Evaluating the impact of an environmental education programme: an empirical study in Mexico

Isabel Ruiz-Mallen, Laura Barraza, Barbara Bodenhorn, Victoria Reyes-García

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29 Citations (Scopus)


This study draws on information from 11 in-depth interviews, two focus groups and 72 written questionnaires to evaluate an extra-curricular environmental education programme on forestry designed for preparatory school students from a small rural community in Mexico. Specifically, the study assessed the impact of the programme on the ecological knowledge of 72 students. Qualitative feedback suggests that students learnt about forestry, acquired greater awareness of the importance of conservation for the local environment and enjoyed the participatory teaching methods used in the programme. Quantitative results show a positive and significant association between the number of times a student participated in the programme and the student’s ecological knowledge. Students who participated in the programme once had a 16.3% higher knowledge on ecological concepts and knew, on average, 1.5 more local forest plants than students who never attended it (p<.001). Findings suggest that the inclusion of participatory environmental education programmes in preparatory schools would improve the acquisition of ecological knowledge. Further research could consider the consistency of the findings by replicating participatory methods presented here and by using an experimental research design. © 2009, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-387
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Mexican indigenous adolescents
  • environmental education
  • evaluation
  • impact assessment
  • knowledge acquisition


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