Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement
The Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) Program provides a continuum of experiences for youth and families that are designed to engage all participants in a life‐long relationship with the outdoors and also encourages environmental awareness and leadership development. The UWCA seeks to fill a gap in the outdoor industry by reaching, engaging, and serving underserved, low and middle income urban youth and families.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI) have collaborated with Wilderness Inquiry and its partners since spring 2010 to evaluate the UWCA. CAREI evaluators collected data from an array of sources in 2012. We reviewed more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, conducted in‐depth interviews with young adults with long term involvement, and analyzed the responses of more than 1,100 students, teachers, and youth leaders to prepare this report.
The 2012 UWCA Evaluation investigated the outcomes of three UWCA activities this year:
1) The Minneapolis Public Schools’ Summer School Mississippi River trip; 2) Washburn High School’s at‐risk students’ involvement with one UWCA trip; and, 3) AVID student’s participation in three UWCA trips.
Our findings consistently demonstrate that regardless of the specific program or modification the participants received numerous personal, social, and academic benefits through UWCA trip participation. Many of the variables that influenced these benefits have been identified during our data analyses. The research we initiated before the 2012 evaluation supports findings we observed in earlier evaluations, whether the data was collected from students, teachers, or former youth participants.
Major funding for this evaluation was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Education Grants Program and by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative‐Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).
Sheldon, Timothy; Daugherty, Martha.
Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures Evaluation: 2012.
Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement.
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