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Leave No Trace Outdoor Skills and Ethics A National Education Program Designed to Teach Stewardship, Land Ethics, and Outdoor Skills on Public Lands Presentation Objectives Review the goals of LNT educational efforts. Review methods for evaluating the efficacy of LNT educational efforts. Review some recent research findings. Why Leave No Trace ? One act of tree damage and one additional campfire ring may have little significance, but thousands of such instances seriously degrade natural resources and recreation experiences. The Leave No Trace program is designed to avoid or minimize impacts to resource and social conditions by modifying behavior through education to reduce per capita impacts. The LNT Challenge Prevent avoidable resource and social impacts Minimize unavoidable impacts Preserve the quality of resources and recreation experiences Goals of Evaluating Efficacy Demonstrate utility/effectiveness of the LNT educational program. Justify investment of staff and funding on LNT efforts. Improve effectiveness of educational efforts through evaluations. Others? A Classification of Visitor Actions That Cause Impact Careless – picking wildflowers Unskilled – firewood gathering and campfire building Uninformed – feeding wildlife Unavoidable – trampling along a trail Illegal – theft of artifacts Which actions can education address? Theoretical Basis for Visitor Education Theories of Persuasion Central Route – relies on visitor attention, consideration and internalization of a message. Peripheral Route – relies on the source of the message: a well- known spokesman or authority figure (land manager). Theories of Moral Development Preconventional – respond best to law enforcement actions Conventional – respond to opinions of others or societal norms Postconventional – consider justice, fairness, and self-respect Methods to Assess Efficacy of Education Test of Knowledge Pre- and Post-test of knowledge gain. Reported Behavior Ask visitors what they have done differently. Observation Unobtrusive observation of visitor behavior/actions. Change in Conditions Measured changes in natural or social conditions compared to a control (requires a scientific experimental design). Summary of Research Results Most studies have found educational efforts to be successful in increasing visitor knowledge and altering visitor behaviors. Few studies have attempted or been successful in measuring actual changes in resource or social conditions. Regulatory messages that threaten sanctions are more effective than purely educational messages. Summary of Research Results Effectiveness is related to: Content – simple, interesting, and useful information is most effective. Consistency is also important. Delivery – timing relative to it’s use and source credibility. Experiential learning is best, followed by personal contacts, brochures, and signs (least effective). Audience Characteristics – match message to audience knowledge and needs. Theoretical Grounding – employ best approach for the audience, or multiple approaches. Message Delivery – timing is everything Biocentric Messaging Durango LNT Lab Project Animas River Trail, LNT Poster Evaluation Study done by Yu-Fai Leung and Aram Attarian, NC State. Evaluated visitor preferences and effectiveness of two LNT posters: traditional and modern (artistic) designs. Visitors overwhelmingly preferred the modern design and it was rated more highly for 9 of 10 factors (e.g., attention, design, attractiveness, information). “Authority” was the exception. 61% had heard of the LNT program and most scored above 60% on an LNT test of knowledge. Durango LNT Lab Project Animas River Trail, LNT Poster Evaluation 3135 visitors were observed: 4.2% stopped to read the posters (1 in 25). Walkers were more likely to stop (6.1%) than joggers (0.7%) or cyclists (1%). Dogs off leash: No poster (3.3%), traditional (1%), modern (2.4%). Used a social trail: No poster (2.4%), trad. (0.7%), modern (2.1%). Response rate to follow-up survey 8 wks later was low (34%). There was a small increase in LNT knowledge (2.8% - 10.7%) but no significant difference based on poster type. LNT Trainer Course Evaluation Jeff Marion and Melissa Daniels, starting this month. Why the Trainer Course was selected… Pre- and Post-course surveys with a Follow-up survey 4 months later. Test of LNT knowledge – 25 item multiple choice test Ethics – 18 item Likert scale test Reported Behavior – pre-course and follow-up comparison Secondary Instruction – documentation of training efforts LNT Trainer Course Evaluation Please notify Melissa Daniels (email@example.com, 540-231- 3596) of any Trainer courses in April-July, 2003. Instructors will be sent a package of pre- and post-course surveys and asked to distribute, collect, and return them to Melissa. We will send followup surveys to participants via mail about 4 months after the course (or e-mail them to complete an online survey). What Can I Do? Conduct “in-house” evaluations. Test of knowledge, reported behavior, observation, monitor natural and social conditions. E.g., Acadia study on cairns by Charlie Jacoby… Fund formal research studies or request others to sponsor research. (e.g., Aldo Leopold Wild. Res. Program). The End Happy trails and remember to . . . Leave No Trace !
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