Abstract # 1135 Event # 156:

Scheduled for Tuesday, June 27, 2006 04:30 PM-06:10 PM: (Princess) Symposium

SYMPOSIUM: Current Perspectives in Primate Conservation Education

A. Savage and T. Bettinger
Disney's Animal Kingdom, PO Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, USA
     Conservation education initiatives can serve as vital links between scientific work occurring in the field and the people living in a region. Educating local residents, school children and key decisions makers on the conservation challenges in the region may enhance our ability to achieve long-lasting and effective primate conservation programs. Our symposium will review some of the recent advances in primate conservation education programs that focus on the development of effective leadership skills, creation of networks, tools to integrate conservation material into the science curriculum, and the importance of evaluating our educational efforts. We will use a multidisciplinary approach to review conservation education efforts currently underway. We will focus on examples of initiatives that demonstrate the importance of building successful local community partners in conservation. Developing strategies that impart information and influence local communities to become involved in effective conservation measures is an important aspect of any conservation education program. The development of effective networks of individuals that can empower local communities to become involved in activities that will not only benefit their community but also protect primate habitats is critical for successful conservation. While formal education programs have been shown to be the most effective in imparting knowledge, it is essential that we integrate information generated from our field research into existing curriculum if we are to reach and positively impact conservation efforts. The importance of evaluating our education initiatives is critical if we are to determine our ability to influence behavioral change in a manner that is aligned with species and habitat protection. The papers presented in this symposium will provide information on techniques currently being used to accomplish these goals. By sharing successful practices, we hope to encourage others to incorporate education initiatives into field programs.