Intervention Impact on Young Students’ Associations about Wolf and Lynx

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Department of Biology Education, University of Bayreuth, Germany
  • 2 Department of Biology, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Abstract

Large carnivores such as wolves and lynxes have recently been re-established in some regions of Central Europe. In Central Europe only, scattered information about public background knowledge exists, whereas in Scandinavia, perceptions and/or natural history knowledge about those nonhuman animals only were monitored occasionally. Determining associations with wolves and lynxes among young students therefore is an important subject and offers great support when planning educational interventions. An educational module was offered to a sample of 4th and 5th graders (n = 311), which involved individual observations of wolves and lynxes in Animal Ground enclosures of a National Park. Before, during, and after participation, word associations of the stimuli words “wolf” and “lynx” were collected from all students, indicating a negative impression of those animals before the intervention, especially of the wolf. Our intervention decreased this negative image and improved the background knowledge of these species. Recommendations are discussed.

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