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ERIC Number: EJ1115677
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1306-3065
Teachers' Perspectives on Contributions of a Prairie Restoration Project to Elementary Students' Environmental Literacy
Shume, Teresa
International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, v11 n12 p5331-5348 2016
Place-based environmental education draws on childhood experiences in nature that foster place-conscious connections to the local bioregion, and intentionally cultivate children's relationships with nature on a trajectory toward increased environmental literacy. Even though opportunities for children to bond with the local natural environment are paramount for developing responsible environmental behavior and ultimately an environmentally literate citizenry, few elementary schools prioritize such experiences. The present study focused on a place-based approach to developing environmental literacy through elementary students' participation in a prairie restoration project. The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' perspectives on how a prairie restoration project impacted elementary students' environmental literacy. Based in an interpretive paradigm, this qualitative case study involved seven teacher-participants from two schools, and drew on data collected from field trip observations, classroom observations, interviews, and artifacts over a span of one academic year. Findings indicated that teachers' fostered six components of environmental literacy through the prairie restoration project: feeling at ease in nature, appreciation and respect for nature, wonder and curiosity, awareness of ecological interdependence, sense of agency to restore nature, and responsibility and service toward environmental protection. Two or three of these empirically-derived themes corresponded with each stage of David Sobel's three-stage model for the development of place-based relationships between children and nature. The correspondence between Sobel's model and the study's six themes resulted in a promising framework to support curriculum design by providing focal points for particular dimensions of each stage of Sobel's model. Placed-based approaches like the prairie restoration project can foster valuable components of children's relationships with nature on a trajectory toward increased environmental literacy.
LOOK Academic Publishers. Knobbelzwaansingel 211 Den Haag 2496LN, Netherlands. Tel: 31-20-217-0912; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A