Animal ambassador interpretation techniques and its impact on connectedness to nature
Schueler, Darcy Sue
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This exploratory study looked at the effects of naming an Animal Ambassador on participants’ level of Empathy, Altruism, Connectedness to Nature, and Commitment to Engaging in Environmentally-responsible Behaviors. The study sample included 51 of Pennsylvania State University’s Shaver’s Creek Traveling Naturalist Program participants. Traveling Naturalist presentations included two injured birds of prey as educational tools. Animals received a name connected to the history of the species and anatomical characteristics. Observations, online questionnaires, and telephone interviews were used to assess the effects of the named animal ambassadors. Naming an animal ambassador was found to have no statistically significant effect on participants, but qualitative data suggested a connection between participants and named animals that were injured. Future research should involve pre-tests to recognize the change in participants, a larger sample size, and intact groups to determine the potential influence of the participants’ empathy-altruism, connectedness to nature, and commitment to environmental behavior outcomes.