Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Committee Member

Courtney Coughenour

Second Committee Member

Francisco Sy

Third Committee Member

Jennifer Pharr

Fourth Committee Member

Timothy Bungum

Fifth Committee Member

Tina Vo

Number of Pages



Background-School Gardens (SG) have been used in student programming to help achieve many goals that include increasing academic achievement, improving nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, increasing physical activity rates, instilling eco-consciousness, and increasing student and community engagement. To date, garden programs have predominantly been evaluated by case control studies examining pilot or informal short term implementation without consideration of garden program longevity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of SGs on student knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to nutrition and physical activity, examine student connection to the garden, and to identify stakeholder perceptions of best practices in using the SG as a parent engagement tool. Methods- This study utilized a mixed methods approach. Three groups of student participants were evaluated, 1) those without any exposure to a SG (control), 2) students in a school with a new SG, and 3) students in a school with a well-established, long running, SG program. A quasi-experimental design was used to examine student nutrition knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, physical activity behaviors, and attitudes towards the SG. Student group and grade level differences were analyzed using a two-way ANOVA, and paired T-Tests were used to measure changes in students before and after the first year of garden implantation. To understand the role that SGs play in parent engagement and perceived impacts to student health and educational outcomes, stakeholder interviews were conducted with eight educators and eight parents. The survey tool utilized the Social Ecological framework and the data was analyzed through inductive thematic analysis. Results-Results found increases in nutrition knowledge (t(92)= -5.76, p


Parent Engagement; School Garden Education; Social Ecological Model


Education | Environmental Education | Sustainability

File Format


File Size

2000 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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