Informal or incidental learning in recreational parks has been rarely assessed, although most city-dwellers enjoy and appreciate wildlife in their day-to-day lives. Incidental or informal learning is non-intentional and grows out of spontaneous situations and is mostly self-directed. Here, we focus on the informal setting of a small urban park in Ludwigsburg (Germany) as a source of incidental learning. Two hundred and forty-eight visitors were interviewed at the park using a questionnaire, and 102 other people (non-visitors) acted as a control group. Park visitors scored significantly better in their knowledge of animal species compared with our control group. Species knowledge increased with age, with number of park visits, and with educational level. Using the number of species visitors had previously seen at the park, we found a significant influence of educational level, park visiting frequency, and of park use. Ninety-seven percent of participants responded with positive attitudes towards animals, and most animals were detected by their movement, rather than by their sound or coloration.
|Author Address||University of Education, PH Ludwigsburg, Germany.Randler@uni-leipzig.de|
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