Date of Award

6-2010

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Recreation, Parks and Tourism Management

Advisor

Jeff Jacobs

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the change, and the factors influencing the change, in the participant’s affinity for nature resulting from an environmental education experience. In addition, this study also examined the change and factors of change in aspects of the participant’s affinity for nature that directly relate to marine and coastal resources and environments. An adapted version of the Affinity for Nature scale, an outcome measuring instrument used by the American Camp Association was used to collect data from participants (n=529) at Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School and Camp Ocean Pines, whose experience included an overnight component and a marine science component in the curriculum. Comparisons of overall mean scores were used to determine if affinity for nature changed due to participation in the environment education program. Analysis of variance was used to determine which participant characteristic and experiential variables had a significant influence on affinity for nature index scores. Findings indicated that participation in environmental education experience had a positive change on affinity for nature scores. Residence, ethnicity/language, and gender were also found to significantly influence sense of community various affinity for nature index scores.