Inspired by nature : the positive impact of environmentally-based art education
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In an age of increased environmental awareness, environmental education in schools has become progressively valued and supported. With this in mind, the purpose of this study was to investigate the significance of art education within the context of environmental schools and other sites of environmental education. Specifically, this research aimed to identify ways art education is being used as a means to strengthen outdoor learning. Through qualitative research involving multiple case studies of the art programs of three environmental charter schools and one nature center in Pennsylvania, data was gathered by means of on-site observations and interviews with staff and students of the aforementioned sites. Although the findings of this study indicated that each of the sites incorporated some degree of art in their environmental curricula, the results demonstrated a significant deficiency in the presence and support of art education in the environmental education programs within each site. Based on the findings of this study, suggestions were made concerning ways art may be used as a means through which students might more closely examine and experience the natural environment.