Zoological facilities, other natural history institutions and like-minded venues have emerged as critical players in educating the public about conservation science. Peer review research supports the assertion that these informal learning centers have an impact on how people perceive and appreciate nature and natural resources.
In an interview I participated in a couple years ago for Minnesota Public Radio with noted zoo historian Jeffrey Hyson, I mentioned that zoos, aquariums and marine parks are really at the forefront of educating people about nature. And in an article for National Geographic, where I interviewed my colleague Dr. Michael Hutchins about the Nature Deficit Disorder, we discussed the influence of zoological parks in helping young people connect with nature.
Next month, San Diego Zoo Global will host The Future of Informal Conservation Learning, a symposium on informal learning from October 19-20. The event will explore the many facets of conservation learning and impact measurement and will feature speakers from both the zoo industry and academia, including keynote speaker Patricia Patrick from Texas Tech University.
According to the symposium website, “Key areas of focus will include, the evaluation of learning and measurement of impact, connecting diverse communities to nature and conservation, learning in free-choice settings, participatory and inquiry approaches to conservation learning, and human behavior change for conservation. The goal is to generate innovative ideas to revolutionize learning in informal settings, and create opportunities for partnerships across the conservation learning community, all while equipping you with the skills and knowledge to inspire and motivate people to save species.”
About San Diego Zoo Global:
“At San Diego Zoo Global, our vision for the future is to lead the fight against extinction. We see the learning spectrum as spanning everything we do at San Diego Zoo Global. For us, it includes on-site efforts, such as programs, tours, and graphics at our Zoo and Safari Park. It also embraces our engagement with the global community through training programs, conservation field projects, social media opportunities, and our Internet presence.
We are hosting this symposium to examine the many facets of conservation learning—and to share this knowledge with you, as our partners in ending extinction.”
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