Brian Johnson is a 2013 graduate of the PhD Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England.


Environmental Education, environmental quality, environmental indicators, Pressure-State-Response, evaluation, environmental actions, Evaluation synthesis, semi-structured interviews, multiple-case study

Document Type


Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to investigate the ways in which environmental education (EE) programs are contributing to environmental quality (EQ) improvement. The research applied the Pressure-State-Response (PSR) environmental indicator framework to the reported outcomes of 103 EE programs in order to 1) determine the extent to which existing EE programs are reporting EQ improvement outcomes; and 2) examine the extent to which these programs are impacting indicators in the three areas of the PSR framework. The study consisted of three research phases: evaluation synthesis, semi-structured interviews, and multiple-case study. The study found that 42 of 103 programs (41%) in the study's sample reported one or more outcomes that could be considered an EQ improvement based on the PSR framework. Of the 91 instances of EQ-related outcomes reported by the 42 EE programs, 75 (82%) were categorized as response outcomes, 13 (14%) as pressure outcomes, and three (3%) as state outcomes. Another finding of this study was that EE practitioners said that EE can and should improve EQ. Barriers to EQ evaluation of EE programs, as cited by EE practitioners, included the scale of EQ issues versus the scale of EE programs; a lack of evaluation tools and understanding; and limited time and money for evaluation. Finally, the findings suggest that factors that may promote EQ improvement outcomes of EE programs include real-world application of learning; strong partnerships; and a commitment to environmental change. The electronic version of this dissertation is available in the open-access Ohiolink ETD Center,


Brian Johnson, PhD is an environmental education and program evaluation specialist with nearly 20 years of experience. He is currently the Director of Educational Research and Program Development at the Wildlife Conservation Society, where he oversees research and evaluation of education programs at the WCS zoos and aquarium in New York City. He also previously served as a Consulting Associate with PEER Associates, where he managed program evaluation services for clients including the North American Association for Environmental Education and Missouri Botanical Garden. Additionally, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Lancashire Global Education Centre in Preston, UK. He has also served as Education Officer for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, where he directed the organization’s plant conservation education programs in the United States. Brian has also directed environmental education programs at the nation’s first urban Audubon center in New York City, and served for five years as Senior Faculty with the Audubon Expedition Institute at Lesley University. Brian holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies from Antioch University New England, an M.S. in environmental education from Lesley University, and a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University. His research has been published in Environmental Education Research, the Journal of College Science Teaching, and Convergence: International Journal of Adult Education. Brian is also a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Environmental Education.

Recent Publications:

Johnson, B., Duffin, M., & Murphy, M. (2012). Quantifying a relationship between place-based learning and environmental quality. Environmental Education Research,18(5), 609-624.

Wittmer, C., & Johnson, B. (2008). Using natural history interpretation as an authentic assessment tool. Journal of College Science Teaching, , 18-21