The purpose of this project was to create a curriculum that connects participants
to nature by incorporating elements of both adventure education (i.e. mountain biking,
kayaking, hiking, etc.) into an interpretive program, as well as creating nature
connectedness (attentional deployment, sounds, identification, etc.) within participants.
As needed, it can be adjusted for experience level of participants and knowledge of
local ecology dependent on the provider. The goal of adding these two subjects of
outdoor education together, was to enhance nature connectedness, comfortability,
skills, knowledge, and behavior within participants. The theoretical basis for this
program was based upon a nature connectedness, interpretation, and adventure
education. These theories are: Nature Connectedness (Schultz, 2002); Constructivist
Learning (Dewey, 1938; Piaget, 1972; Vygotsky, 1980); 15 Principles for Interpretation
(Beck & Cable, 2011 p.17); Optimal Arousal Learning (Berlyne, 1968 & Eysenck, 1982);
Risk (Ewert, Sibthorp, 2014); Cognitive Behavioral Change/Self Efficacy (Bandura,
1977); Pedagogy Learning (Rozenkranz,1989), and Experiential Learning Cycle (Kolb,
1984). The curriculum consists of four units, with two lessons in each unit. These
lessons were intended to be used to deepen participants understanding of the natural
world and enhance nature connectedness through the interpretation and adventure
education subjects. While this curriculum was reviewed by a panel of experts and has
one lesson that was pilot tested, it was outside the scope of this project to provide a
summative evaluation of all of the lessons and units.
A Field Project submitted to the faculty of the University of Minnesota by Trisha Bartels in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Environmental Education, October 2019. Committee chair: Ken Gilbertson. This item has been modified from the original to redact the signatures present.
Creating Connection to Nature: A Curriculum Project Combining Interpretation with Adventure Education.
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