More than just a field trip: Connecting students & nature

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

This report presents findings from an ongoing study of 3- and 5-day residential education programs at a national park institute. The sample includes over 1000 students representing over 100 school groups over a two year period from 2005 to 2007.

Major Findings:

A Tremont experience strengthens students' connection with the natural world.

Learning about the outdoors and gaining a better appreciation of its value produces students who are good stewards of the environment.

Students leave Tremont with a better understanding of science and the natural world--both of specific topics and broader overall relationships.

Educational experiences outside the classroom heighten students' interest in learning and desire to explore the outdoors.

Pedagogical Area
  • environmental education
  • outdoor education, experiential education
Delivery Area
  • out of school time/after school
  • on site day programs (nature center, farm, etc.)
Outcome Area
  • environmental knowledge, attitude and awareness
  • stewardship behavior
Participant Area
  • student
  • program
Age Area
  • elementary (6-11 years old)
  • middle school (12-14 years old)
  • high school (14-18 years old)