Missouri Stream Team Program: Environmental Knowledge and Attitudes

Date of Graduation

Fall 1998


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Janice Greene


The Missouri Stream Team program is a volunteer water quality monitoring project. The objectives of this study were to document the environmental attitudes and knowledge gained by an experimental group that participated in the Missouri Stream Team program compared to a control group that was not involved. The null hypothesis was that there would be no significant difference in environmental attitudes and knowledge between the two groups. Fifteen schools with Stream Teams in the state of Missouri participated. Each school had a group of individuals that had not taken part in Stream Team activities and a group that had taken part in Stream Team activities at least once. Scores from the non-experienced group were compared to the experienced group. The 25 questions in the survey were grouped into environmental knowledge and environmental studies. Each student received an individual score for each question and a composite score for knowledge and attitudes. Knowledge questions were scored as either right or wrong. Attitude responses were on a 5-point Likert scale with five being the most environmentally positive. The total correct knowledge scores and the total mean attitude scores were analyzed by ANOVA to determine the overall effects of the program. Each analysis was a factorial ANOVA with non-experienced and experienced groups, grade level, gender, previous experiences, and school. The five-way factorial ANOVA model indicated that there was a significant difference in total knowledge scores between non-experienced and experienced individuals (p=0.027), among grade levels (p=0.000) and between schools (p=0.000). There was no evidence for strong interactions betwen non-experienced and experienced individuals with the four confounding variables. The ANOVA also indicated a significant difference in mean attitude scores between previous experience groups (p=0.007) and between gender groups (p=0.01). There was no evidence for strong interactions between Stream Team experience and any of the four confounding variables. This study revealed that students were concerned about environmental problems overall but had a lower level of knowledge about how aquatic ecosystems work. In general, experienced individuals scored higher than non-experienced individuals in knowledge and attitudes.

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© Brian H Roddiger