Damerell, Peter - From knowledge to behaviour: can environmental education realise its potential? (pdf)

Peter John Damerell

Environmental education is employed in broad range of conservation interventions in order to increase the knowledge of recipients. Favourable attitudinal and behavioural changes are widely anticipated outcomes of a successful environmental education program. It has been suggested that through the transfer of information from recipients to individuals in the wider community environmental education can have a broad influence. A limited published literature exists to substantiate these predicted conservation merits of environmental education. Substantially more evidence illustrating the capacity and limitations of environmental education is needed in order to facilitate its appropriate use and maximise its conservation outputs.

This study contributes to the existing literature by assessing the influence of informal environmental education on the child recipients and their parents. Both student and parents were observed to have improved knowledge of wetland ecosystems when the child had undertaken education on wetland habitats. Child attendance of environmental education is subsequently shown to have a significant influence on household water management behaviour. The use of quantitative measures of knowledge, attitude and behaviour provides strong support for the demonstrated capacity of environmental education to achieve intergenerational influence.