Understanding Conservation: an assessment of one exhibit's ability to influence visitor perspective of conservation
MetadataShow full item record
Zoos and aquariums play an important role in exposing the public to the natural world and offer encounters not traditionally found outside of environmental education settings. Such exposure can modify one's opinions, especially with regard to how one understands their place within the environment. This study seeks to understand the success of one exhibit, Madagascar Journey at the South Carolina Aquarium, and assess the exhibit's impact on individual opinions and ideas concerning conservation. Unpaired preliminary (n=250) and post experience surveys (n=250) gather visitor knowledge and ideas. An additional fifty (n=50) paired surveys track individual changes in knowledge and ideas about conservation. Additionally, drawings by children after viewing the exhibit serve to assess youth experiences within the exhibit. Comparisons of pre and post experience survey results using graphical and statistical analyses report significant changes in responses subsequent to touring the exhibit. The effectiveness of this exhibit is a substantial benefit to the South Carolina Aquarium, providing support for this institution as an influential environmental and conservation education facility. Methodologies used here can be reapplied to assess success of other exhibits and programs to ensure an institution's conservation and education goals are met.