• environmental science;
  • textbooks;
  • urban education;
  • secondary;
  • college/university


This study examined how photographs in six introductory environmental science texts portrayed the urban environments in which most U.S. students lived. All photographs from all texts were coded to determine whether they depicted urban areas. The urban photographs were then coded to determine what they communicated about the urban environment. The analysis suggested that the texts in this study, though varied in their portrayal of urban ecosystems, did address many of the environmental issues that affected the city. However, urban examples were rarely used to illustrate general ecological concepts that applied to all ecosystems (i.e., biodiversity or evolution). The author contended that “sense of place” theories indicated that more photographs should be dedicated to portraying urban environments as functioning ecosystems. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 1003–1020, 2008