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  • Author or Editor: Sonja M. Skelly x
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Project GREEN (Garden Resources for Environmental Education Now!) is an educational tool to assist in the teaching of environmental education at the elementary school level. Project GREEN is different from many current educational practices because its major goal is to provide an interdisciplinary approach to environmental education by infusing activities centered around a hands-on tool, “the garden.” The main goal of this project included evaluating whether students participating in Project GREEN were developing positive environmental attitudes. Three schools throughout Texas participated in the study. Approximately 200 students were evaluated; 100 participants served as the experimental group and 100 non-participants served as the control group. Students were evaluated using the Children's Environmental Response Inventory (CERI), which measures students' attitudes about nature and human dominance over nature. This questionnaire also contained a section for biographical information. Comparisons were made between the experimental and control groups, as well as between gender, age, ethnicity, and time in the garden. Results examine the relationship between the garden program and environmental attitudes for both control and experimental groups.

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Project GREEN (Garden Resources for Environmental Education Now) is a garden program designed to help teachers integrate environmental education into their classroom using a hands-on tool, the garden. The objectives of this research project were to 1) develop an interdisciplinary garden activity guide to help teachers integrate environmental education into their curricula and 2) evaluate whether children developed positive environmental attitudes by participating in the activities. Students participating in the Project GREEN garden program had more positive environmental attitude scores than those students who did not participate. Second-grade students in the experimental and control groups had more positive environmental attitudes than fourth-grade students. In addition, this research found a significant correlation between the number of outdoor related activities students had experienced and their environmental attitudes.

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While gardening is the number one hobby in the United States, elementary schools are just beginning to explore the use of school gardens as a means to enhance classroom learning. School gardens can reinforce classroom instruction by offering opportunities for experiential learning. The benefits of experiential learning allow for a better understanding of concepts as the hands-on approach provides meaningful and tangible experiences. While many teachers have anecdotally attested to the benefits of school gardens, there is little empirical evidence documenting their impact. In Fall 1997, the University of Florida hosted a competition for the best elementary school garden in Florida. Results from a research questionnaire completed by participating teachers indicated that teachers used school gardens infrequently, with the majority using the garden as an instructional tool no more than 10% of the time. Many teachers did, however, indicate that school gardens were used for environmental education (97.1%) and experiential learning (72.9%), and 84.3 % of teachers said that related activities enhanced student learning. Findings also indicate that the teachers surveyed had relatively new gardens and teachers lacked, or were unaware of educational resources to assist with garden learning. This paper describes and interprets the results of the teacher questionnaire.

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