5 years ago

Nature-based environmental education of children: Environmental knowledge and connectedness to nature, together, are related to ecological behaviour

The promotion of environmental knowledge is viewed as a fundamental component of environmental education and a necessary prerequisite to ecological behaviour; however, it has little effect on actual behaviour. Nature-based environmental education, which combines the acquisition of environmental knowledge with the promotion of an intrinsic driver, namely connectedness to nature, is proposed as a holistic approach to increase ecological behaviour. This paper evaluates the effect of participation in nature-based environmental education in 4th to 6th graders (N =255). As expected, increased participation in nature-based environmental education was related to greater ecological behaviour, mediated by increases in environmental knowledge and connectedness to nature. While both factors were similarly predicted by participation in nature-based environmental education, connectedness to nature explained 69% and environmental knowledge 2% of the variance in ecological behaviour. However, the design of our data do not evidence the causality of these relations, which are solely based on theoretical assumptions supported by literature. Nevertheless, the importance of fostering both environmental knowledge and connectedness to nature as complementary drivers of ecological behaviour, as offered by nature-based environmental education, should be researched further as a highly promising approach to fostering ecologically-motivated individuals.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0959378016305787

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