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The EID Project

The Emotional and Behavioral Processes of Children's Environmental Identity Development (EID) among Rural and Non-Rural Alaskan Children

Project Overview

Despite the importance for human development of childhood experiences with the natural world, little research has focused on young children's emotional encounters with nature or how these experiences shape their values, perceptions and behaviors. This research systematically examines children's behavioral and emotional interactions to nature over a five-year period. This project examines how family, culture and geographical locations shape the manner in which children form their identity in nature. Findings from this research enhance understanding of how children learn to regulate their emotions in nature, and it also expands knowledge about the role education plays in shaping how children develop empathy and care for living and non-living aspects of their natural environments. The project highlights the voices and perspectives of young Alaska Native and non-Native children living in Alaska, thereby, broadening participation in socio-ecological science in Polar Regions.

Research Questions

This systematic and longitudinal investigation is guided by the following research questions:

  1. What are the emotional and behavioral processes of young children's environmental identity development?
  2. How are children's emotional and behavioral responses to natural stimuli influenced by social, cultural and geographical contexts?
  3. How can education be used as a tool to support children in developing positive emotional and behavioral responses to natural stimuli?
  4. How do children’s emotional and behavioral encounters with nature develop over time?

Click on the links below to explore some emerging findings of the project.

Contact the Researcher


This project is funded by the National Science Foundation. Award #1753399, CAREER: A longitudinal study of the emotional and behavioral processes of Environmental Identity Development among rural and non-rural Alaskan children.