Science and math achievement scores of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade elementary students were studied using a sample of 196 students from McAuliffe Elementary School, located in McAllen, Texas. Students in the experimental group participated in the Junior Master Gardener™ program in addition to the traditional classroom-based math and science methods. In contrast, students within the control group were taught math and science using only traditional classroom-based methods. No statistically significant differences were found in comparisons of science students' achievement scores, indicating that those students using the Junior Master Gardener™ program as a method to learn science benefited similarly to those who learned using only traditional science classroom-based instruction. However, results indicated statistically significant differences in comparisons of students' math achievement scores showing that those students who received traditional math instruction had more improved math achievement scores compared to those taught using the Junior Master Gardener™ program. Results also found no statistically significant differences between demographic groups indicating that males and females and students from different ethnicities benefited similarly from participation in the Junior Master Gardener™ program.
Adelaide Pigg* and Tina M. Waliczek
Michelle Gorham and Tina M. Waliczek
Today, in many of America's major cities, communal gardening projects have not only yielded produce to their participants, but also a plethora of neighborhood success stories, including feelings of wellbeing, safety, and the beautification of acres of vacant land. According to anecdotal evidence, the presence of a community garden can connect people to the earth, nature, and each other, as well as reduce crime. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship existed between reported property crimes and the presence of inner city community gardens in Houston, Texas. According to the Houston Police Department, property crimes include vandalism, breaking and entering, and burglary. Crime data for reported property crimes from 1995 through 2004 were obtained from the Houston Police Department. The Houston Police Department divides the city into “beats” and property crime rates were determined for each beat. At least one active community garden was targeted for each police beat. Results for the study compared crime rates within a 1/8-mile radius surrounding the community garden and the property crime rate for the entire police beat. In addition to the evaluation of crime data, community garden members were surveyed for thoughts and opinions pertinent to the presence of their particular community garden.
Jennifer Doxey and Tina M. Waliczek
Many individuals and businesses enhance the central design of their homes or offices with living interior plants. While the aesthetic values of interior greenery are obvious, some research has suggested that interior living plants may offer some psychological and restorative values, such as reduced tension, better coping mechanisms, and increased concentration and attention. The main objective of this research was to investigate the impact of plants within a university classroom setting on course performance, course satisfaction, and student perceptions of the instructor. The study was designed to include a minimum of two classes of the same coursework, taught by the same professor in the same room. Three sets of two classes each, and ≈500 students were included within the study. Throughout the semester, the experimental class of students was treated by including an assortment of tropical plants within the classroom. Plants were not present in the control classroom of the study. A survey administered to each classroom of students at the end of the semester asked students to provide demographic data including class rank, gender, and grade point average. The professor for each course provided information on each student's grade for the course, as well as overall quantitative information on how well students were satisfied with the experience they had within the course. The results demonstrate value added to the classroom experience and help to justify consideration of the added expense of interior plants in meeting the goals of instructor and curriculum.
Tina M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek
Children develop their personalities and attitudes at an early age. With children spending 25% of each day in the classroom, schools are a major influence on self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and environmental attitudes. Studies in human issues in horticulture have focused on how gardens affect self-esteem in nontraditional populations but have yet to research children in mainstream school districts. Our main goal was to initiate and integrate an environmental education garden program into the curriculum of several schools in the midwest and Texas. Our objectives included evaluating whether the students participating in the garden program were receiving various emotional, physical, and psychological benefits and whether they were developing positive environmental attitudes as a result of participation in the garden program. The garden program, titled “The Green Classroom,” was designed to provide third-through 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 this study were administered a pretest before participation in the garden program and an identical posttest after its completion. The questionnaire included a psychological inventory, an environmental attitude survey, and a short biographical information section. Comparisons were made between children based on age, ethnic background, gender, and length of garden season. Results examine the relationship between the garden program and self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, attitude toward school, and environmental attitudes of children.
Tina M. Waliczek and J.M. Zajicek
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.
Tina M. Waliczek, Dave Byrne and Don Holeman
Rose (Rosa ×hybrida) breeders historically have bred plants based on what they personally have deemed attractive and traits required by growers to produce the crop successfully. End-user preferences were not formally considered in breeding decisions. The purpose of this study was to investigate growers’ and consumers’ opinions of roses available on the market and preferences for future roses coming into the market. A web-based survey tool was developed to measure the attributes consumers were considering in purchasing and growing rose plants, their knowledge of diseases and pests, and their hopes for new plants coming to market. A link was sent to horticultural group mailing lists as well as distributed through personal e-mail lists, Facebook, and a news release from Texas A&M University. The survey was posted for 4 months. It included ≈66 questions and took 30 minutes or more to complete. More than 2000 responses were received from rose growers and nursery consumers worldwide. The respondents preferred roses that were disease resistant, with fragrant, abundant, red, and everblooming flowers. The ideal height of the preferred rose shrubs was waist to shoulder-height. Differences were found in preferences between experienced rose growers and those who were not affiliated with rose associations on variables such as the need to use chemicals to manage diseases, the importance of foliage glossiness and large vs. small blooms, the value of roses in the garden setting, the level of difficulty roses pose in growing situations, and the willingness to pay more for a rose shrub in comparison with other garden plants. Differences also were found among age groups and preferences for flower color, fragrance, foliage color, and foliage glossiness. This information could be helpful in targeting marketing of roses.
