While it has taken many months to prepare and finalize – I am excited to now share with you my final paper for the first ever Why Should You Care project. I considered waiting to post both the final video and paper together, but instead I will share each as they are completed!
This paper includes all of the data analysis completed for the research carried out at the Cheetah Outreach in South Africa. If you prefer a quick read, begin with the introductory page titled, Background for the WSYC Project before then jumping to page 4. On page 4 you will find the beginning of the Results section where most of the heart of the paper is explained. Page 7 also skips past many of the tables (if you tend to find those overwhelming) and also gets right to the explaining of results. Otherwise, start from the beginning and enjoy! (I do believe there is value in each part of the paper towards helping you understand exactly how the project unfolded.)
But before reading, make sure to review the short 3 minute video below. It will give you a few reminders of the reason for why I ventured all the way to South Africa to partner with the Cheetah Outreach…
Overall, the results that I found in this paper suggest that the Cheetah Outreach does a great job of increasing visitor knowledge of cheetah conservation as well as their desire and ability to share conservation information with others. However, the attitudes of visitors towards cheetah conservation were not as impacted as originally expected. Project results also suggest that it may be beneficial for the Outreach to provide increased opportunities/suggestions on how visitors can make specific behavior changes for cheetah conservation. From project results, I also suggest that more emphasis be placed on the importance of cheetahs to local ecosystems – in addition to the threats they are facing within these ecosystems. I also realized that there needs to be some sort of method to draw those not already interested in conservation towards the activities of organizations (like the Cheetah Outreach). It is great to help those who are somewhat interested understand why they should care – but a way to target those not interested at all might be of value to conservation organizations looking to expand their impact. Lastly, results suggest that creating a sort of group discussion amongst visitors where they can interact and share ideas/thoughts of how they can take what they experienced at the Outreach and translate it into action back at home would be useful. Visitors shared they were excited to talk with others about their new gains in knowledge – so why not start before leaving for home?! Who knows what connections could be made within visitor groups and even more inspiration given and action taken.
On another note, while qualitatively analyzing survey responses it is worth sharing that I found the visitors’ feedback to showcase a range of emotion. Some answers were sad, others humorous, and many exciting. Regardless of their tone, I am thankful for those who did take the time to respond to my survey – as the project could not have been completed with them (along with all of the donations and supporters along the way).
Now, I don’t want to give much more away before letting you read about all the details for yourself. So, have a read of the paper using the link below and let me know what you think!
I will also be sharing the final video within the next few days that will interpret project results from a more visual perspective. I will be sending both the paper and video to the Cheetah Outreach for their use and so that they can hopefully find some of the results valuable to helping them reach their conservation goals.
From this project, I personally have learned more ways to help future conservation organizations reach their greatest potential for protecting wildlife through education.
Thank you for all of your love and support and feel free to share!