Tending Nature's Classroom

A Qualitative Examination of Motivations and Values of Educational Place-Makers at Troy Gardens

Principal Investigators: Nathan Larson and William Cronon


Kids working at the garden.Recognizing that adults are key actors in the procurement and development of places for urban outdoor education, this study examines the motives and values of adults who have played roles in the creation and maintenance of educational gardens for youth. By collecting data from interviews, I worked to achieve an understanding of the significant reasons why adults support such outdoor learning environments and what they most hope young people will gain through their participation in education programs at these places. I hope the study sheds light on this vital process of place-making in a way that is useful to people trying to develop outdoor garden classrooms in urban communities around the world, as well as to researchers who study such places.

You can download this study in PDF format.

For further information about the results from this research please contact Nathan Larson at: education at troygardens.org (replace "at" with @ when sending the email).

This research was conducted by Nathan Larson in 2005 for completion of his Masters thesis in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nathan worked with his academic advisor, William Cronon, a professor in the Department of Geography.