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Adult Environmental Education and Ecology

  • Deirdre Slattery (a1)


Land management is often a three-way partnership between management agencies, scientists and community members. Co-operation between these three sectors in working for better environmental outcomes has a long history in Victoria, and nature conservation has often previously been achieved through successful adult environmental education. The recent development of an ecology course on the Box and Ironbark forests continues this tradition. It was organised by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) for community interest groups and was taught by scientists.

This article presents the results of qualitative research into some participants' view of their learning on the course. It suggests significant directions for adult learning in environmental education. An intensive experience of field-based scientific inquiry appeared to prompt not only ecological learning but also development of aesthetic, moral and action dimensions for the interviewees. The article suggests that environmental education needs to embrace fruitful elements of various learning methods for adults, including scientific learning about ecology. The process of enabling people to extend their knowledge of natural settings and processes can also enhance their relationship with and commitment to these places.



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