Environmental Socialization Incidents with Implications for the Expanded Role of Interpretive Naturalists in Providing Natural History Experiences

January 1st, 2011 | RESEARCH

Natural history has all but disappeared from formal education in the United States. This places the responsibility of introducing people to natural history within nonformal educational settings, with interpretive naturalists taking a leading role. This qualitative study of the life histories of 51 natural history-oriented professionals establishes additional roles for interpretive naturalists interacting with and programming for people with an emerging interest in natural history. Young adults with a strong interest in competency in natural history topics were characterized by having access to a variety of natural environments, social support, opportunities to develop environmental competencies, and accumulation of many and varied environmental experiences that resulted in creation of robust personal and social identities around natural history. Findings suggest that the work of interpretive naturalists is part of an amorphous web of people, places, institutions, and personal experiences that foster an interest in natural history. Of particular importance for interpreters is planning and presenting programto- program transitions (PTPT) for visitors.


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Team Members

Robert Bixler, Author, Clemson University
J. Joy James, Author, Appalachian State University
Carin Vadala, Author, National Park Service


Publication: Journal of Interpretation Research
Volume: 16
Number: 1
Page(s): 35

Related URLs

EBSCO Full Text


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | History | policy | law | Life science
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Museum and Science Center Programs | Park | Outdoor | Garden Programs | Public Programs