Providing Access to Residential Environmental Education Programs for Multicultural Urban Youth
thesisposted on 01.01.2013, 00:00 authored by Kate M. Bodey
Current research in the Environmental Education (EE) and science fields, and environmental movement focus on barriers to and strategies for increasing diversity and cultural competency, but none specifically address this topic in Residential Environmental Education (REE) programs. This research aims to address this gap in the literature by answering the following research question: what are the strategies, barriers, vision, and resources needed for providing access to REE programs for multicultural urban youth (MUY)? This study utilizes a qualitative research approach based on grounded theory methods and analysis. Interviews were conducted with 17 REE interviewees, from executive directors to registrars, representing 16 REE organizations located in 13 different states. Three major categories emerged from the interviews including: 1) the importance of REE programs for MUY; 2) the impacts of REE programs on MUY; and 3) the strategies, barriers, vision, and resources needed for providing access to REE programs for MUY. The main research question was addressed in the third emerging category, in which the following eight themes were identified: a) REE organizations' mission and vision, b) recruitment and retention of a diverse board and staff, c) funding, d) partnerships and collaboration, e) programming, f) cultural competency, g) marketing, and h) accessibility. This research provides REE organizations with best practices for providing access to their programs for MUY. By focusing specifically on REE programs, this study adds to the current research in the EE field on increasing diversity, inclusiveness, and cultural competency.