Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair
Secondary Advisor/Reader One
Kelly Schuette Dreier
The goal of this capstone was to find the means to engage inner city youth in outdoor experiences that would help them form a deep connection to nature. The research question that I focused on was: how can national parks, native plant nurseries, and school districts work together to inspire inner city youth to become active stewards of the natural world? The analysis of the literature review guided me to find one possible answer, which is to develop and implement a student-centered pollinator curriculum in partnership with the national parks, native plant nurseries, and school districts. The pollinator curriculum is founded on four important elements: student-centered pedagogy, relevant science content, positive youth development, and community engagement in the form of environmental stewardship. The curriculum that I created provides an interactive way for students to explore the relationships among plants, people, and pollinators through hands-on activities in their classroom and in a national park. The pollinator program is divided into three parts. The first section is the school pre-site visit, where park rangers and nursery educators meet the students and introduce the key concepts of the program. The second section consists of a native plant nursery field trip located within or near a national park. The third section is the school post-site visit, where park rangers and nursery educators return to the school to help students develop further leadership skills. Students then take the lead in designing a pollinator garden in their school or home community. The pollinator program engages students in fun kinesthetic activities that help students visualize concepts through real life scenarios in natural settings. It will strengthen communities by helping youth form close connections to nature. The pollinator program will also give youth the opportunity to develop leadership skills that will benefit them throughout their lives
Huerta Ortiz, Elizabeth, "Connecting Environmental Stewardship, Youth Development, And Community Engagement, Through A Student-Centered Pollinator Curriculum" (2017). School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations. 4333.