I am completing a Masters of Arts degree in Environmental Education and Communications at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, Canada. I believe that education is the source for change in the world and that change has to start with one person; you.
The focus of this thesis is human-nature interactions. I want to examine the impact that nature has on those that have experienced trauma from conflict or disaster. This relationship has been observed in places like New Orleans after hurricane Katrina and others. I would like to look at the use of peace parks and gardens as a means for environmental education to promote healing through nature.
Working with my thesis advisor, Dr Keith Tidball, I would like to take the concept of "Greening in the Red Zone" to Southern Africa. I have experience working in austere locations, so I feel confident in my ability to work in areas that have recently experienced trauma. I wish to use an existing location where healing has begun through the use of peace parks or gardens and research how environmental education can be drawn from the experiences of the participants. I am also interested in exploring whether environmental learning derived from peace parks/gardens is transferable and can therefore be replicated in other areas around the globe.
The money raised through this site will be allocated to the thesis research component of my work. I will primarily be compiling qualitative research in Africa. I will therefore be conducting interviews, arranging focus groups and relying on personal interactions with participants in the area of study to collect my primary research. I intend on using a narrative formula (one where the participant may speak for as long as they like in response to a particular question) to reveal underlying motivations to pursue nature-oriented activities during the post-conflict/post-disaster phase.
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