Auto-Ethnography: My Environmental Educational Journey And What Is Society Doing Or Not Doing To Environmentally Educate Its Citizenry?


Summer 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Walter W. Enloe

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Kimberly Byrd

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Kevin J. McCalib


“Environmental education makes for a better environment” is a quote I termed and will commonly use throughout this capstone to describe the importance of environmental education. It is my belief that our society does not environmentally educate its citizenry until after the fact. Meaning, until there is an environmental problem does society understand, if they really even do, the importance and significance of their relationship to and with the natural environment. My capstone will use a qualitative research methodology using a professional opinion questionnaire by asking environmental educators from the state of Minnesota and across North America a range of questions about how their knowledge and experiences have informed them about environmental education regarding, “What is our society doing or not doing to environmentally educate its citizenry?” Because, “We are one people on one planet with one destiny.” 1

This capstone will tell my environmental educational journey known in an auto- ethnography manner. Meaning, I will tell my story about how I became environmentally educated/environmentally literate. In the 1970s when there were no known conventional academic environmental studies programs, I had to seek out non-conventional ways to become environmentally educated. From taking wilderness courses with the National Outdoor Leadership School to wilderness traveling on my own to being involved in the environmental movement and environmental organizations to reading books by John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Barry Commoner and Barry Lopez to listening to music by The Paul Winter Group, I began to realize there was a natural world I wanted to get to know about. Harry Callahan once said, “Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.” 2 In a way, there began my journey to become environmentally educated and environmentally literate.

Research Methodology

Survey (attitude scale, opinion, questionnaire), Auto-ethnology: Qualitative


Environmental Studies, Leadership, Learning Styles, Reflective Practice, Auto-ethnology

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