Amy Weidensaul, PhD, is a 2015 graduate of the PhD Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

Jimmy Karlan, PhD, Committee Chair
Jean Kayira, PhD, Committee Member
Corrie Colvin Williams, PhD, Committee Member


Environmental education, environmental identity, retrospective research, case study, youth, children, environmental attitudes, environmental behavior, significant life experiences, club, social practice theory, social identity, nature education

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Publication Date



There is limited research looking at the role that specific programs play in the formation of environmental identity, or lifelong influences of specific environmental programs. This study looks to address this gap by exploring the salient and memorable experiences of past Junior Audubon Club members who participated in the program as children, and how they describe the influences of the program on their environmental identities. Based on this study, there were specific components of the Junior Audubon Club that proved most influential and lasting for the participants, including active learning in nature, supportive adults who shared similar interest and passions, and establishment of a sense of community through social acceptance and group identity. This study suggests that childhood participation in programs can be particularly successful, and have a lasting impact, when a sense of community is created with peer acceptance, supportive adults, repeated experiences in nature and active learning. Findings from this study document the long-term impacts that participation in such a program as a child can have throughout an individual’s lifetime, and the results of this study can be applied to the development of potentially more impactful environmental education programs. The electronic version of this dissertation is accessible in the open access OhioLINK ETD Center (


Amy Weidensaul

ORCID ID#: 0000-0002-5347-6569