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ERIC Number: ED517071
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 181
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-5077-5
Pathways for Success in Developing a Nature Trail at a Zoo: A Mixed-Methods Evaluative Case Study
Hendrickson, Carol F.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Walden University
Modern zoos serve as tourist attractions and recreational facilities, while providing educational outreach programs in ecology, conservation, and animal needs. However, in the 21st century, there has been a negative backlash of people associating zoos with animals being shut away in cages or pits. This case study included an examination of the outcome and impact of an exhibit design, based upon the goals of the design team, to determine if zoo visitors understood and grasped the intended ecological messages. To determine the efficacy of the exhibit, an analysis of how zoo visitors connected with nature was conducted. Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory was the theoretical framework for the study. Data were gathered from interviews with 7 original members of the design team of the Alabama Wilds Trail and surveys of 347 zoo trail visitors. The interviews with the design team were compared with the results of the survey completed by the zoo visitors. A line-by-line analysis of participants' responses was conducted, and qualitative software helped with data management. Coded themes, phrases, and words were used to interpret the zoo visitors' understanding of the nature trail and to determine if the design teams' goals were met. The results indicated that less than 25% of the visitors made the connection between understanding the trail message and the need for conservation. The methods used in this study could be modeled in other zoos to assist with future exhibits. It is recommended that all stakeholders be consulted during the planning stages of exhibits. An increase in the number of zoo visitors becoming involved with conservation efforts, and the obtainment of a better understanding of animal needs would result in positive social change. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama