ERIC Number: ED444784
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
A National Study of Outdoor Wilderness Experience.
Kellert, Stephen R.
A study examined the learning and character development effects of the outdoor wilderness experience. The research consisted of a retrospective study in which surveys were completed by 429 participants in outdoor programs sponsored by the Student Conservation Association, the National Outdoor Leadership School, and Outward Bound; and a longitudinal study in which surveys were completed before, after, and 6 months following participation in an outdoor program. Most respondents reported major impacts on their personal and intellectual development as well as outdoor recreational and environmental interests. A smaller but substantial minority viewed the experience as significantly affecting their career interest and inclination to contribute community service. This highly positive outlook did not diminish over time. Most respondents reported far greater respect, appreciation, and spiritual connection with nature, and professed a stronger commitment to conservation and stewardship of the environment. Still, the actual degree of change in conservation behavior was limited and diminished over time. Substantial improvements in outdoor skills and interest in biology and natural history were noted. Increases in self-confidence, self-esteem, independence, autonomy, and initiative were reported. Substantial, although less striking, changes were observed in many elements of interpersonal relationship. The benefits reported stem from experiential, outdoor, and integrated components of the wilderness learning experience, which should be incorporated into conventional educational curricula. Appendices present a bibliography of related research, an outline of research variables, the surveys, and an interview. (Contains 73 references and many statistical figures.) (TD)
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Authoring Institution: N/A