A paper co-authored by Timothy Sheldon, Ph.D., and Elyse Farnsworth was selected by the Mid-Western Educational Research Association as the best paper presented in the Research, Evaluation, & Assessment in Schools Division (Division H) at its 2013 conference. Sheldon is a Research Associate with the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), and Farnsworth is a CAREI Graduate Research Assistant. Their paper, titled “Connection, Competence, and Contribution: New Outcome Measures for Assessing Outdoor Program Impact on Urban Youth,” reports the results of an evaluation of Wilderness Inquiry’s Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventures (UWCA) program.To be selected, the paper had to meet several quality indicators as well as pertain to the conference theme of “Education, Access, Marginalization, and Empowerment.”
The primary objective of the UWCA program is to improve student academic performance through an innovative classroom/fieldwork curriculum that uses environmental educational experiences to teach science, social studies, and language arts. The ultimate goal is to inspire students to become environmental leaders. Program participants were fifth- through eighth-grade students in Minneapolis Public Schools.