Parks, rhetoric and environmental education: challenges and opportunities for enhancing ecoliteracy
Adult environment literacy in the USA remains disturbingly low, despite the urgency of environmental problems. In the face of federal attack on many of the gains made in the last half a century to protect and sustain natural resources and human health, increasing understanding of complex ecological processes and the human role in environmental change is crucial. Non-formal environmental education in the USA for adults is less regulated and less studied that environmental education for children. Preserves are the most common place in which adults encounter nature and may be exposed to new ideas about the environment. This study conducts a rhetorical analysis of education programs at local preserves in southwest Florida to determine approaches utilized in promoting environmental literacy. Using rhetorical criticism, we identify the dominant levels of environmental literacy targeted by the sample parks through an analysis of audiences and messages. We also identify opportunities and barriers to an increased role for preserves in providing education to the public that advances environmental literacy.
KeywordsEnvironmental education Florida Environmental literacy Nature preserves Rhetorical analysis
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors state that there are no conflicts of interest related to this manuscript.
- Arts Tampa Bay. (2018). Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Retrieved from https://www.artstampabay.com/organization/boyd-hill-nature-preserve/. Accessed 7 Nov 2018.
- Bednarz, S., Heffron, S., & Huynh, N. T. (2014). Road map for 21 st century geography education project: Geography education research. Washington, D.C.: AAG.Google Scholar
- Boyd Hill. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.stpeteparksrec.org/boyd-hill-nature-preserve.html. Accessed 17 Oct 2017.
- Brooker Creek. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.brookercreekpreserve.org/. Accessed 18 Nov 2017.
- Cordell, K. (1999). Outdoor recreation in American life: A national assessment of demand and supply trends. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing Inc..Google Scholar
- Cordell, K. (2004). Outdoor recreation for 21st century America: A report to the nation, the national survey on recreation and the environment. State College: Venture Publishing.Google Scholar
- Coyle, K. (2005). Environmental literacy in America. Washington, D.C.: National Environmental Education Foundation.Google Scholar
- Cronon, W. (1996). Uncommon ground: Rethinking the human place in nature. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
- Foss, S. K. (2009). Rhetorical criticism: Exploration and practice. Long grove. Illinois: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
- Haugen, C. S. (2010). Adult learners and the environment in the last century: An historical analysis of environmental adult education literature. Electronic Green Journal, 1(29), 1–11 Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8kw8q39h. Accessed 7 Sept 2017.
- Kempton, W., Boster, J. S., & Hartley, J. A. (1995). Environmental values in American culture. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- League of Environmental Educators in Florida. (2018). Home. Retrieved from http://leef-florida.org/. Accessed 18 Sep 2018.
- North American Association for Environmental Education. (2011). Developing a framework for assessing environmental literacy. North American Association for Environmental Education, Washington, D.C., USA. https://cdn.naaee.org/sites/default/files/devframewkassessenvlitonlineed.pdf. Accessed 15 Sept 2017.
- Pinellas County. (2018). Parks and Preserves. Retrieved from http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/default.htm. Accessed 18 Sept 2018.
- Roth, R. E. (1992). Environmental literacy: Its roots, evolution and directions in the 1990s. Columbus: ERIC/CSM Environmental Education.Google Scholar
- Saldana, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Sessions, G. (1996). Reinventing nature, the end of wilderness?: A response to William Cronon's uncommon ground. The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, 13(1), 33–38.Google Scholar
- Verbeck, E. M. (2018). This quiet corner: An informal history of Boyd Hill Nature Park St. Petersburg, Florida. Retrieved from http://www.friendsofboydhill.org/This-Quiet-Corner. Accessed 18 Sept 2018.
- Wattchow, B., & Brown, M. (2011). A pedagogy of place: Outdoor education for a changing world. Clayton: Monash University Publishing.Google Scholar
- Weedon Island. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.weedonislandpreserve.org/. Accessed 18 Nov 2017.