A Case Study: Native Perspectives of Gardening

  • Megan BangEmail author


Increasingly research has focused on understanding the opportunities for learning children and adults have in informal or out of school contexts as these informal contexts make up a far more significant portion of the life course than formal schooling (Bell et al. 2009). Simultaneously there have been efforts to increase children’s engagement with the natural world given the devolving nature of biological knowledge (Medin and Atran 2004) and the mental and physical health benefits in increasing children’s outdoor play (e.g. Louv 2007). Further, the socio-ecological challenges of the twenty-first century have increasingly focused on issues of food sustainability and the potential role of gardens. Importantly though much of these efforts have largely been conceptualized and driven by white middle class narratives. Situated within this larger context, this study sought to understand Native peoples’ perspectives about gardening and the opportunities that children had to learn about biological knowledge in the contexts of gardens. This study engaged adults and children in surveys and interview to answer the following questions: (1) What are Native and non-Native peoples conceptions of gardens and gardening? (2) What is the range of biological knowledge reflected in gardening practices? (3) What are the implications for opportunities to learn about the biological world? The bulk of the work reported here comes from a broader study (Bang 2009) however in this chapter I focus specifically on comparisons between Native and non-Native peoples conceptions of gardens and what the opportunities for learning are in garden spaces.


Native People Biological Knowledge Native Participant Native American Community Gardening Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Learning Sciences and Human Development, College of EducationUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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