Nature wandering as a means of environmental education
Environmental problems have been crying for solutions for decades, however present-day education systems still do not emphasize nature conservation and environmental protection. As teachers it is our task to draw students’ attention to the vulnerability of nature as well as to enhance that they can also make a change. This can only be achieved through environmental education by evoking students’ love of nature in outdoor settings and giving them the opportunity to recognize our natural values. The main objective of our research was to examine the effects of extracurricular hiking activities on the lifestyle of students. Furthermore, we were eager to investigate whether the knowledge, habits and environmental attitudes of hiking students differ from those who did not take part in these activities. A total of 64 students completed an internet-based survey from two Hungarian secondary schools where hikes are organized throughout the year. We found that the knowledge, habits and environmental attitudes of the participating students are more positive compared to those who are not engaged in these activities. Our results suggest that students have a high demand for wandering in nature through which they can spend quality time together, gain experience and consider living an environmentally conscious life. This can make students feel responsible for our fragile environment and can develop such emotional connection by which we can raise new generations capable of and willing to contribute to environmental awareness.
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