Abstract # 154:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 14, 2014 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 22 (Decatur B) Poster Presentation


EVALUATING THE USE AND EFFICACY OF CONSERVATION EDUCATION DISPLAYS AT ZOOS

L. A. Taglialatela
Kennesaw State University, 1000 Chastain Road, Department of Psychology, Kennesaw, GA 30144, USA
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     Relatively little is know about the use and impact of educational displays at zoos, and research typically has not included necessary controls. Therefore, it remains unclear if such installations help zoos attain their mission of educating the public about conservation issues. To this end, I evaluated the use and impact of installations in the Living Treehouse (Zoo Atlanta), where visitors can view educational displays highlighting the importance of trees for the survival of ecosystems. I collected pre-/post-exhibit information from 130 visitors for direct comparison, collected behavioral data from those visitors, utilized parallel forms, ensured equivalency of pre-/post- knowledge questions, and evaluated potential priming of the pre-test on activity within the exhibit. Visitors spent an average of 2min 40s (SD=1min 32s) inside the educational space. On average, visitors interacted with 1 display, staying 10.11s (SD=19.20s). Visitors’ knowledge was higher at post-exhibit, F(1, 98)=99.365, p<.001, n2=.506, however, interaction with displays did not correlate with knowledge gain. Pro-conservation attitudes from pre-/post- did not change (p=.779). Reported intent to engage in “green” behaviors at post-exhibit was higher than actual use of behaviors at pre-exhibit, F(1, 91)=166.639, p< .001, n2=.647, and this increase correlated with stay time (p=.046). These data indicate that use is marginal and interaction with the displays does not translate directly into increased knowledge, however it does correlate with intent to engage in pro-conservation behaviors.