an opportunity for children to share any questions or observations they may have. 2. We implemented group based activities. • Group based activities encourage collaboration with peers. • Completing activities with others can help keep children focused on the task at hand.  • Groups of four are the most ideal group size to promote collaboration while avoiding cognitive isolation (Sugai et al, 2018).  3. We designed the lessons to be discussion-based.  • This encourages children to think about concepts independently. • Discussion-based learning requires active participation from children. • Children help guide the direction of the lesson by asking and answering questions.   Objective 3: How can we effectively communicate climate change and biodiversity related topics to children in an outdoor setting in a way that is accessible for a large number of community members?   The first part of this project objective relates to communicating climate change and biodiversity related topics effectively. To achieve this, we consulted the BC Science Curricular Competencies table (Appendix B). The core competencies ensure students are actively using and developing analytical skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. By integrating these core competencies into our lesson plan learning objectives, we were able to focus the activities such that children can continue building the skills necessary to explore their interests in science. Table 5 provides concrete examples from our lessons and activities that tie back to the lesson plan learning objectives and curricular competencies.  27 | P a g e  Table 5 Connections between the six BC Science Curricular Competencies and our four lesson plans (continued on page 28).          28 | P a g e      29 | P a g e   In addition to consulting the BC Curricular Competencies, we also tied in concepts from the literature to ensure the lesson plans would effectively communicate science education. From our psychological and educational research, we found that science education is most effective when the topics are relevant to students’ lives, interests, and experiences (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). By using Riley Park as a venue for the lessons, we were able to directly tie the science concepts to the children’s community. Since Riley Park is a familiar and well-loved location for our intended audience, explicitly linking biodiversity and climate change topics to the park will encourage children to relate these topics to their own lives. Teaching these topics using hands-on learning in a familiar, outdoor setting will set children up to consider why biodiversity is important to them and their community, fostering a deeper connection between them and the natural world.   We found that children’s engagement in the lessons is directly related to the effectiveness of science education (Jablon & Wilkinson, 2006). For example, science education is more effective and engaging when the lessons require conceptual understanding, promote the use of evidence to support big ideas, and encourage discussion between students to solidify their understanding (Fitzgerald & Smith, 2016). By ensuring engagement as described under project objective 2, we are even more confident that the lesson plans effectively communicate climate change and biodiversity related topics.   The second part of this project objective relates to the accessibility of the lesson plans. One of our goals was to design the lesson plans for use in the spring break program, but also such that anyone in the community could take their children or grandchildren to Riley Park and walk them through the lesson plans. To achieve this, we aimed to design the plans so that anyone can instruct the lessons, regardless of their background in science. We structured each lesson by providing discussion questions with expected answers as well as a mini-lesson providing more details to fill any knowledge gaps. We provided pictures to use as visual examples for some of the concepts in order to further explain the phenomena we discussed. By providing such detail, instructors can simply refer to the lesson plans in order to lead their children through a meaningful, hands-on, science-based learning experience.   All of the lesson plans require minimal materials, as the most needed is a writing utensil and paper. By designing them in this way, we are opening up the lesson plans to be accessed by all community members. Families who do not have extra time to spend preparing materials or who do not have extra income to spend on acquiring materials will still have the opportunity to take their children to Riley Park for an outdoor, science-based lesson. The lesson plans will be available on the LMNH website for open-access use by the public in order to offer the materials to as many people who wish to use them. F. Implications and Recommendations  i. Implications of the lesson plans The lesson plans hold several significant implications. Firstly, they offer an important first step in environmental education that can be helpful in shaping the remainder of children’s experiences learning about similar topics. Creating a positive experience in early stages of 30 | P a g e  ecological literacy can lead individuals to develop a positive set of coping mechanisms in response to the climate crisis. Instilling ecological literacy in the younger generation is relevant as the climate crisis continues, as it can help develop a sense of understanding of broader environmental issues. A proficiency in the topics of climate change and biodiversity can propagate throughout the community, through the process of creating environmental stewards in the younger generation. Creating a higher average sense of ecological literacy can benefit the entire community this way. If conducted in the Spring Break camp, these lesson plans will create the opportunity for children to learn important information in an enjoyable setting among peers as a part of their week-long camp experience. This allows for positive associations to be formed with the education they receive, and will contribute to children forming positive perspectives on science and avoiding eco-anxiety when learning. For children completing the lesson plans individually, benefits related to avoiding eco-anxiety and forming positive associations with science education will also be achieved. Additionally, this will offer many parents or guardians the opportunity to establish deeper connections with their children in an outdoor setting, which can strengthen family relations.  