Education is a vital component of ensuring the health of our oceans and the animals within it. On a whale watch boat, there is a unique opportunity to ensure that passengers leave having learned something about the whales as well as help them understand the impact they have on the whales and the marine environment. The first part of this project was designed to assist in achieving that goal by utilizing new educational activities to present to guests during the portion of the trip before encountering whales. In order to have a broader impact, adult- and kid- oriented activities were developed and facilitated throughout the second half of the whale watch season. These activities received positive feedback and will be used in subsequent seasons to educated passengers during trips. The second part of this project used the principles of action research to assess the impact of the current educational methodology used during the whale watch trips. Verbal, behavioral, and physical cues were used to interpret passenger engagement and ultimately rate engagement on a 1 to 5 scale in order to explore the null hypothesis that there was no difference in levels of engagement between the pre-contact, contact, post-contact, and the Naturalist/Intern post-contact phases of the trip. The results indicated a lack of statistical significance, which results in accepting the null hypotheses.
Wolf, Anne E., "Whale watch education and impact: development and assessment of educational techniques in Stellwagen Bank, Massachusetts." (2013). Internship Reports (Restricted). 194.
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