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Title: What are the opportunities for introducing education provision in urban parks in Tallahassee, Florida that develops positive attitudes towards, and a desire to protect, native wildlife?
Author: Loyd-Pain, Jennifer
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2012
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Tallahassee, Florida is a rapidly growing small city for which human encroachment on wildlife habitat, and the conservation of natural resources in general, has become of paramount importance. It was within this context that the thesis examined the opportunities for introducing education provision in urban parks in Tallahassee, Florida that develops positive attitudes towards, and a desire to protect, native wildlife; or “conservation motivation”. The research aimed to assist educators in the non-formal sector, decision-making organizations and urban park administrators in the development of relevant programming, as well as to design pilot wildlife-based environmental education programs which may be applied as a model in other contexts. The theoretical framework for the project, including criteria for the evaluation of wildlife-based environmental education programs, was influenced by elements of previously developed learning concepts. These concepts include experiential learning, constructivism, and the complementary systems approach. The theoretical framework focused on how these theories inform the type of learning this endeavor sought to develop in city parks. Due to significant municipal economic limitations, it was imperative that programming be developed at minimal staff and financial cost. Given their accessibility, urban parks provide the ideal location for experiential wildlife-based education. The thesis statement that education concerning indigenous animal species that many often take for granted, and sometimes malign, will contribute to the development of positive attitudes towards, and the desire to protect, native wildlife was carried out through the investigation of three primary research questions (PRQs). The questions concerned existing provision for environmental education in, and linked to, public parks and local non-formal organizations and, arising from the former, the development of pilot programs for public parks in a small city. Data was collected via secondary and field-based primary research. The methods chosen to reflect an action-based research methodology and to correspond with the PRQs included semi-structured pre and post-program surveys, semi-structured interviews, and observations. It was determined that appropriately targeted experiential wildlife-based environmental education leads to the development of positive attitudes toward native wildlife. The impact on attitudes for the purpose of change, in this case fostering the desire to protect native wildlife, was largely favorable but requires additional study. Through consultation with the City of Tallahassee and related non-formal organizations, three wildlife-based pilot programs were developed for Tallahassee Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Affairs (TPRNA), with two having been fully implemented and evaluated. The project addressed opportunities for further research in related areas, and provided the foundations on which to introduce expanded, accessible, low cost education provision in urban parks pertaining to native wildlife conservation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available