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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Growing closer to nature : students’ environmental attitudes and perspectives after a field trip to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre Mayer, Colin


In this study, I measure the impact of a five-day field trip to a marine science research facility on the environmental attitudes and perspectives of British Columbian secondary science students. I used a descriptive case study that employed a mixed methods approach to address my research questions. To collect quantitative data, the participants completed the New Ecological Paradigm survey (Dunlap & Van Liere, 2008) both before and after the trip to Bamfield Marine Research Station. I then utilized semi-structured focus groups to further elicit participants’ interpretations and reflections about the environmental experience. Analysis of the data indicates the experience did have an impact on student attitudes and perspectives about the environment. The results of the pre-and-post New Ecological Paradigm survey showed that the environmental experience had a statistically significant impact (p=.000) on students’ environmental attitudes and perspectives. The semi-structured focus groups yielded three key findings: (1) participants’ pro-environmental beliefs became strengthened as a result of the environmental experience; (2) participants felt much closer and interconnected with nature as a result of the environmental experience; (3) participants developed a preference towards learning through experiential and environmental education methods, and showed evidence of metacognitive awareness and assimilation throughout the environmental experience. This research provides insights into the impact of environmental and experiential learning pedagogies upon student attitudes about and perspectives on the environment. This research is timely as it provides support for education that addresses environmental issues, such as the potentially irreversible changes to our climate brought on by human actions.

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