“NO NATURE, NO HUMAN”: EXAMINING ENVIRONMENTAL LEARNING AT AN EARTH EDUCATION SUMMER CAMP
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Nonformal environmental education programs seek to educate youth about the natural environment while simultaneously engaging them with the outdoors. Although extensive research has analyzed the outcomes of such programs, an understanding of what environmental learning (EL) experiences are most meaningful to learners is lacking. Recognizing this need, this study investigated how Sunship Earth™, an earth education summer camp program, contributes to participants’ EL experiences in three learning domains: cognitive, affective, and behavioural. A secondary objective was to understand how these experiences influence participants after the program. Learning experiences were documented using surveys and parent interviews. Results suggest that Sunship Earth™ provides learning opportunities for children to enhance their knowledge about the environment through hands-on learning activities. Campers also reported feeling more connected to and concerned about the natural environment immediately after camp. Finally, some participants adopted environmentally responsible behaviours 2-3 months after the program.