An Evaluation Guide for Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

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2020-04-24

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Abstract

Estuarine health is integral to the health of ocean environments (NOAA, 2017). The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration realized this and created a network of protected reserves—the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) (NOAA, n.d.). Environmental education (EE) is integral to NERRS success. These reserves offer unparalleled “living classrooms” for educators, students, and the public (NOAA, 2018). Rookery Bay, a NERR located in Naples, Florida, is home to one of the few undisturbed mangrove forests in the United States. The Environmental Learning Center (ELC) at Rookery Bay is an important resource to the local community provides summer education opportunities and K-12 field trip programming (Rookery Bay, n.d.).

Education evaluation for EE programs has become increasingly important as environmental concerns have moved to the forefront of some of the worlds social, political, and economic issues (Thomson, G. & Hoffman, J., n.d.). Evaluation methods can be used to improve environmental education programs and enable continued or improved success in achieving program goals (Thomson, G. & Hoffman, J., n.d.). However, a program evaluation has not yet been done for Rookery Bay’s EE field trip curriculum. The objective of this project was therefore to develop an outcome-based evaluation guide to assess the desired outcomes from visiting students who participate in: (1) 4th grade Estuary Explorers, (2) 7th grade SURVIVORS, and (3) the high school and college students Field-Based Estuarine Studies programs. This was done by completing an education evaluation document analysis, logic models, and informational interviews, to create a retrospective survey which then went through user testing, and expert reviews. This project’s deliverables are a well-informed guide containing the three different grade level surveys as well as guidelines and recommendations for data collection, analysis, and reporting.

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Rodriguez, Natalie (2020). An Evaluation Guide for Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20517.


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