Natural Resources and Ecology Masters Theses
Creating, Implementing, and Assessing Equitable Environmental Education Among Students who Identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)This thesis investigates interventions to increase environmental literacy among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) students and examines the systemic racism that has been embedded throughout the field of natural resources and environmental education (EE). I took a case study approach to research environmental literacy among northern New York and Vermont high school students who qualify as coming from “modest income households” and whose parents did not obtain a four-year degree. I conducted qualitative analysis on student observations and pre- and post-survey data to understand student’s levels of environmental stewardship, connectedness to nature, and environmental career aspirations. The results are organized into four chapters: an introduction chapter, two manuscripts intended for stand-alone publication (Chapters 2-3), and a conclusion chapter. Chapter 2 reports on the current state of the field of natural resources and the development of an equitable survey tool which indicated that students across similar socio-economic backgrounds have similar levels of environmental interest yet career paths shift in BIPOC youth. Chapter 3 discusses strategies for increasing stewardship, connectedness to nature, and environmental career aspirations among students. Finally, Chapter 4 synthesizes the findings from Chapters 2-3. These results provide useful information about the current state of environmental education and provides recommendations on how environmental education can be more inclusive.