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Research, sustainability and learning
Bridging the gap between science and the practice of learning for nature, the environment and sustainability
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The Role of Zoos in Fostering Environmental Identity

The Role of Zoos in Fostering Environmental Identity | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

Susan Clayton, 1 John Fraser, 2 and Claire Burgess 3

 

1 Department of Psychology, The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio.

2 Institute for Learning Innovation, New York, New York.

3 Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

 

As locations where social interactions center on animals, zoos may enable the development of an environmental identity that encourages concern for animals. Two field studies of zoo visitors assessed the level of concern for animals and predictors of that concern and looked for behaviors that might foster identity and concern.

 

In one study, 1514 adult visitors were surveyed and 265 different visitors were observed. Environmental identity, sense of connection to the animal, and perceived similarity to the animal were all correlated with interest in conservation and general environmental concern. Although there were no significant differences in survey responses before entering an exhibit compared with those obtained as visitors were exiting, responses differed according to exhibit. Exhibits where more comparisons to humans were made tended to evoke higher ratings of support for helping animals.

 

A second study recorded

interactions among 805 visitor groups. The data suggested that viewing the animals was primarily a social activity, which served to promote social interaction and, in some cases, enabled discussion about a shared conception of the human relationship with animals.

 

We conclude that zoos provide an opportunity to create and nurture a social identity that emphasizes connection to animals

 

Download this article: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/eco.2010.0079

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Children who spend three-quarters of their time in sedentary behavior have up to nine times poorer motor coordination than active peers

Children who spend three-quarters of their time in sedentary behavior have up to nine times poorer motor coordination than active peers | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

American Journal of Human Biology

 

The study, involving Portuguese children, found that physical activity alone was not enough to overcome the negative effect of sedentary behaviour on basic motor coordination skills such as walking, throwing or catching, which are considered the building blocks of more complex movements.

 

"Childhood is a critical time for the development of motor coordination skills which are essential for health and well-being," said lead author Dr Luis Lopes, from the University of Minho. "We know that sedentary lifestyles have a negative effect on these skills and are associated with decreased fitness, lower self-esteem, decreased academic achievement and increased obesity."

 

Dr Lopes' team studied 110 girls and 103 boys aged nine to ten from 13 urban elementary schools. The children's sedentary behaviour and physical activity were objectively measured with accelerometers (a small device that children attach to their waist that quantifies movement counts and intensities) over five consecutive days. Motor coordination was evaluated with the KTK test (Körperkoordination Test für Kinder), which includes balance, jumping laterally, hopping on one leg over an obstacle and shifting platforms.

 

The tests were supplemented with a questionnaire for parents to assess health variables, before the authors compiled the results into three models to calculate odd ratios for predicting motor coordination. These were adjusted for physical activity, accelerometer wear time, waist to height ratio and home variables.

 

Read more http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815082723.htm

 

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International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education is freely available for one week!

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education is freely available for one week! | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

The issue of sustainability in a higher education context is, to some extent, a rather recent theme. Current journals are either focusing on sustainable development or on general higher education. There are no specific fully-refereed outlets to date, to disseminate the broad body of work and knowledge currently available on sustainability in a higher education context. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (IJSHE) is therefore the first scholarly publication to specifically address the need for the dissemination of this information.

 

Persons and organisations interested in sustainability in higher education, may access all issues published in the journal, free of charge, for the period 30th January - 5th February 2012, by following this link:

http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=1467-6370

 

and using the following log-in details:

Username: Environ2012
Password: emerald

 

Further details about the journal and instructions for authors can be accessed at:
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/ijshe.htm

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Living and Learning Sustainability in Higher Education: A Research Study on Indicators of Social Learning

Living and Learning Sustainability in Higher Education: A Research Study on Indicators of Social Learning | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

by Ingrid Mulà (2011)

 

Higher education institutions not only provide research and policy in sustainability, but also create and facilitate environments for students and staff to develop their understanding and responses to sustainability. Sustainability learning opportunities in higher education are often thought to occur only in formal settings - facilitated by educators and lecturers in a classroom. This research looks at the learning which occurs within the informal and social contexts of higher education institutions. This study refers to this learning as 'social learning'.

 

The research was conducted at three universities in the UK which had made and explicit commitment to sustainability. Through a critical collaborative inquiry, this research sought to capture and document lived experiences of staff (academic, administrative and support) which were informed by social learning opportunities regarding sustainability within these institutions. This research will ultimately construct indicators as a basis for benchmarking practice which can help universities improve their contribution of social learning in the attainment of sustainability.

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Connecting to nature at the zoo implications for responding to climate change

Societal response to climate change has been inadequate. A perception that the issue is both physically and temporally remote may reduce concern; concern may also be affected by the political polarization surrounding the issue in the USA. A feeling of connection to nature or to animals may increase personal relevance, and a supportive social context may counteract political tensions. Zoos may provide opportunities for both sense of connection and social support. We surveyed over 7000 zoo and aquarium visitors to examine the ways in which a feeling of personal connection among zoo visitors may encourage concern about climate change. Results show that feeling connected to animals at the zoo is significantly associated with cognitive and emotional responses to climate change, as well as with other social groupings and social responses. Overall, the zoo seems to present a supportive social context for considering the topic.

 

Susan Clayton , Jerry Luebke , Carol Saunders , Jennifer Matiasek & Alejandro Grajal , Environmental Education Research (2013): Connecting to nature at the zoo: implications for responding to climate change, Environmental Education Research, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2013.816267


To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2013.816267

 

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Indigenous Environmental Education for Cultural Survival

Indigenous Environmental Education for Cultural Survival | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

Canadian Journal of Environmental Education (CJEE) | 2002

 

Aboriginal Peoples are facing a number of serious and complex environmental issues within their territories. Post-secondary environmental education programs in Canada have been slow to adopt curriculum and develop programs to meet the needs of Aboriginal students and their communities. This manuscript outlines necessary components of successful Indigenous environmental education programs at the postsecondary level based on the author’s participation in three such programs as a program developer/director, curriculum developer and instructor, the current literature and in addition to her experiences as an Anishinaabe student studying western science.

 

by Leanne Simpson

Trent University, Canada

 

Download the full article at: http://new-library.lakeheadu.ca/index.php/cjee/article/view/271

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EE might integrate personal growth and fostering pro-environmental behavior

EE might integrate personal growth and fostering pro-environmental behavior | Research, sustainability and learning | Scoop.it

Outdoor Adventure Education (OAE) are programs designed to enhance leadership and personal growth through challenging experiences in nature, including rock climbing, sailing, and kayaking. Participants in OAE often report that they were transformed by their experiences, but little is known about how such transformations occur.

 

D'Amato and Krasny interviewed 23 former OAE participants to explore how their significant experiences enhanced their personal growth and to a lesser degree their pro-environmental behaviors. By interpreting the data through the lens of transformative learning theory, these researchers found that participants attribute the most meaningful experiences to "living in pristine nature, experiencing a different lifestyle, being part of the course community, and dealing with the intensity and challenges of the course." Interview results also suggest that OAE courses "might integrate personal growth with instrumental learning to better foster environmental behaviors post-course."

 

SOURCE: D'Amato, L. G., and M. E. Krasny. 2011. Outdoor adventure education: applying transformative learning theory to understanding instrumental learning and personal growth in environmental education. Journal of environmental education 42:237-253.

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