Megan Holmes and Tina M. Waliczek
The average cost of housing a single inmate in the United States is roughly $31,286 per year, bringing the total average cost states spend on corrections to more than $50 billion per year. Statistics show 1 in every 34 adults in the United States is under some form of correctional supervision; and after 3 years, more than 4 in 10 prisoners return to custody. The purpose of this study was to determine the availability of opportunities for horticultural community service and whether there were differences in incidences of recurrences of offenses/recidivism of offenders completing community service in horticultural vs. nonhorticultural settings. Data were collected through obtaining offender profile probation revocation reports, agency records, and community service supervision reports for one county in Texas. The sample included both violent and nonviolent and misdemeanor and felony offenders. Offenders who completed their community service in horticultural or nonhorticultural outdoor environments showed lower rates of recidivism compared with offenders who completed their community service in nonhorticultural indoor environments and those who had no community service. Demographic comparisons found no difference in incidence of recidivism in comparisons of offenders based on gender, age, and the environment in which community service was served. In addition, no difference was shown in incidence of recidivism in comparisons based on offenders with misdemeanor vs. felony charges. The results and information gathered support the continued notion that horticultural activities can play an important role in influencing an offender’s successful reentry into society.
Carol Cammack, Tina M. Waliczek and Jayne M. Zajicek
The Green Brigade horticultural program is a community-based treatment and diversion program for juvenile offenders. The program is used for vocational training and rehabilitation. The objectives of this study were to determine if participation in the Green Brigade program improved the horticultural knowledge and the environmental attitudes of participating juvenile offenders. Participants of the Green Brigade program significantly improved their horticultural knowledge exam scores as a result of participating in the program. Participants also had significant improvements in their environmental attitude scores after completing the program. However, participants attending the Green Brigade program less than 60% of the time had significantly more negative environmental attitude scores than participants attending more frequently. Further analyses showed the program was equally effective at improving environmental attitude scores for all participants regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or grade in school.
Carol Cammack, Tina M. Waliczek and Jayne M. Zajicek
The Green Brigade horticultural program is a community-based treatment and diversion program for juvenile offenders. The objective of this study was to determine if participation in the Green Brigade program improved the self-esteem, locus of control, interpersonal relationships and attitude toward school of participating juvenile offenders. Participants in the Green Brigade program had significantly lower scores than the comparative group on measures of self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and attitude toward school prior to and after completion of the Green Brigade program. Although the Green Brigade participants' scores were significantly lower than the comparative group's scores, the means were still considered `normal' for their age group. However, adolescents participating in coed sessions, where the hands-on activities involved plant materials, displayed more positive interpersonal relationship scores than participants in an all male session where the hands-on activities focused on the installation of hardscape materials and a lack of plant materials. No significant differences were found in rates of repeated crimes of juvenile offenders participating in the Green Brigade program when compared to juvenile offenders participating in traditional probationary programming.
Tina M. Waliczek, Paula S. Williamson and Florence M. Oxley
The purpose of this study was to determine college students’ understanding of invasive species and their support for plant and animal pest control and eradication methods. Surveys were administered at a university and community college in Texas in biology and agriculture departments. A total of 533 respondents participated in the study. Most students said they were not part of any type of environmental organization and felt they were not very informed about invasive species issues. More students reported learning about invasive species in high school than in college courses. The average score on knowledge questions related to invasive and native plants and animals was 32%. Most students underestimated the negative impact of invasive species but many were aware of costs to manage those species. Reliable reported sources of information included environmental organizations, college courses, and the Internet. Pearson product-moment correlations showed positive relationships between students who had college class instruction regarding invasive species and positive attitudes toward management of invasive species. Positive relationships were also found between instruction and an awareness of invasive plants or animals. Respondents who were knowledgeable of invasive species in the community had more positive attitudes toward the management of invasive species. In demographic comparisons, differences were found with males, upperclassmen, and those identifying as Caucasian or other having more knowledge of invasive species and more positive attitudes toward their management.