Children and Nature Network Project Grow Outside: Development
 the Encouraging

June 18th, 2010 | EVALUATION

This study of American adults’ attitudes towards children’s experiences in nature was based on survey data from 2,138 people who participated in an independently commissioned, online consumer survey in February 2010. The Encouraging Children’s Nature Experiences Scale (EC-NES) was created to assess adult attitudes and beliefs surrounding encouragement of children’s nature experiences. While a great deal of empirical research has already been undertaken to demonstrate the value and impact of these experiences, not all of the research has been adopted by the public. The EC-NES scale was designed as a benchmarking tool to assess beliefs about the value of these experiences in four domains: • General social acceptance of types of benefits that accrue for children when they are in nature, referred to as “normative beliefs” measured as: Healthiness; Cognitive/emotional Growth; Perceived Need; Emotional Well-being; Enhanced Skills; and Appreciation of Nature. • Adult control beliefs, or the belief that actions by participants will promote or restrict children’s opportunities for nature experience and measured with two scales: Adult Priorities and Need for Child Safety. • Adult behavioral beliefs, or the beliefs that specific adult behaviors will encourage or discourage children’s nature experiences, measured as: Storytelling and Adult Effort/Risk. and • Intentionality measured as a commitment to participate in activities that increase children’s opportunities for nature experiences. The EC-NES scale was developed based on factor analysis of responses to 169 items representing results of empirical research on the value of children’s nature experiences, organized into the core domains that have been demonstrated as predictive of behavior according to Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (Ajzen 1991). The demographic data were collected in order to analyze for race, ethnic, education and income variations, although the sample itself over-represented the white/Caucasian populations. This variation was attributed to, in part, the desire to collect data from six focal states where the Children and Nature Network has focused efforts. Analysis revealed only minor variations in American attitudes based on race/ethnicity.


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Team Members

Institute for Learning Innovation, Contributor
John Fraser, Principal Investigator, New Knowledge Organization Ltd.
Joe E Heimlich, Co-Principal Investigator, COSI
Victor Yocco, Contributor, Institute for Learning Innovation

Related URLs

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Audience: Adults | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | General Public | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | History | policy | law | Life science | Nature of science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Reference Materials | Report | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Scale
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits | Public Programs