The lesson plans serve as an opportunity for Little Mountain Neighbourhood House community members to develop stronger community connections, which can contribute to a deeper sense of collectiveness. Further, initiatives to develop strong community connections through ecological literacy programs distinguishes Little Mountain Neighbourhood House as a leader in the Greater Vancouver area. This could inspire other community organizations to follow their example and create programs that hold similar, significant implications in their regions. This would include not only developing similar lesson plans in other communities, but also adopting the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House’s core values of diversity, responsiveness, integrity, engagement, accessibility, care, excellence, and empowerment. These values spreading across the Greater Vancouver area hold their own set of boundless positive implications for the regions who implement them.  ii. Recommendations for further work In the year prior to our work, another ENVR 400 group performed an analysis of Riley Park’s educational assets. Our work posed as a second step to this analysis, and provided additional context for these assets to be used as educational tools. We incorporated relevant psychologically proven methods of successful science education to strengthen the ways in which these assets could be used, and provided sample lesson plans that applied those methods.  A third step can be outlined, using the work done by the previous year’s students as well as our own. This could involve developing more hands-on activities using the assets and proven successful methods of science education to develop more community based learning opportunities for the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House to offer. This combination has the potential to lead to meaningful community education programs that can use this work as a foundation consistently. 31 | P a g e  G. Conclusion    Outdoor education plans teach students to become more educated stewards of the environment. Our defined successful elements of environmental education foster positive relationships between children and environmental science in ways that instill long-lasting ecological literacy. Students aged 6-12 are offered a wide range of educational opportunities to develop their understanding of the world they live in. In natural, outdoor settings, environmental science education goes beyond just theoretical exploration and academic lab work. Through hands-on fieldwork combined with discussion and active investigation of lesson material, we have created lesson plans that are interactive, fun, and easy to deliver. These plans fit the informal, outdoor learning environment provided by Riley Park. This lesson plan structure offers an experience that is scalable to adapt to the desires and needs of our community partners.  32 | P a g e  H. References  Akınoğlu, O., & Tandoğan, R. Ö. (2007). The effects of problem-based active learning in science education on students’ academic achievement, attitude and concept learning. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 3(1). doi:10.12973/ejmste/75375  Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., Raths, J., & Wittrock, M. C. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Complete edition). Longman.   Armbruster, P., Patel, M., Johnson, E., & Weiss, M. (2009). Active Learning and Student-centered Pedagogy Improve Student Attitudes and Performance in Introductory Biology. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 8(3), 203-213. doi:10.1187/cbe.09-03-0025  Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives. Vol. 1: Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.   British Columbia Curriculum. (2020). Science Curriculum - Core Competencies. Retrieved from:  Clayton, S. (2020). Climate anxiety: Psychological responses to climate change. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 74, 102263. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102263  Fitzgerald, A., & Smith, K. (2016). Science that Matters: Exploring Science Learning and Teaching in Primary Schools. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 41(4). Grauer, S. R. (2020). Climate change: The thief of childhood. Phi Delta Kappan, 101(7), 42-46. doi:10.1177/0031721720917541 HAPA Collaborative. (2016). Community Spirit at the Heart of These Parks. HAPA. Harris, B. N., Mccarthy, P. C., Wright, A. M., Schutz, H., Boersma, K. S., Shepherd, S. L., . . . Ellington, R. M. (2020). From panic to pedagogy: Using online active learning to promote inclusive instruction in ecology and evolutionary biology courses and beyond. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.6915 Hayes, K., Blashki, G., Wiseman, J., Burke, S., & Reifels, L. (2018). Climate change and mental health: risks, impacts and priority actions. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 12(2). doi:10.1186/s13033-018-0210-6 33 | P a g e  Iqbal, L., Kapoor, T., Park, R., & Singh, G. (2019). Place-Based learning (PBL) at Riley Park   : An Outdoor educational tool for Bc schools. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from Jablon, J. R., & Wilkinson, M. (2006). Using engagement strategies to facilitate children's learning and success. YC Young Children, 61(2), 12-16.  Jensen, E., & Nickelsen, L. (2008). Deeper learning: 7 powerful strategies for in-depth and longer-lasting learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Kobus, T., Maxwell, L., & Provo, J. (2007). Increasing Motivation of Elementary and Middle School Students through Positive Reinforcement, Student Self-Assessment, and Creative Engagement [Online Submission]. In Online Submission. Retrieved from: Little Mountain Neighbourhood House. (n.d.). Little Mountain Neighbourhood House.  Ojala, M. (2018). Eco-anxiety. RSA Journal, 164(4), 10-15. doi:10.2307/26798430 Riley Park Community Garden. (n.d.). About Our Garden.  Sigler, E. A., & Aamidor, S. (2005). From Positive Reinforcement to Positive Behaviors: An Everyday Guide for the Practitioner. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32(4), 249-253. doi:10.1007/s10643-004-0753-9 i  Appendix A Lesson plans 1-4 for use by the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House.  Lesson 1: Plants Throughout the Seasons  ii  iii  iv  v    vi  Lesson 2: Plants Across Different Climates  vii  viii  ix  x  xi    xii  Lesson 3: Plants, Animals, and Decomposers in Riley Park xiii  xiv  xv  xvi  xvii  xviii  xix  xx   xxi  Lesson 4: Plant Biodiversity in Riley Park xxii  xxiii  xxiv  xxv  xxvi    xxvii  xxviii  xxix  xxx  xxxi   xxxii  Appendix B Table B1  BC Science Curricular Competencies for grades K-8 (British Columbia Curriculum, 2020).    xxxiii     


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