Thesis: Poster Exhibition

  • ClientNorth Carolina State University

  • Year2011

Thesis: Outdoor Education: Visual Strategies for Environmental Awareness

The following text describes one component of an educational activity/experience that is aimed to teach 6th grade students about issues related to environmental awareness. This is one part of my thesis investigation.

The hike along Beaver Point Trail (Thesis site) will lead students near the shoreline of Falls Lake. Along the shoreline students will notice a variety of trash and improperly discarded materials. Evidence of plastic bottles, paper, plastic food wrappers, aluminum cans and glass can be seen with relatively little effort. Some of these materials are on the ground, others sitting in overflowing trash cans and recycling bins. If students walk along the shore in any direction, they will discover materials left behind by careless fisherman. Fishing line, weights, bobbers and hooks litter the beaches. These types of materials can have serious and even deadly effects on the wildlife that inhabit the park. Many of these dangerous materials can be found where birds and other wildlife eat and drink.

Students will be asked to identify these materials and speculate on how they got to this location. The staff member or adult will encourage students to walk along the shore and see how many of these items they can find, and to collect items in a bag provided in the kit. While near the shoreline, the students will find a series of posters depicting the affects that these materials have on various waterfowl that inhabit Falls Lake. The posters contain graphic images of water fowl and demonstrate the harsh reality of how materials affect the lives of the birds, as well as their habitat. Birds are tangled in fishing line, some have swallowed hooks, or have hooks pierced through their beaks and talons. It is important for students to develop understanding and empathy for how human actions affect wildlife, and to encourage students to think of more responsible ways to interact with the environment. The destruction of habitats and ecosystems affect bird populations significantly. It is an important opportunity for students to think about the relationship between evidence and formulating their own explanations and responses to environmental issues.

The imagery and text on the posters is intended to evoke an emotional response from the students.

The questions on the posters are worded in a way that directly asks students for their opinions or their thoughts. It encourages them to think on a deeper level about the imagery. Through making inferences and predictions, students are engaged with the subject matter and how humans can reduce their harmful impact on wildlife and the environment.