Environmental experience impacts pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors. Two quasi-experimental field studies (n = 419 and 248) tested the effects of an outdoor Environmental Education program in Italy, involving children (3rd to 6th grade students) in activities based in local Protected Natural Areas. Results show that the program increases children’s place attachment, pro-environmental attitudes, ethics and self-reported behavior, and their parents’ pro-environmental attitudes: in essence, young people experience with protected natural areas enhances their attitudes and behaviors towards environmental sustainability. The research addresses the crucial role of local protected areas in promoting environmental awareness, sensitivity commitment, attitudes and behaviors, highlighting the strategic importance of intervention procedures and moderators for Environmental Education activities applied to specific social-physical contexts.
De Dominicis, S., Carrus, G., Bonaiuto, M., Bonnes, M., Perucchini, P., Passafaro, P. (2017). Evaluating the role of protected natural areas for environmental education. APPLIED ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION, 16, 171-185.