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ERIC Number: EJ1168209
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1948-5123
Connectedness to Nature and Life Satisfaction among College Outdoor Program Staff
Frauman, Eric; Shaffer, Francesca
Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, v9 n2 p240-243 2017
Ecologists have long theorized about humans' psychological relationship to the natural world. The importance of feeling connected to nature is a theme in the writing of ecologists (Leopold, 1949; Orr, 1994; Roszak, 1995). They have argued that this connection to nature is a key component of fostering ecological behavior. In a meta-analysis of the relationship between nature connectedness and happiness, Capaldi, Dopko, and Zelenski (2014) found that people who are more connected to nature tend to experience greater life satisfaction compared to those who are less connected to nature. Nonacademic college outdoor programs (OPs) have flourished in recent decades, with hundreds of OPs throughout the United States. OPs provide structured training and leadership opportunities for students interested in facilitating outdoor recreation experiences for others. Historically the emphasis of college OPs has been on facilitating adventure-based opportunities, although recent calls from organizational bodies such as the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) and Wilderness Education Association have emphasized "promoting ecologically sound stewardship of the natural environment" ( and "education in the preservation of this country's wild land areas" ( Given the increasing attention toward stewardship education in OPs, and the ever present and often "doom and gloom" reality of deteriorating environmental conditions across the globe, it seems important to examine how connectedness to nature (CN; Mayer & Frantz, 2004) is related to life satisfaction, particularly since OPs have the ability to influence not only their staff CN via training and field initiatives but ultimately the CN of people who participate in OP adventures. Unlike other environmental scales that measure more cognitive beliefs (e.g., New Environmental Paradigm [see Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones, 2000]), the CN measure is "designed to tap an individual's affective, experiential connection to nature" (Mayer & Frantz, 2004, p. 504). As such, the primary purpose of this paper was to examine OP staff CN and how it relates to life satisfaction, with the working theory that OP staff high in CN will express greater life satisfaction than OP staff lower in CN.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A