Research in Outdoor Education


Up to 70,000 people a year may participate in wilderness experience programs in the United States (Friese, Hendee, & Kinziger, 1998). Many more people participate in non-wildemess outdoor programs. Over 700 programs offer wilderness opportunities for personal growth in the United States with a predicted increase of 15 percent a year (Ewert & McAvoy, 1999). During these trips, the behavior modeled and the infor­mation shared by the outdoor leaders influences a large number of people, including people with many diverse needs. Garvey (1999) stated that outdoor leaders model what they hold to be the most appropriate behavior in a situation: their action models their values. The respect that leaders model for the environment or students teaches about morality. The ethical frameworks and moral development of these leaders helps shape their influence on others. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide information about the ethical frameworks used in decision making by leaders of outdoor education programs.