2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Nature and Human Nature: A Course That Mattered
Corlin D. Clark* and Katelyn M. Gribble
Dr. Michael I. Kelrick, Faculty Mentor

In Spring 2012, a student-initiated course, Nature and Human Nature (N&HN), sprouted. Its aim was to encourage participants to explore their relationships with the natural world and consider implications of those relationships. A sense of belonging and interconnectedness with nature contributes to human beings concern for planetary health (Nordlund and Garvill, 2002), while improving individuals mental and emotional well-being (Nisbet et al., 2010). In a scale designed to assess nature relatedness (NR), Nisbet et al. (2008) proposed three dimensions: NR-Self, NR-Perspective, and NR-Experience. We added a fourth dimension measuring students happiness both momentary and intrinsic. Surveys using this scale were given to the N&HN class and a control class at the beginning and end of the semester. Statistical analysis showed that N&HN students experienced a greater increase in NR, particularly in NR-Self, indicating significantly increased feelings of interconnectedness with nature, even in this small, self-selected group of students.

Keywords: Nature, Human Nature, Happiness, Nature Relatedness, Student-initiated course

Topic(s):Phi Kappa Phi Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 108-5
Location: MG 1000
Time: 9:00

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