Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2011


An Undergraduate Thesis Presented to the Advisors of The Environmental Studies Program at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln As the Final Requirement for The Degree of Bachelors of Arts Environmental Studies Major With an Anthropology Emphasis. Lincoln, Nebraska 2011


Environmental literacy is a contentious issue in the United States of America because citizens feel it is forced upon them and interferes with our materialistic culture. Also, many Americans have limited access to green space and little time to devote to increasing their environmental mindset. This project documents a technique to introduce environmental literacy to American citizens by working with single communities in a common subset of American culture. Based on a model used by anthropologists in third world countries, the goal was to diffuse environmental literacy into a community by only instructing the children of that community in environmental literacy. The hypothesis is, when environmental literacy is being spread internally through children, the community is more likely to accept it and the extent to which they understand the environment will increase. The community in this study was a hundred member group of the community associated with Randolph Elementary School, in Lincoln, NE. Twenty-five children of that distinct population enrolled in an after-school Nature Club; the curriculum of which covered topics of environmental literacy. Periodically, surveys were sent out to children and to the community to chart the diffusion, if any, of environmental information into the community. Results indicate that environmental literacy can be improved through the diffusion of information from the children into their community despite limitations on green space and time. This thesis later suggests that an increase in the time a community’s children are exposed to environmental literacy equates to a greater increase in the entire community’s environmental literacy.