Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Research into Action: Getting Back to Nature

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Research into Action: Getting Back to Nature

Article excerpt

Introduction

Environmental education is an outgrowth of nature study and can be traced back to the origins of Western civilization. Americans' awareness about environmental issues is positively impacted by frequent contact with natural areas and open spaces. Park and recreation professionals play an important role in providing that frequent contact.

Impact of this Research

Environmental sensitivity and environmentally responsible behavior are outcomes of one of the most frequently used models of environmental education. Furthermore, responsible behavior is the key outcome of environmental education. Responsible behavior suggests that people have acquired skills or attitudes on three levels. Entry level is an empathetic perspective toward the environment such as developing affection for a particular area or activity. The ownership level makes environmental issues very personal and includes a clear understanding of issues as well as a personal investment in the issue. Finally, the empowerment level allows one to believe that he or she can make a difference.

Park and recreation professionals have the opportunity to enhance and reinforce environmental education that occurs in other settings. Research suggests that the public is still lacking in knowledge of ecological constructs, environmental problems, and environmental issues. An increasing urban population removes children from the natural world and alters students' interaction with plants and animals.

How to Use this Research

Get young people into natural areas as often as possible for as long as possible. …

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