Contribution of Kitale Nature Conservancy Towards Creation of Environmental Awareness in Schools in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya
Otieno, Nasser Onuong’a
MetadataShow full item record
Education has been recognized as a very important tool to use in order to achieve ethics, values and behavior which promote sustainable development. Establishment of education centers which meet this standard has been the main challenge in our economic development. This study sought to determine the contributions of Kitale Nature Conservancy towards creation of environmental awareness and action in schools. The specific objectives were; to assess the extent to which programs offered in Kitale Nature Conservancy promote environmental sensitivity and behavior change; to analyze the relevance of the themes in programs offered at Kitale Nature Conservancy to school curriculum and to assess the influence of knowledge gained at Kitale Nature Conservancy in promoting environmental action in schools. The study adopted descriptive research design to solicit data on the knowledge acquired from the conservancy and the impact on environmental consciousness and action. A total of 24 secondary schools were identified to form the sample. Stratified sampling was used to select 12 schools that had visited the conservancy while simple random sampling was used to select 12 other schools that had not visited the conservancy. Questionnaires, key informant interview and environmental status checklist of schools in the two categories were used to collect data. Environmental awareness and attitude towards conservation of nature were analyzed using the Likert Scale. Quantitative data collected were coded and entered into an SPSS (version 22) for analysis. Pearson’s coefficient of correlation was used to compute the kind of relationship between schools which had visited the conservancy and those that had not visited the conservancy. The findings of the study have shown that major activities offered at the KNC such as excursion, tree identification and naming, video watching and environmental conservation projects offer an opportunity for the learners to have contact with nature and makes environmental conservation more practical. The programs are very creative and flexible thus compliments what is learnt in class. A correlation analysis between quality of education and knowledge gained among students and teachers showed positive significant correlation at P=0.01 level (2-tailed) as indicated by r (.378) for students and r (.137) for teachers. Results further revealed that environmental knowledge acquired by students was statistically significant (m=4.0, SD=0.71) and non-sensitized (m=2.81, SD=0.69) groups; t(406)=17.696, P=0.025. Environmental education programs offered at the KNC foster positive attitude towards the environment as they lead to creation of environmental awareness and action. But there is need for the conservancy to partner with schools so as to integrate the conservancy’s environmental practices and formal environmental learning experiences in the curriculum so that the learners internalize sustainable attitudes and behaviors to develop a lifelong relationship with the environment.