Abstract of Research
Leading to this Project
AN EXAMINATION OF POLLUTION
IN MONTANA SECONDARY AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION LABORATORIES
Presentation to the National Agricultural Education Research Conference (San
by Thomas Martin Bass
The purpose of
this study is to determine what practices, in the area of pollution prevention
and waste management, are being applied by Montana agricultural educators in
the classroom, laboratory and field settings. When certain defined practices
are not applied, barriers to implementation will be examined. Data will
also be collected and analyzed regarding Montana agricultural educators
perceptions and knowledge base concerning pollution prevention, waste management
and hazardous material management.
A survey titled Pollution Prevention in Agricultural
Education Laboratories and Field Areas was administered to 73 Montana
Agricultural Education Programs, which appeared on a statewide agricultural
education program directory. This study was a census of the population
of Montana Agricultural Education programs.
Subject areas examined in this study are divided into
ten sections: 1) Demographic data, 2) Program information, 3) Agricultural and
power mechanics laboratory , 4) Green house and farm plot, 5) Wood laboratory
, 6) Metals/welding laboratory , 7) Animal confinement area, 8) Curriculum and
classroom management, 9) Perceptions, 10) Barriers to Pollution Prevention.
Results of the study found that deficiencies were
identified with current practices in pollution prevention and waste management
by Montana agricultural educators. Lack of knowledge, or need for further
education was the primary barrier to practice and improvement of pollution prevention
identified by survey respondents. Agricultural educators in Montana, had
positive perceptions of pollution prevention. Most agreed that agriculturalists
are responsible for their own actions concerning the environment and that the
actions of few can have a wide effect. It was documented that Montana
agricultural educators do have a basic knowledge or awareness of pollution prevention
and proper waste management.
The participants in this study indicated a need for
education in pollution prevention specific to agricultural teaching laboratories
and field areas. Agricultural educators in Montana are interested in pursuing
this issue. Data obtained through this study may also be pertinent in other
areas of vocational education were similar teaching or research facilities are
maintained. Such research can also contribute to that which has already
been done in other areas such as chemistry and biology education.
It is recommended that a pollution prevention education
or training program, specific for agricultural education, should be developed
as soon as possible. It should focus on source reduction of waste, management
of unavoidable waste and consideration to proper facilities planning and management.
Agricultural educators themselves should be as involved as possible in the development
of pollution prevention training and education. Such information should
become part of a holistic pollution prevention resource for educational
institutions including all traditional, academic and vocational (agriculture
included) teaching areas.