First Advisor

Michael Flower

Date of Publication

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science


Science Teaching




Ecological literacy, Place-based education, Youth -- Leadership, Environmental protection -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Ecology -- Study and teaching (Elementary), Environmental education, Science -- Study and teaching -- Environmental aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 113 p.) : ill. (some col.)


UNESCO established Sustainability Education as a top priority when it declared 2005 - 2014 to be the global decade for sustainability. Sustainability education can be implemented in outdoor programs such as nature summer camps in order to build environmental stewardship and ecological literacy in counselors and campers. This study sought to determine the extent to which an ecology and leadership training given to assistant counselors at Tryon Creek State Natural Area day camp achieved the goals of sustainability education--for the assistant counselors to learn about ecology, develop stewardship attitudes and behaviors toward the environment, and become positive role models for the campers in their care. Knowledge and environmental stewardship attitudes and behaviors of the counselors were assessed using surveys, interviews, and training journals. A statistically significant difference was found between pre and posttest scores on a survey measuring knowledge of Pacific Northwest ecology, but no significant difference was found between the pre and posttest scores on an environmental attitudes survey, possibly due to a ceiling effect. Interviews revealed that participants learned about invasive species, Oregon flora and fauna, and stream ecology over the summer. Despite the results on the attitudes survey, interviewees reported greater environmental awareness at the end of the summer as well as a greater sense of place in nature and a desire to continue working with children in an outdoor setting.


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Portland State University. Center for Science Education

Persistent Identifier