Research in Outdoor Education




The purpose of this exploratory study was to deepen our understanding of the ways in which a wilderness-based educational experience may serve as a significant life experience and how that experience may impact the development of an environmental ethic in youth. Students on 30-day courses from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) were asked to respond to the question, “Did your NOLS experience make an impact on your environmental ethics? If so, how?” The responses of 771 students indicated that a 30-day NOLS course did, in fact, positively influence both cognitive and emotional aspects of participants' environmental ethics and shared some characteristics of a significant life experience. Recommendations for future research are discussed.