Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement
According to Wilderness Inquiry (WI), the ultimate goal of the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures
(UWCA) program is to engage youth in a series of deepening wilderness experiences that will result in a
percentage of these youth becoming environmental leaders. The intermediate goal of Wilderness Inquiry is to improve student academic performance through an
innovative classroom/fieldwork curriculum that uses environmental educational experiences to teach
science, social studies, and language arts.
The purpose of this initial evaluation was to assess the impact of the UWCA Program and the Mississippi
River field trips and on the attitudes and behaviors of fifth through eighth graders in Minneapolis Public
Schools’ summer school program. While the ultimate goal of the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures
(UWCA) program is to improve student academic performance, we limited the scope of the initial
evaluation to five key objectives. We wanted to determine the extent to which the Program: (a) positively influenced students’ attitudes about the river, the environment, and science; (b) improved student attendance during the summer session; (c) advanced the learning objectives of a River‐based curriculum; (d) increased students interest in the natural environment; and, (e) increased students awareness of the river and their personal connection to it.
We also wanted to assess teachers’ level of engagement and the extent to which they believed the
UWCA program affected students.
Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund
as recommended by the Legislative‐Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR)
Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation.
Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement.
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