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The Effects of a Summer Camp Program in China on Children's Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Toward Animals: A Model for Conservation Education

By Sarah M. Bexell, Olga S. Jarrett, Xu Ping

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Abstract

This summative evaluation, conducted in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, studied whether participation in a conservation education camp positively changed 8–12-year-old children’s (a) knowledge of how to protect animals, (b) care about animals, (c) propensity for environmental and wildlife stewardship, and (d) compassionate behavior toward animals and nature. Influenced by conservation psychology, social learning theory, empathy and moral development, constructivism, and conservation biology, 5-day overnight camps were conducted at 2 zoological institutions. Activities were designed to help children form bonds with animals and care enough to positively change their behavior toward animals and nature. Mixed methods, using pre- and post-visit surveys, researcher field notes, vignettes, student journals, an end of camp questionnaire, and a camper behavior ethogram, revealed significant increases in knowledge, care, and propensity for action, and an additional theme, empathy. This study identified effective strategies to promote positive behavior toward animals, empathy, and conservation behavior.

Submitter

Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2013
Publication Title Visitor Studies
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 59-81
Publisher The Humane Society
Location of Publication Washington, D.C.
URL http://animalstudiesrepository.org/acwp_he/42/
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal care
  2. Animal protection
  3. Animal roles
  4. China
  5. Compassion
  6. Conservation
  7. Environment
  8. Knowledge
  9. wildlife
  10. Zoo and captive wild animals
  11. Zoos