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Determining the effects of the Junior Master Gardener[sm] program on the environmental attitudes of children
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Environmental education plays a major role in today's society. As pollution destroys clean air and water supplies, deforestation depletes vegetation and biodiversity and energy consumption reaches an all-time high, the earth's natural resources are heading for extinction. The environment is facing a crisis and environmental education is critical to producing citizens capable of making environmentally responsible decisions. The purpose of this study was to determine if a gardening-based curriculum, the Junior Master Gardener[sm] (JMG[sm]) program, could improve the environmental attitudes and locus of control of elementary school students in grades three through five. Six hundred and fifty-four students from Temple Independent School District, in Temple, Texas, participated in this study. Teachers from seven schools volunteered their classes to participate in either the experimental group, which participated in JMG[sm] activities, or the control group, which did not participate in JMG[sm] activities during the 2000-2001 school year. An environmental attitude and locus of control questionnaire measured students' environmental attitudes at the end of the 2000-2001 school year. The questionnaire consisted of statements adapted from three existing instruments. Twenty statements on the questionnaire concerned environmental attitudes and eight statements concerned locus of control as it relates to environmental actions. Additional information concerning students' gender, age, grade, ethnicity, place of residence and previous gardening experience was collected from the questionnaire cover sheet. Teachers in the experimental group were also asked to estimate the number of JMG[sm] activities in which their classes participated. Participation in the JMG[sm] program did not effect environmental attitude or locus of control scores. However, students from both groups exhibited positive environmental attitudes. Demographic comparisons indicated that children with previous gardening experience, either through the JMG[sm] program or another source, scored significantly higher on environmental attitude and locus of control statements than children without gardening experience. Gender and ethnicity also played significant roles in the environmental attitude and locus of control scores. Females scored significantly higher than males on both environmental attitude and locus of control scores. Caucasians scored significantly higher than African-Americans and Hispanics on environmental attitude scores, and Caucasians scored significantly higher than African-Americans on locus of control scores.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 77-84).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Aguilar, Olivia Marie (2002). Determining the effects of the Junior Master Gardener[sm] program on the environmental attitudes of children. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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