ERIC Number: EJ1024836
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
Volunteers as Products of a Zoo Conservation Education Program
Bixler, Robert D.; Joseph, Stephanie L.; Searles, Vicki M.
Journal of Environmental Education, v45 n1 p57-73 2014
Zoos embrace docents/volunteers as a means of interpreting the threats to wildlife and biodiversity to visitors. To accomplish this, zoos provide docents' education, training, and work experience. Docents themselves also engage in solitary and social wildlife experiences outside of their volunteer obligations. This study examined what motivates docents and how they change as part of their experience. Results from a mailback questionnaire (91% response rate, "n" = 365) documented that both altruistic (interpreting wildlife to visitors) and egoistic (learning about wildlife themselves; socializing with like-minded others) motivations were predictive of continuing satisfaction with their volunteer experiences. Docents also reported starting or increasing many conservation behaviors after beginning to volunteer at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Docents with more years of experience tended to report more involvement with conservation behaviors. Results support an environmental socialization framework to explain the impacts of an environmental training program. Implications for future research and practice are presented.
Descriptors: Volunteers, Recreational Facilities, Wildlife, Conservation (Environment), Environmental Education, Motivation, Questionnaires, Altruism, Predictor Variables, Participant Satisfaction, Experience, Social Influences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio