Activities and Impacts
In the rural community, analyses documented significant increases in students’ environmental sensitivity, environmentally responsible behaviors, community attachment, and civic efficacy (Gallay, Marckini-Polk, Schroeder, & Flanagan, 2016). However, urban youth, especially those in low-income communities, have fewer opportunities to enjoy nature and the dependence of their community’s wellbeing on natural systems may be less obvious. Nonetheless, analyses before and after participation in the stewardship projects for 175 urban students point to significant increases in:
• Awareness of nature as part of the urban ecology and of human impact on the environment;
• Confidence in their capacities to gather/analyze data and make plans to address environmental issues;
• Knowledge of adults and organizations dedicated to improving the local community;
• Sense of efficacy in communicating with and organizing others to care about the environment;
• Beliefs that solving environmental problems takes a team effort, including working with people with whom they disagree; and
• Knowledge about ways to improve water quality, in positive attitudes toward science content and in interest in a job that involves using science.