Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Experiential and hands-on learning are important for any effective educational environment, and when combined with natural elements that can stimulate students' senses to enhance their learning, these educational methods may have a profound effect (Louv, 2008). The Sully's Hill Nature Education Program (SHNEP) allows fifth-grade students at Central Middle School in Devils Lake, North Dakota, to learn in an outdoor setting.
The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between Devils Lake fifth graders and sixth graders who participate(d) in the Sully's Hill Nature Education Program (SHNEP), and those students who have not participated in the program, regarding their academic achievement in math, language, and science as well as their individual perceptions of nature appreciation, environmental awareness, and overall well-being. The researcher reviewed math, language, and science and examined student attendance data. The researcher also surveyed fifth and sixth-grade students at the middle school to gain their perceptions of nature appreciation, environmental awareness, and overall well-being. The students who had not participated in the SHNEP acted as the control group.
Results from the study indicated statistical significance (p < .005) in the differences in student perceptions in all three areas of nature appreciation, environmental awareness, and well-being between students who were involved in the program and those educated in the traditional setting. Academically, math scores grew at a higher rate for students involved in SHNEP; however, language and science scores were equal to those educated in the traditional setting. School attendance for SHNEP students also showed to be superior in comparison to that of traditional classroom students. The findings from this study suggest incorporating daily nature education into elementary school classrooms to increase student appreciation for nature, environmental awareness, and overall well-being and a recommendation is made to develop similar programs throughout the world.
Schlenker, Jared Duane, "Academic Achievement And Perceptions Of Nature Appreciation, Environmental Awareness, And Well-Being Of Participants In Sully's Hill Nature Education Program" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 1708.