Coral reef abundance has significantly declined over the past decades due to anthropogenic sea level temperature rise and ocean acidification. Many scientists are dedicated to researching this influential species but their research is not properly communicated to the general public. There is a lack of knowledge, resulting in a feeling of indifference, about coral reef health, their importance to the human race, and ways the general public can aid in conserving this species. Marine science conservation outreach as a form of communication is becoming increasingly important as our planet warms and our climate changes. We studied the effectiveness and efficiency of the conservation outreach program, Camp Seaquarium by creating specific lesson plans, take-home worksheets and surveys. The Miami Seaquarium education department strives to increase awareness about marine conservation. One way they do this is through Camp Seaquarium, a summer camp that focuses on educating children about different ways they can help the marine environment. After campers were taught, their guardians were interviewed to see if the guardian absorbed any of the conservation practices taught to the camper. We looked to see if a secondary target audience could exhibit a behavior change by only directly interacting with a primary target audience. Our goal was to create the most behavior change across multiple target audiences by using the least amount of educators, resources and time while studying the methodology that got us there. This resulted in a conservation outreach program that efficiently increased communication across audiences and into the general public, raising awareness and changing behaviors by instilling a feeling of importance about the coral reef ecosystem.
Lacy, Dani, "Creating behavior change through conservation education" (2017). Internship Reports (Restricted). 306.
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