Year of Award

2020

Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Education

Committee Chair

Fletcher Brown

Commitee Members

Bonnie Spence, Trent Atkins

Publisher

University of Montana

Subject Categories

Outdoor Education

Abstract

The Watershed Education Network (WEN) is a nonprofit environmental education program that aims to foster knowledge, appreciation, and awareness of watershed health through water-based education programs and field science experiences. Their Fish Week program for 7th graders at Washington Middle School has an overarching theme of watershed and ecosystem health and includes an introduction to aquatic invertebrates, native fish, fish habitats, bugs and dry fly comparison, and an introduction to fly fishing. This is a formative, outcome-based evaluation of the Fish Week program. I used pre and post program survey data from 2017 and 2018 as well as survey data from 8th grade students who participated in Fish Week in 2019 compared to a control group who did not. I also conducted interviews with teachers and WEN volunteers who have participated in Fish Week. Overall, students gained watershed knowledge from participating in Fish Week. Student values were the same for 8th graders who participated in Fish Week and those that did not, however, self-reported positive environmental behaviors were slightly higher for students who had participated in Fish Week. Secondarily, this professional project aims to develop tools for future evaluation of Fish Week. I recommend that WEN change their pre and post program survey to focus on what students liked and disliked about Fish Week as well as how their values and behaviors changed after Fish Week. I developed a new survey as well as a knowledge assessment for WEN and teachers who are interested in what students learn during Fish Week. I also developed a new teacher survey and volunteer survey. This will help their evaluation in the future.

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© Copyright 2020 Rennie Ann Winkelman