Abstract # 2088 Event # 122:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 11:40 AM-12:00 PM: Session 11 (Regency East #3) Oral Presentation

Forest Fragment and Chimpanzee (PAN TROGLODYTES SCHWEINFURTHII) Conservation Education in Rural Uganda: Assessing the Effects on Children

T. Weldon1, J. Devenport1 and J. Wallis2
1University of Central Oklahoma, 100 University Dr, Edmond , OK 73034, USA, 2ABTI-American University of Nigeria, Nigeria, Africa
     The Kasokwa Forest fragment of Western Uganda and the chimpanzees it contains are under immediate threat: the shared dependence of forest resources between humans and chimpanzees creates a conservation conflict. A study of conservation education in two Ugandan primary schools was designed to address this issue. Student knowledge of forests and chimpanzees was examined before and after participating in a conservation education program that employed concept mapping techniques. Total scores on concept maps [t (776) = -29.80, p<.01] including scores from concept links [t (776) = -18.696, p<.01] and examples [t (776) = -26.78, p<.01] were significantly increased after the program. Students who attended Karujubu Primary School had a higher pre-test mean for total concept maps and a higher baseline of positive awareness of chimpanzees than students from Kibwona Primary School with a statistically significant mean difference, [t (41) =5.12, p<.01]. This pre-test difference between schools is likely due to exposure to NACOPRA (a pre-existing grassroots conservation effort) in Karujubu. The increase from pre-to post-test scores reveals significant growth in student concepts of tropical forests and chimpanzees. This study underscores the value of conservation education for youth and the importance of accessing these populations through educational institutions. This research was made possible by the generous support of an American Society of Primatologists small research grant.