Date of Graduation

Spring 2016


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Janice Greene


Today, there are more than 10,000 zoos worldwide that provide the public with opportunities to observe and learn about endangered and threatened species from ecosystems all over the world. Through direct and emotional interactions with wildlife at zoos, more than 600 million guests a year have a chance to evolve from spectators to participants of conservation. A mixed-method survey strategy took place at Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield Missouri about the Species Survival Plan to understand guest’s conservation mindedness and behavior changes after a visit. Initial surveys were given in the zoo and the follow-up surveys were given online a month later. Multiple questions showed similar percentages of conservation mindedness and behavior change between presentation and control days and if guests were Friends of the Zoo Members or not. Recycling, turning off lights, unplugging electronics, using florescent light bulbs and not watering lawns or using herbicides or pesticides showed the highest conservation mindedness of all respondents. These responses have been shown to save homes and families money and are the easiest to accomplish. Zoos need to continue to strive to affect behavioral changes towards conservation of their guests to ensure our earth’s future.


conservation, conservation mindedness, behavior change, dickerson park zoo, species survival plan

Subject Categories



© Sarah K. Foster

Open Access

Included in

Biology Commons