College of the Environment Graduate and Undergraduate Publications

Date Permissions Signed


College Affiliation

Huxley College of the Environment

Date of Award

Winter 2011

Document Type

Honors Senior Project

Department or Program Affiliation

Department of Environmental Studies


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Abel, Troy D.


The purpose of the current research was to examine the effects of two different environmental education programs on participants. In doing so this thesis assessed a Western Washington University study abroad program (Rainforest Immersion and Conservation Action) and a second WWU course, ESTU 436 environmental impact assessment. Both courses use service learning as a way to allow students to actively engage in the learning process and apply knowledge learned in the classroom to real world issues. Although similar in structure, the RICA program benefits from providing an immersion experience and a multi-disciplinary approach. The author hypothesized that participants in the RICA program would display increased value reconstruction compared to students in ESTU 436 due to the holistic approach taken in the RICA program. Results were analyzed from three different methodological approaches. The results from all three approaches support the hypothesis. This research adds new lenses through which to view environmental education, and builds upon previous research that has combined multiple approaches to improve results. This research benefits the environmental movement as a whole. It also benefits individuals such as: educators, researchers, environmental organizations, and any other individuals seeking to improve their attempts to foster pro-environmental change.




Environmental education--Study and teaching, Experiential learning, Human ecology--Decision making, Environmental protection--Decision making, Environmental protection--Moral and ethical aspects, Environmental ethics


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Environmental education--Study and teaching; Experiential learning; Human ecology--Decision making; Environmental protection--Decision making; Environmental protection--Moral and ethical aspects; Environmental ethics




masters theses




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