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Examining Links between Connections to Nature and Intentions for Pro-Environmental Behavior as Outcomes of NOLS

Julia Baird, Garrett Hutson, Ryan Plummer


Reconnecting to nature is imperative for the sustainability of the planet and outdoor experiential programs are an ideal context to operationalize and study sustainability interventions. The purpose of this research is two-fold. First, we investigate the extent to which types of connections to nature are expressed by participants who completed an outdoor experiential NOLS course in the western United States. Second, we examine the extent to which a connection to nature includes a future intention to engage in pro-environmental behavior. This research affirms, empirically, the intention of NOLS to foster an environmental ethic. Key findings provide insights into how some connection themes (e.g., concern and protection) may have more potential to engender future positive intentions than others (e.g., beauty and appreciation). Albeit exploratory in orientation, it is a first important step in empirically establishing relationships between types of nature connections experienced in NOLS and future stewardship actions.

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connectedness to nature; environmental stewardship; NOLS; pro-environmental behaviour; sense of place

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