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AREAS OF HIGH ECOLOGICAL VALUE AS PROPOSALS FOR SCHOOL OUTINGS: WETLANDS, A NEARBY REALITY

M. Fontana1, T. Fayos2, M. González-Gallarza2, C. Caurín3

1Escolapias Valencia (SPAIN)
2Universidad de Valencia, Facultad de Economía (SPAIN)
3Universidad de Valencia, Facultad de Magisterio (SPAIN)
Environmental Education has a growing relevance in society [1] being also more and more present as a discipline in the Spanish compulsory education curriculum. However, there are several obstacles that hinder global awareness of this relevance, because of reduced and unequal consideration of Environmental Education in the classroom [2]. This research seeks to discuss the suitability of areas of high ecological value such as Mediterranean wetlands, to host Environmental Education activities in the high school context and propose them as an educational resource in school outings.

School outings (or field trips) are one of the resources repeatedly proposed in the literature for the acquisition of attitudes and behaviours, in matters of Environmental Education and Sustainable Development [3]. Besides, it is well known that coastal wetlands are a very important example of natural ecosystems. Indeed, wetlands have enormous potential in the Valencian Community as both an object of environmental study and the fieldwork for different types of environment-related tourism. However, we found a shortage of studies that propose these areas as a resource for school outings [4, 5].

The methodology is based on a combination of analysis of secondary and primary qualitative sources to extract and discuss the characteristics and dimensions of potential activities to be carried out in wetlands. The aim is to analyse the most relevant aspects that come into conflict or harmony with potential activities to be held in wetlands. We therefore perform an analysis of potentialities through a SWOT analysis, based on external secondary sources. Subsequently, a qualitative research is carried out through open ended questionnaires to five experts, scholars or/and professionals, whose work is closely related to these areas.

The results advocate a need for greater promotional dissemination of the wetlands in the school environment: findings point for considering wetlands a sound proposal for school outings attending to the idiosyncrasy of these places that have a high ecological value.

References:
[1] Agraso, M., & Jiménez, M. P. (2003). Percepción de los problemas ambientales por el alumnado:los recursos naturales. Didáctica de las Ciencias experimenstales y sociales, 91-105.
[2] Vilches, A., Gil, D., & Cañal, P. (2010). Educación para la sostenibilidad y Educación Ambiental. Investigación en la escuela, 5-15.
[3] North American Association for Environmental Education. (2000). Materiales de Educación Ambiental: pautas para la excelencia. Washington: NAAEE.
[4] Papapanagou, E., Tiniakou, A., & Georgiadis, T. (2010). Environmental education in wetland ecosystems. Journal of Biological Education, 25-30.
[5] Fatma, D., Farid, A., & Lisa, E. (2015). Population typology to better target environmental education: a case from Algeria. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 331-339.