Theme 2: Environmental Education

Target: To influence public environmental action, our research findings will be distilled in interesting, diverse and fun ways, for use by zoos, schools, colleges, universities, and conservation managers. The success of these activities will be assessed by gathering data, using results to adapt and improve education techniques in zoos.

There are many ways that zoos attempt to get information on animals and their conservation across to their visitors, but there are few studies that have researched the best techniques. For example, little information is available regarding the effectiveness of information signs for at getting information across to visitors. Ongoing data collection by CIRCLE researchers is determining the rate at which visitors observe signs and how this is affected by graphic design and external influences such as animal activity.

CIRCLE research is also evaluating the amount of information that visitors take away from signs, in comparison to more active learning such as presentations and taught sessions. These data are being used to adjust education methods to maximise the amount of learning and environmental action that is encouraged by zoos.

Current research:

  • Determining how the design of animal signs affects learning by zoo visitors;
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of different teaching methods for learning, and for encouraging environmental action.