Effect of School Gardens on Environmental Attitudes of Children

in HortScience
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  • 1 Dept. of Horticultural Science, Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843-2133

Children develop their personalities and attitudes at an early age. With children spending a large portion of their waking hours in the classroom, schools are a major influence on many factors including environmental attitudes. Studies in human issues in horticulture have focused on how gardens and nature affect other variables in children, but few have focused on environmental attitudes of children in mainstream school districts. The main goal of this study was to initiate and integrate an environmental education garden program into the curriculum of several schools in the midwest and Texas. One objective of the research project included evaluating whether the students participating in the garden program developed positive environmental attitudes as a result of participation in the garden program. The garden program, Project Green, was designed to provide thirdthrough eighth-grade teachers some basic garden activities that could be infused into their classroom lessons and would serve to reinforce curriculum in various disciplines with hands-on activities. Eight schools, ≈1000 students, took part in the study. Students participating in the study were administered a pre-test prior to participation in the garden program and an identical post-test after its completion. Comparisons were made between children based on age, ethnic background, gender, and length of garden season. Results examine the relationship between the garden program, environmental attitudes of children and demographic variables.

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