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Improving Education at U.S. Nature & Environmental Centers.


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Improving Education at U.S. Nature & Environmental Centers Sara Melena Sunita Hilton, Ph.D Department of Natural Resource Recreation & Tourism Colorado State University Tim Merriman, Ph.D National Association for Interpretation October, 2006 Partnering Organizations
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Enhancing Education at U.S. Nature & Environmental Centers Sara Melena Sunita Hilton, Ph.D Department of Natural Resource Recreation & Tourism Colorado State University Tim Merriman, Ph.D National Association for Interpretation October, 2006

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Partnering Organizations National Association for Interpretation U.S. National Park Service Colorado State University U.S. Ecological Protection Agency North American Association for Environmental Education Association of Nature Center Administrators

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Defining Nature Centers Nature focuses are, …essentially instructive, exploratory and social in reason with expert staff, open to general society on some customary timetable. The Nature Center oversees and deciphers its properties, local plants and creatures and offices to advance a comprehension of nature and regular procedures. It behaviors regular ecological instruction projects and exercises for people in general. Definition from the American Association of Museums

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Why Study Education at Nature Centers? Instructive Infrastructure (St. John & Perry, 1993; Falk, 2005) Surveys of nature focuses concentrate on hierarchical and physical attributes (National Science for Youth Foundation, 1990) Little data accessible on how nature focuses are creating ecological projects Abundance of materials accessible and suitable to training in nature focuses Limited assets

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Research Objectives Conduct a registration of nature focuses in the U.S. to give pattern information about training endeavors, staff, spending plans and assets. Find which instructive materials and educational module are being used by nature and ecological focuses and why. Conduct a needs evaluation for nature and ecological focuses as far as what they have to enhance their instructive endeavors.

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Framework for Understanding Education at Nature Centers Study reason: To comprehend the utilization of ecological training materials & needs of nature and ecological focuses Meeting the objectives of natural instruction Guidelines for Excellence NAAEE (1998, 2004) Evaluation in formal settings (Korn, 2000, PLT, 2004, Marcinkowski & Iozzi,1994) Evaluation of value & exactness (Salmon, 2000, NAAEE, 1997, 1998a, 1998b)

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Learning Settings in Environmental Education Free-decision taking in the sort of discovering that happens when learners exercise decision and control over learning (Falk & Dierking, 1998) Formal settings Public Schools Free-decision natural learning settings Nature focuses, parks, zoos, historical centers

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Environmental Education Formal Partnerships (Knapp, 1996; Milton & Cleveland, 1995) Free-Choice Environmental Learning Settings Museums (Falk 1999, Falk & Storksdieck, 2005) Aquariums (Adelmann et al, 2000) National Parks (Brody, 2002) Interpretive projects (Knapp, 2005)

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Environmental Education Materials Developed for utilization in formal & free-decision settings (EETAP, 2003) Evaluated for quality and precision (NAAEE, 1997, 1998; Salmon, 2000) Effectiveness (PLT, 2004; Marcinkowski & Iozzi, 1994) Theoretical Framework Research Questions Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Methodology Questions

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Methodology Population National Park Service (270 units) The Centers Directory (1,800+ focuses) National Association for Interpretation & the Association for Nature Center Administrators (2002) Interpretive focuses, nature focuses, guest focuses and ecological learning focuses, zoos, aquariums, Forest Service, BLM, Park Districts

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Organizational Identification 2,144 practical locations, 835 returned (39%)

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Baseline Data Organizational & Financial Characteristics

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Baseline Data Organizational & Financial Characteristics

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Baseline Data Organizational & Financial Characteristics “Programs are constrained in light of subsidizing and staff deficiencies. Nature focuses are at the sustenance's base chain in city government .”

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Baseline Data Organizational & Financial Characteristics

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Baseline Data Physical Characteristics

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Baseline Data Visitation & Education

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Educational Materials

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Educational Materials “I have a remarkable staff of prepared teachers and I would never squander their abilities & aptitudes by requesting that they present projects arranged by another person. ”

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Educational Materials “I have an amazing staff of prepared instructors and I would never squander their gifts & aptitudes by requesting that they present projects arranged by another person. ”

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Needs Assessment Educational Materials

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Needs Assessment Staff Training

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Needs Assessment Teacher Workshops

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Conclusions Baseline Data Use of Materials Resource for thoughts & exercises We feel firmly that we would prefer not to do things on location that should be possible in the classroom, with the goal that forgets most distributed materials. Those materials are generally intended for utilization in a formal classroom setting & by classroom instructors. We need to get kids outside to encounter what they are realizing in the classroom. We attempted to involve an alternate corner w/our materials.

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Conclusions Needs Related to encouraging direct involvement with neighborhood environment Field supplies, classroom hardware Our “environmental educ” is mixed with site particular topics for school bunches with accentuation on getting understudies outside to encounter the asset. Showcasing & Funding We furnish quality EE programs with little spending plan for the lessons. Numerous stipends & subsidizing open doors are accessible for new projects, positions or offices. We might want to see more devoted financing from the state for existing projects. Staffing

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Conceptual Framework Conclusions & Recommendations Introduction Background Need & Purpose Literature Review Questions Methodology Results Recommendations Support nearby & provincial systems Local issues Sharing thoughts Marketing & Funding Visitor needs appraisal Forums Research Case studies Perceived estimation of nature focuses

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Abundant EE Materials Questions? By getting youngsters early, we assist them with making an association with the earth and they figure out how to CARE about it, accordingly changing future conduct to a superior stewardship ethic, as opposed to growing up to be “Impact Monsters: we spend $ on tidying up & repairing impacts of vandalism & dumping. Likewise makes all around educated, future voters & pioneer