Title page for ETD etd-04142005-104733

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Somers, Rachel L.
URN etd-04142005-104733
Title Putting Down Roots in Environmental Literacy: A Study of Middle School Students' Participation in Louisiana Sea Grant's Coastal Roots Project
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Curriculum & Instruction
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
James H. Wandersee Committee Chair
Earl Cheek Committee Member
Edward W. Bush Committee Member
  • environmental education
  • wetland educational programs
Date of Defense 2005-04-07
Availability unrestricted
Few people realize that in Louisiana land is lost to open water at about a rate of 24 square miles a year, faster than anywhere else in the world (Barras, Beville, Britsch, Hartley, Hawes, Jonston, Kemp, Kinler, Martucci, Porthouse, Reed, Roy, Sapkota, & Suhayda, 2003). Not only is the public low to moderately environmentally literate, there is a need to reach students early on to ensure the greatest benefit. This is the main reason why Louisiana Sea Grant°¶s Coastal Roots Wetland Seedling Nursery Project (Coastal Roots) came into inception. The goal of the project is to improve environmental literacy of participating students, by fostering a sense of ownership through raising wetland plants. An environmentally literate person combines his/her knowledge of ecology with values that will lead to action (Morrone, Mancl, & Carr, 2001).

The addition of a formal education component to Coastal Roots was needed increase students°¶ environmental knowledge. Therefore, six lesson plans were developed by the researcher to give students a broad view of Louisiana wetland habitats and deltaic geology and administered by teachers in three middle schools. The 7 and 8 grade classes were purposefully selected based on roughly equivalent ability of the teacher and students. Teachers were observed teaching lessons to their treatment classes. Students were pretest and posttested and 4 treatment students from each school participated in a group clinical interview. Pretest and posttest results were examined using the statistical randomized block design with repeated measures showed a significant (t ɨ 0.0001) improvement of knowledge for the treatment group. There was no statistical difference among schools or between grade levels of students. The results from the qualitative dimensions support the classroom-tested, innovative unit materials developed for this study appear to be applicable to similar environmental science learning situation throughout the Deep South. These results supports the hypothesis that included educational unit can improve the environmental literacy of students°¶ participation in Coastal Roots.

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