Type of Document Dissertation Author Murray, Renee R. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04132008-125651 Title Community Science: Process, Procedure and Analysis of a Community Environmental Education Outreach Initiative Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Middle and Secondary Education, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Alejandro Gallard Committee Chair Kenneth Goldsby Committee Member Paul Ruscher Committee Member Sherry Southerland Committee Member Keywords
- Science Education
- Surface Water
- Ground Water
- Storm Water
- Water Quality
- Tallahassee Florida
- Leon County
- Community Outreach
- Citizen Science
- Nonpoint Source
Date of Defense 2008-03-20 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
This dissertation research consisted of the development, implementation and assessment of a community environmental education outreach initiative in support of a lake restoration project in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A. This study focused on a community of 4,600 residential homes, where specific environmental concerns had resulted from the eutrophication of lakes within their neighborhood caused by nonpoint source pollution. The significance of this research was that it demonstrated that environmental educators can effectively provide accurate, timely, and relevant information on specific community projects. This is a challenge facing educators and project managers across the country on a project-by-project basis. This research implemented and examined various educational outreach techniques and assessed their effectiveness in informing and motivating community members.
The educational component of this project consisted of a multi-faceted approach to reach residents of the Killearn Lakes community. Components included; an educational web site (http://www.killearnlakes.org/); bimonthly newsletters to residents; educational outreach booths at community events; neighborhood school outreach initiatives and coordination with other education/information providers in the region. The purpose of the educational component was to inform residents how individuals make a difference in sustaining acceptable water quality of their lakes. The research was situated in the assertion that providing relevant educational material to the target community will translate into ecologically beneficial behaviors leading to the improvement of water quality in Lake Iamonia, the ultimate receiving water body of this neighborhood’s stormwater runoff. The assessment phase was performed through administering, analyzing and interpreting results from a detailed survey.
The analysis demonstrated that the use of an interdisciplinary approach of environmental education can make a sustainable positive impact in a community and its environmental management efforts. The underlying message was that individuals can understand the relevance of scientific issues in their lives, which in turns enhances the willingness of individuals to participate in efforts toward betterment of their community. This project demonstrated that community-gain can be achieved from presenting quality comprehensive environmental education outreach. Survey results demonstrated that concerted outreach techniques can see gains in the target population’s understanding of environmental best management practices and that, at least for some, this understanding translates into increased implementation of these practices on a personal level.
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