|Bogner, FX: The Influence of Short-Term Outdoor Ecology Education on Long-Term Variables of Environmental Perspective, Journal of Environmental Education, 29(4), 17-29 (1998)|
The objective of this study has been an empirical evaluation of the ultimate goal of every environmental and ecological education, i.e. fostering responsible environmental behavior, effecting long-term changes of student's attitude towards conservation and nature as well as gaining basic ecological knowledge. The study surveyed a day-long and a week-long version of an outdoor ecology program which has been established for many years in a National Park. For gathering empirical evidence the study was designed as a pre-post-treatment evaluation, and the post-test was delayed for a one-month period after experiencing such an outdoor education program as well as for a six-month period with a subsample. Both programs fostered the cognitive level of the approx. 700 surveyed students and this was evaluated by using multiple-choice knowledge statements. Similarly, the scores within the subdivision 'Human Altered Nature' increased. Furthermore, the week-long program explicitly provoked favorable shifts in the individual behavior, both actual and intended, a parameter which is generally seen as a complex and long-term process. Comparison of the 'average' pupil population with the one which was enrolled for the outdoor education programs surprisingly revealed a more pro-environmental orientation before any education at the nature site took place: Possible reasons for such a pre-selection and/or pre-sensitizing are discussed.