Planting the Seeds of Green Consumerism Instructional Program
Jones, Kathleen M.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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The purpose of the recycling instructional program that was implemented at the Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary School during the 1995-1996 school year was to develop awareness and knowledge of recycling skills, attitudes of responsibility towards consumer practices, and skills for evaluating and reporting concerns of environmentally unfriendly consumer practices. The project involved students from grades first through fourth. Ninety three students participated in a series of learning experiences concerning recycling. Parents participated by completing extended lessons at home. The methodology used to assess the results of the learning experiences consisted of two descriptive surveys, one for the participating students and one for the participating parents. Students and parents were also required to complete the survey prior to the time the lessons began . These surveys were again completed in May. Data from both surveys was compiled at the end of the year. The rationale behind the construction and the implementation of the program, is that much of the solid waste problems we have in our country today could be eliminated by source reduction which is commonly called recycling. But in order for this to happen, consumers of today and tomorrow need to be educated about the problem and its possible solutions. The findings indicated there was a good growth amongst the third and fourth grade students, some growth amongst the first and second grade students, and little growth on the part of the parents of participating students. The conclusions drawn from this study were that the participating students who were most actively involved showed the greatest growth on the survey. The parents who were the least actively involved showed the least growth. The implications for present and future consumers are that seeds of awareness and knowledge of the solid waste problems in our country and the means of reduction of solid waste through consumer choices have been planted. The Students and parents are aware of the problem, they have been instructed in basic knowledge of the history, present state of the problem, and the future of the problem.