September 19, 2016

Human Dimensions

The term human dimensions refers to how and why humans value natural resources, how humans want resources managed, and how humans affect or are affected by natural resources management decisions. Human dimension inquiries strive to understand human traits and how to incorporate that understanding into management planning and actions. It covers a variety of ideas and practices including cultural, social, and economic values; individual and social behavior; demographics; legal and institutional frameworks of management; communication and education; and, decision-making processes of management.

Half the world's people live in cities and this proportion is expected to grow to 61 percent by 2030. Protected areas are connected to urban areas in many ways. On one hand, they provide important benefits to cities and urban people, ranging from education and healthy recreation to conservation of biodiversity, water supply, and income from tourism. On the other hand, they are often harmed by urban sprawl and pollution.

- Don Rodriguez, 2016

Alumni Kira West

Environmental Education Initiatives

The need for new environmental education initiatives is imperative as we move forward with technology taking an increasing role in the way we see the world, especially in young adults and youth.The Crossing the Channel Education Initiative is a comprehensive program created to initiate a more well-rounded experiential learning environment for high school students in Ventura County. My capstone project was created, in part, to bridge the widening gap between students and their local environment and to investigate if place-based and experiential education initiatives are effective in fostering a deeper connection with nature.

The bulk of my work in capstone was to create a series of lesson plans from scratch, based on the goals of the California Environmental Education Initiative (EEI). Our focus was on watersheds, intertidal zones, and the Channel Islands. We created five lesson plans that we taught throughout the spring semester, ending with a weekend trip to Santa Rosa Island. I created a 3 point Likert scale to measure connectedness with nature and to gauge understanding of concepts. Overall, there was a significant increase (p=.000) in students connection to their local environment, demonstrating that these types of education initiatives are effective and should be considered as we move forward with alternative types of education.

Ultimately, Capstone gave me the tools to realize my passion for education. I had never made a lesson plan before and now I have the skills and understanding to set up an effective learning environment for students. Capstone also prepared me for the challenges that I will continue to face as I take education reform head on and allowed me to feel confident that I can make this change possible. I am now attending graduate school at College of the Atlantic, a small liberal arts college in Maine, that specializes in Human Ecology degrees. I get to build this degree on my own from the ground up, so I have an amazing opportunity to pursue alternative forms of environmental education.

I would not be here without Capstone. Thank you CSUCI and thank you to the stellar ESRM department.