Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Department name when degree awarded

Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Steven Camicia


Steven Camicia


Shireen D. Keyl


Kimberly H. Lott


Christopher Monz


Max L. Longhurst


Outdoor educational experiences are one of the ways that young people learn about and experience the benefits that are found in the outdoors. However, despite the benefits that outdoor educational experiences have to offer, many young people do not participate for one reason or another. These reasons are often rooted in issues of social injustice. This study adds to about how outdoor educational experiences effect the perceptions of and attitudes toward the outdoors and learning in the outdoors, as well as what may be keeping so many people from participating in these experiences. One junior high school in the intermountain west has been taking a group of eighth-grade students on a week-long camping trip for more than 50 years. There is a need to better understand how this trip effects the participants perceptions and attitudes towards the outdoors and learning in the outdoors, as well as why so many students at the school are not going on the trip. My study was conducted in two parts. In the first part, I examined how one year’s trip (the Southern Utah Parks Trip) effected eight participating student’s perceptions of the outdoors, as well as their perceptions and attitudes toward OEEss. This was done through several methods of data collection, and that data was then carefully analyzed for themes in the data. In the second part of this study, I drew on my own experiences as a student participating in a camping trip at the same school in eighth-grade, as well as a teacher and trip leader several years later, through an autobiographical account, with the intent of better understanding the above-mentioned affects, as well as the barriers and constraints some students at the school run into that block their participation in this trip. This data was also analyzed in the same method. The result of this study was the emergence of several themes that ultimately led to two theories that addressed the research questions of this study. Those theories were:1. that the Southern Utah Parks Trip, and other outdoor educational experiences have a positive impact on each participant's attitude toward and perception of the outdoors and learning in the outdoors, helping to cause a connection to and a deeper understanding of nature, and 2. that there are several things keeping most of the students at Intermountain West Junior High School from participating the Southern Utah Parks Trip, and likely keeping other students at other schools from participating in outdoor educational experiences.



Included in

Education Commons