World Responsible Tourism Day: encouraging pro-enviornmental values. An experimental project

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Research confirms that individuals who have pro-environmental values also hold a strong connectivity to nature and are frequently positive thinkers. Therefore to stimulate society change to a better world, methods need to be found to build connectivity to nature which in turn can influence pro-environmental social practice and behaviour.

Four tourism providers (Crystal Creek Meadows, Julie Freeman, the manager of Booderee National Park Botanic Gardens and Jing Jo) are working together this World Responsible Tourism Day (7th November 2012) to implement an experimental study to see if school children can be encouraged to adopt pro-environmental values.

The activity will be undertaken at Crystal Creek Meadows in Kangaroo Valley NSW and will involve local school children learning about environmental connectivity through Aboriginal cultural systems. This activity involves Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, conservation activities and creative thinking by students during the day at Crystal Creek Meadows.

The focus is on the spiritual connection with nature rather than a Western scientific approach. In preparation oral history research of Aboriginal belief systems was conducted and members of the local Aboriginal community approached to discuss appropriate ways to apply the belief systems from a Non-Indigenous perspective. The experimental study will seek to measure if elements of traditional environmental care can be transferred to school children and successfully build pro-environmental values through connection.

The activity will involve Julie Freeman and Bernie McLeod from the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community and Jane Gripper (local school teacher)and Christopher Warren. Children will be provided work books which they will use over a period of the year to record their projects and observations.

A film of the day's activities will record the events and act as stimulus for the children at school through the year. At the end of World Responsible Tourism Day the children will reflect upon the activities and create a story, picture or wildlife habitat which will then form exhibits at Jing Jo (a local restaurant which source food locally and has its own vegetable garden).

The community and visitors to the restaurant will be invited to select a 'People's Choice' winner. This encourages the adults who are patrons to learn about both connectivity and Aboriginal environmental care systems. Both Julie Freeman and Bernie McLeod will also select winners as a 'Judges Award' . All children will receive a locally made prize.

If you would like to attend this WRTD event and participate please contact Christopher Warren Tel: 02 4465 1408. Read more about WRTD at Crystal Creek Meadows

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