WKU faculty and students deliver environmental education programs to homeschool students
- Friday, September 30th, 2022
Two faculty members in the School of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport at WKU, Dr. Allie McCreary (Recreation, Park, and Nonprofit Administration) and Dr. Jean Chen (Physical Education) recently received a Quick Turn-Around Grant from the College of Health and Human Services to study the impact of environmental education on homeschool students’ connectedness to nature. There is a growing body of research that supports the idea that time in nature, whether active or passive, can yield numerous benefits, such as stress reduction, improved physical health, enhanced social skills, and a deeper connection to, and appreciation for, the natural world. Much of this existing research is conducted in summer camp or traditional public school settings. Drs. McCreary and Chen aim to explore the impacts of outdoor education and physical activity on homeschool students’ environmental perceptions, knowledge of environmental science concepts, and their connection to nature. Using funding from the College, four WKU students: Andre Pate (graduate student in Recreation & Sport Administration), Lindsey Moore (graduate student in Recreation & Sport Administration), Farrah Castleman (sophomore in Physical Education) and MJ Moles (sophomore in Recreation, Park, and Nonprofit Administration) have worked with McCreary and Chen to develop a series of ten environmental education programs. The WKU faculty and students deliver these programs through weekly sessions with homeschool students from the region focusing on topics such as forestry, gardening, mammal study, birding, and weather. A pre/post survey design will allow the WKU team to understand how the programs influence various aspects of the homeschool students’ knowledge and opinions about the environment.
The environmental education sessions are being held at the WKU McChesney Field Campus, a 137-acre property northeast of Bowling Green situated along the Green River. The site features trails, geologic features, and an indoor/outdoor classroom space. The property was donated to the university by the McChesney family who envisioned that the space would become an extension of the university and create opportunities for learning about and protecting the land.
WKU students discuss “Leave No Trace,” low-impact camping practices with homeschool students from the region.