Completed Theses of M.S. Urban Education Degree Earners

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Tracy Larson

Title: Nature’s Equigenic Effect on Reducing the Opportunity Gap for Urban Students of Color in a Post-COVID Learning Environment: An Extensive Literature Review

Abstract: During the spring of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic reached American soil. Governors called for lockdowns to protect the health of our community, which caused schools to close their doors and shift learning online. Urban students of color have been the hardest hit regarding their mental health, social-emotional learning, and academic learning. This caused an increase in the opportunity gap, further putting urban students of color at risk of losing out on important learning and milestones. Nature-Deficit Disorder theorizes that there is a direct correlation between the lack of nature in the lives of today’s tech-centered youth, and alarming childhood trends such as attention disorders, depression, and anxiety. Research shows that there are myriad benefits from nature contact and learning in the outdoors, such as a decrease in anxiety and depression, an increase in overall happiness and wellbeing, and improved academic outcomes. Nature’s equigenic effect to reverse the negative trends of Nature-Deficit Disorder can level the playing field in wellbeing and learning outcomes for urban students of color  (Children & Nature Network, 2021).  If schools and organizations want to decrease the opportunity gap, they need to provide equitable access to the outdoors by focusing their resources on schools whose students show the greatest losses from the pandemic, as they have the most to gain from this intervention.

Completed: December 2021

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  1. Tracy Larson Thesis.pdf Tracy Larson Thesis.pdf
Author: Urban Teacher Program Manager
Last modified: 5/15/2022 6:45 PM (EDT)