Do Children Increase Their Environmental Consciousness During Summer Camp? A Comparison of Two Programs


  • Margaret Ann Garner East Carolina University
  • Elizabeth Doster Taft East Carolina University
  • Cheryl L. Stevens East Carolina University (retired)


environmental consciousness, environmental education, connection with nature, organized camping, attitudes and behaviors


This study explored how children attending two similar residential summer camps responded to questions related to four environmental constructs: connection with nature, environmental stewardship, interest in environmental learning and discovery, and knowledge and awareness of environmental and ecological issues (i.e., environmental consciousness). One Camp (Camp A) engaged children in intentional environmental education programming;; the other camp (Camp B) did not. Camp A children's scores increased significantly from pre- to post-camp on two constructs (interest in learning and knowledge of issues). Camp B children's scores did not change. Implications for practitioners and future research are discussed. This study has many limitations that affect the ability to generalize the results to a broader population. These limitations include certain differences between the two camps and the nature of their respective participants; selfselection by the participants rather than random assignment to each camp; unequal sample sizes; and the low reliability of one of the indices comprising the survey instrument. Thus, the study should be viewed as exploratory and as a platform for future research projects designed to mitigate or eliminate these limitations.



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