Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Plan B

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Science & Mathematics Teaching Center


Professor Kate Muir Welsh, Chair

Second Advisor

Professor John Kambutu

Third Advisor

Maggie Bourque

Fourth Advisor

Vanessa Torres, National Park Service


Current research in the Environmental Education (EE) and science fields, and environmental movement focus on barriers to and strategies for increasing diversity and cultural competency, but none specifically address this topic in Residential Environmental Education (REE) programs. This research aims to address this gap in the literature by answering the following research question: what are the strategies, barriers, vision, and resources needed for providing access to REE programs for multicultural urban youth (MUY)? This study utilizes a qualitative research approach based on grounded theory methods and analysis. Interviews were conducted with 17 REE interviewees, from executive directors to registrars, representing 16 REE organizations located in 13 different states. Three major categories emerged from the interviews including: 1) the importance of REE programs for MUY; 2) the impacts of REE programs on MUY; and 3) the strategies, barriers, vision, and resources needed for providing access to REE programs for MUY. The main research question was addressed in the third emerging category, in which the following eight themes were identified: a) REE organizations’ mission and vision, b) recruitment and retention of a diverse board and staff, c) funding, d) partnerships and collaboration, e) programming, f) cultural competency, g) marketing, and h) accessibility. This research provides REE organizations with best practices for providing access to their programs for MUY. By focusing specifically on REE programs, this study adds to the current research in the EE field on increasing diversity, inclusiveness, and cultural competency.


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Natural Science, Natural Science Education/Environment and Natural Resources (MS - NED/ENR) in the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center of The University of Wyoming.