Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Recreation and Park Administration

First Advisor

Michael J. Bradley

Department Affiliation

Recreation and Park Administration

Second Advisor

Melinda S. Wilder

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Third Advisor

Kelly Watson


A goal of environmental education (EE) is to help instill environmental stewardship in students for the future. Hungerford and Volk (1990) believe environmental stewardship is changing behaviors, values, or beliefs related to human-environment interaction. It is important for people to learn about environmental concepts at a young age, so they will care about them in the future. Eastern Kentucky University’s (EKU) Division of Natural Areas has been conducting EE programming for students K-12 for the past 13 years. The areas utilized for EE programming include Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory in Garrard County, KY or Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Ecological Research Station in Letcher County, KY. Over the years, the curriculum has been updated to improve student engagement and meet the Next Generation Science Standards. The current facilitation of EE programs does not include an assessment of teachers’ perceptions. The purpose of this project is to assess the perceptions of teachers whose classes participate in the EE programs at EKU’s Natural Areas. After students visited and participated in EE programs, their teachers were emailed a survey to assess their perceptions of the EE programs. For instance, if the teachers believe the programs fit into school curriculum, if the teachers feel as if the station leaders were prepared and knowledgeable of the material taught, and if the teachers have any suggestions on changes or improvements to the programs. The results from the survey were positive, but some results suggest EE programming could be improved in some areas. For instance, providing interdisciplinary EE lessons or having more dates for teachers to choose from could be improvements made. The next steps in this research project could be to continue surveying teachers over several semesters and years, and to evaluate the effect of programming on the students.