University-Facilitated Environmental Club Influences on Upper-Elementary Hispanic Students' Knowledge, Agency, and Ecological Worldviews of Distal Environmental Issues
Keywords:ecological worldview, elementary education, environmental education, non-formal education, university partnership
Twenty-seven upper-elementary Hispanic studentsliving in a land-locked Texas community participated in a year-long after-school environmental club led by university personnel,which focused on endangered marine species and oceanicconservation. Usingaconvergent mixed-methods intervention design includingNew Ecological Paradigm (NEP) surveys and journals, this studyexaminedthe participating students’ changes in knowledge, understandings and agencyaround ecological issues. Findings demonstrate students’significant ecocentric growth in NEP areas ofEarth’s ecological limits and catastrophes, as well as knowledge gainsabouthow human activities are impacting oceanic environments.Theyreported greater perceptions of agencyto redress anthropogenicactivities affecting the abiotic (but not biotic) factors of the oceanic ecosystem.Overall, this study suggests that club settings can be effective educative and socially reinforcing spaces forenvironmentalvalues and fosteringecocentric views.