Developing youth eco-consciousness is a crucial step to resolving the climate crisis. Existing literature supports that immersive experiences like camps can change participants’ understanding and connection to nature (Khanaposhtani et al., 2010). In the first author’s work as an environmental educator at a youth camp in California, she collected qualitative data on how environmentally engaged learning affects eco-consciousness in youth. Through pre- and post-camp session surveys, interviews with participants, and field note observations, three major findings emerged. First, environmentally engaged learning has significant positive impacts on youth eco-consciousness, including shifts in attitudinal responses and behavior. Second, there is an inequitable distribution of environmental education in traditional K-12 schooling. Finally, youth today are increasingly aware of the severity of climate change, experiencing severe bouts of climate anxiety. These findings demonstrate the value of environmentally engaged education and how these experiences can create more eco-conscious citizens.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.