This program was a hands-on, experiential and service learning course that was introduced into the Telesecundaria curriculum of middle school students in Baja California Sur, Mexico. The curriculum focuses on the environmental needs of the community, from beach clean ups to releasing baby sea turtles. During the course, which met weekly on campus and several times at field sites, students engaged in a variety of environmental projects of local importance. These projects included a campaign to inform tourists of the dangers to sea turtles posed by driving on the beach, both through conversation and signage; beach cleanup efforts coupled with outreach about littering; composting; and reducing the consumption of endangered sea turtles within students’ families and community.
The principal component of the evaluation was an extensive set of interviews. Interviews were conducted prior to the 2006/2007 academic year with the 23 students about to begin this program, as well as 3-4 weeks following their completion of the program. To provide longitudinal insights, 15 students from a previous year, 2004/2005, were also interviewed. Parents, teachers, and other members of the community were also interviewed to corroborate the students’ claims about their own and their families’ behavioral changes, and to put their efforts and the program’s focus into its relevant social and economic context. Interview responses from these multiple sources were triangulated to provide added validity. The evaluation results were used to contribute to the sparse literature on teacher practice and effects of creative pedagogical with Mexican learners.