Communicating research with the public : evaluation of an invasive earthworm education program

  • Ecologists are increasingly encouraged by funding agencies and professional societies to communicate their research with the public. However, most receive relatively little training in how to do this effectively. Furthermore, evaluation of whether such an investment by ecologists actually achieves conservation objectives is rare. We created an education program, involving print, television, radio, and internet media, to increase awareness about earthworm invasions and to discourage anglers from dumping earthworm bait. Using pre- and post-surveys, we evaluated our program’s success in reaching its target audience and in changing knowledge and behavior. Few participants (4.1%) recalled seeing the program material and knowledge of the fact that earthworms are non-native in Alberta remained low (15.8% before, 15.1% after). Further, after being told about the negative effects of earthworms in forests, 46.7% of the anglers surveyed stated they would not change their bait disposal behavior in the future, with many commenting that they did not believe earthworms could be harmful. These results highlight the importance of evaluating education programs, rather than assuming they are successful. Given many participants' doubts that earthworms have negative effects, both regulations and education may be needed to reduce earthworm introductions.

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Author:Erin K. CameronORCiD, Sarah J. Yuckin, Erin M. Bayne
Parent Title (English):NeoBiota
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2013/11/22
Date of first Publication:2013/10/11
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/11/22
Tag:angler; bait; behavior; evaluation; invasive species; non-native; public education Copyright
Page Number:15
First Page:83
Last Page:97
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:NeoBiota / NeoBiota 19
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0