Thesis Title

The Effects Of An Interpretive Center On Knowledge And Attitudes Of Grassland Habitats At Prairie State Park

Date of Graduation

Spring 2003

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Janice Greene

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

Environmental programs can be helpful in promoting support and appreciation for the conservation of prairie habitat. This study was designed to examine the effects of an interpretive center on knowledge and attitudes of grassland habitats at Prairie State Park. Participants for the survey were visitors at Prairie State Park Visitor Center in Barton County, Missouri. A participant questionnaire was designed to obtain demographic information and assess knowledge of grassland habitats and attitudes towards the support for prairie restoration. The study showed that visitors who watched the video in the visitor's center scored significantly higher on the knowledge questions than those who did not. Knowledge scores were significantly higher for males than females. Both knowledge and attitude scores for visitors with graduate degrees were significantly higher then for those with less education. Those visitors who participated in programs rated the visitor center, staff and park significantly higher than those who did not participate in programs. The study offered information on how a self-guided interpretive center would be most beneficial in educating visitors about tallgrass prairie. The results further emphasize the importance of evaluating programs to insure that programs have a positive effect on the attitudes and behavior of the audience.

Copyright

© Michelle L. Hoffman

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