Capstone/Dissertation Title

Nature centers: how are they adjusting to meet graduation standards?

Term

2012

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Abstract

This capstone examines how nature centers in a large metropolitan area include graduation standards in program curriculum. A qualitative case study of a local park district is performed by interviewing supervisors of four nature centers and two higher-level administrators. The respondents were asked to identify whether or not teachers choose nature center field trips because the program meets a specific graduation standard or benchmark. The majority of respondents indicated that standards were not a priority when arranging a nature center program. In the city, standards were an important tool for justifying field trips, however. At the time of writing, the Park District is in the process of aligning all school programs with state science standards. The proactive approach taken by the Park District may be a valuable tool for recruiting teachers to bring their students on nature center field trips.

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