RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016

RGS-IBG Logo

373 The Environment-Education-Empowerment Nexus (2): Leveraging the Outdoors for Young People's Capacity-Building
Affiliation Higher Education Research Group
Convenor(s) Jennifer Hill (University of the West of England, UK)
Anita Diaz (Bournemouth University, UK)
Rebecca Farnum (King's College London, UK)
Chair(s) Jennifer Hill (University of the West of England, UK)
Timetable Friday 02 September 2016, Session 4 (16:50 - 18:30)
Session abstract Part I of this session will explore the premise that student engagement as researchers in Education-Practitioner Partnerships can enable students to be a key nexus in the practical application of geography both at the time, through their activity in partnership, and in the future, through the pedagogic development and networking skills they gain through partnership. We will share perspectives on opportunities and challenges offered by a range of stakeholders including students, professional practitioners and academic researchers across the breadth of the discipline. Part II will take a closer look at the concept and pedagogy of “environmental learning”. Environmental learning may refer to education about the environment and natural ecosystems, education taking place outdoors surrounded by nature, or ecologically focused instruction with sustainability as an aim. This session seeks to understand the interplays between the natural environment, teaching and learning, and empowerment – for teachers, students, economies, communities, and nature itself. The session will make use of both local case study and pedagogical theory to consider these relationships. The two sessions will focus primarily on practical case studies, with the chair facilitating discussion between and across the case studies to highlight emerging themes. A discussion with the audience will help to raise further questions and issues in order to inform conclusions about the efficacy and potential of environmental learning for education, empowerment, and sustainability.
Linked Sessions The Environment-Education-Empowerment Nexus (1): Closing Research-Practice Gaps through Education-Practitioner Partnerships
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2016@rgs.org
Bright Futures: A Norfolk case study of the impact of residential environmental education on students' energy behaviours
Cherish Watton (University of Cambridge, UK)
The Norfolk Bright Futures programme, run by Norfolk County Council Environment and Outdoor Learning Team, is a residential environmental education intervention which focuses on not only knowledge transfer, but attitude and behaviour change. KS3 and KS4 students from a range of partner schools come to Holt Hall Environmental and Outdoor Learning Centre in North Norfolk for a three day programme which involves a range of sessions with an over arching aim of developing the students knowledge and skills to allow them to return to their high schools and run energy saving projects or campaigns, under the guidance of a University of East Anglia or Marshall Scholar university student. Despite small internal evaluation of the project, until recently there had been no research into how the program was changing the students' awareness and understanding of energy and it's impacts, their attitudes to the environment as a whole, and any resulting changes in their energy use behaviours. Oliver Rix, a final year undergraduate student from the University of East Anglia, and a mentor on the Bright Futures programme, will present the findings of his dissertation research into the impacts of the Bright Futures programme, as well as the extended skills development and personal growth opportunities that the programme provides. The presentation will discuss on how the programme improves students energy awareness and understanding, nurtures positive environmental attitudes and aims to translate these into energy efficient behaviour patterns; educated by established environmental behaviour change theories.
The Mobile Beach Clean-Up Unit: Leveraging Play for Learning and Sustainability in Kuwait
Hamad Boursli (Kuwait Dive Team)
Noura AlSanousi (Kuwait Dive Team)
Yousif AlFadhel (Kuwait Dive Team)
Kuwait is a coastal nation on the Arabian Gulf highly dependent on the ocean for its economy and culture. Unfortunately, the beauty that attracts tourism, creates a haven for picnickers, and provides livelihoods is often marred by pollution. Visitors litter; corporations dump industrial waste, and harmful materials are washed in from other countries via strong currents. In 1986, the Kuwait Dive Team began as a small group of friends hoping to use their interest in scuba diving to help protect the beautiful reef habitats they discovered underwater. That group has since become a large network of environmental volunteers across Kuwait whose worked has expanded to land as well as sea. The Kuwait Dive Team's Mobile Beach Clean-Up Unit travels to Kuwait's many beaches to engage communities in environmental volunteering and sustainability efforts. Its flagship project is a partnership with the Ministry of Education through which some 100 Kuwaiti students come to a beach as part of their schooldays. Dive Team members treat the students to an interactive lecture about marine biology and ocean ecosystems. After a safety briefing, students are then sent to the beach with equipment to remove rubbish. The model leverages students' love of being outdoor and competitive natures to encourage Kuwait's young people to learn about and take better care of marine ecosystems. Using the ocean as a hook, these mornings teach students that community engagement and volunteering can be as fun as playing and that learning does not happen only in the classroom.
The Water School: Place-Based Environmental Education for Rural Resilience
Jade Lansing (Dar Si Hmad, Morocco)
The Aït Baamrane region of southwestern Morocco is an ecologically and economically fragile zone facing persistent drought and structural poverty. Lack of infrastructure, limited natural resources, and poor educational systems are constant challenges for the region's rural communities. This paper examines the role of place-based environmental education (Roy 2014) in addressing the intersecting environmental, educational, and economic marginalization of these and similar remote communities to alleviate structural inequalities and promote sustainable development. It focuses on the case of a Water School organized by local Moroccan NGO Dar Si Hmad, which provides innovative environmental education for children ages 7-13 to confront increasing drought cycles limiting the availability of potable water in their communities. This environmental education program addresses pressing environmental issues affecting the community, integrating the cultural and geographic context of the region through hands-on curriculum. Allowing students to investigate local issues such as water scarcity in a safe and accessible learning environment directly impacts how resources are used within the community, instilling a sense of environmental stewardship and inciting young people - and indirectly their families - to use their capacities to ensure the ecological and sociological vitality of their ecosystem. Place-based education leverages nature to connect the classroom with the lived impacts of climate change and resource scarcity and empowers students in isolated, rural areas to become proactive players within the broader, interdependent web of social and natural systems.
Panel discussion with audience Q&A
Discussion