Youth Action Research in the Marine Environment: A Case Study Analysis of Selected Education Projects in Hawaiʻi, USA

Zicus, Sandra A.
Murton, Brian
Geography and Environment
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2003]
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The marine environment has always been extremely important to the human inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands. Today, the ocean environment around Hawaiʻi is no less important, but it is far more threatened. Coastal and urban development, overfishing, introduction of alien species, and other commercial and recreational uses pose serious risks to coastal and marine ecosystems. There is a recognized need for greater public awareness and understanding of the importance of marine and coastal ecosystems. Involving children actively in the care and management of community resources is an essential factor for long-term societal change in environmental attitudes and behavior. Agencies and organizations in Hawaiʻi offer a wide range of marine education programs and materials aimed at children. However, there has been little assessment of their overall effectiveness, or analysis of factors that encourage or impede their success. The goal of this research was to begin to address this gap. The first stage of the research examined the perceptions and attitudes of Hawaiʻi resource managers and educators toward youth involvement in coastal and marine protection, and to answer the question "What is currently being done and by whom?" The second stage examined in detail three different programs that represent a range of approaches and age levels, and include two public charter schools (one elementary and one high school) and a nonprofit after-school program that drew youth from four area high schools. The case study research was conducted over the course of the 2001-2002 school year by means of observations, participant-observations, interviews, focus groups, and reviews of written and electronic media. The case studies were exploratory in nature and differed in their settings, age groups, administration, size, and focus. However, an analysis using the assessment rubric revealed broad patterns common to all three projects. This allowed the development of analytical generalizations that have both theoretical and practical implications for the future of similar programs, both in Hawaiʻi and elsewhere, and that help identify important questions for future research.
PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 2003
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 375–381).
Hawaii, environmental education, marine ecology, study and teaching, marine resources conservation, marine environment, youth, education projects, action research
viii, 381 leaves, bound ; 29 cm
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Geography.
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