Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Susan Rauchwerk

Second Advisor

Nicole Weber

Third Advisor

Marianne Krasny


Over the past 10 years, urban ecosystems have gained attention and interest among environmental education scholars and practitioners alike. This is thought to be due to increased awareness of the growing human population, the percentage of land across the world now classified as urban, and an overall understanding that urban systems are unique ecological systems worthy of their own approach to environmental education programming. To date, much urban environmental education in urban systems has focused on program participant outcomes—social, emotional, and academic.

This mixed-methods study introduces a middle-range framework through which to understand the instructional practice of environmental educators who teach in urban ecosystems. This study explored the ways in which urban environmental educators who teach in urban green spaces think about and approach their work from the perspective of teaching practice, teaching methods, and programmatic content. Participants consisted of a small (12) case-study group of environmental educators in one city, plus a large (96) nationwide sample.

Findings show no one central instructional practice or teaching method employed by urban environmental educators. Although urban environmental educators drew on a myriad of instructional approaches and methods, they primarily approached their work through the lens of ecological literacy, science education, and applied conservation. The results reveal a wide range of content areas addressed in urban environmental education programs. This study provides an overview of practice and brings to light some questions about instructional or programmatic intentions versus realities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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