Hello everyone, has anyone used and evaluated the effectiveness of any conservation literature, songs, or games for children as part of a conservation project? If so, would you be willing to share your experience?

Jo Harper on May 15, 2020 • 14 answer
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I am creating a resource and activity pack for gibbon conservation education and general conservation education for my MSc project. Because I cannot get out there to implement them before I submit my dissertation, I am really keen to hear details of any successful or unsuccessful stories. Thanks so much, Jo


Hi Jo,

Who is your target audience for the education materials? What are you trying to educate them on and for what purposes (e.g. what are you expecting them to do with that information?). With that info I may be able to help further.

Best wishes. Adam

Adam Barlow on May 18, 2020
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Hi Adam, thanks for your reply.
The materials will be primarily for children of primary school age in China (approximately age 5-11). I am compiling a student workbook, teacher guide with accompanying Powerpoint presentations, knowledge-based assessments as well as activities to assess the learning through a creative context, e.g. completing the story, writing the story from the point of view of the animal, poster activities, writing another verse of a conservation song, using information in the workbooks about local fauna to create their own Top Trumps, a fragmented forest game and also Personal Meaning Maps. I would use NVivo to code the responses to look at knowledge, attitudes, behaviours etc. I would also probably use run McNemar test on SPSS to assess changes between pre- and post training using a questionnaire. I have also written a bi-lingual, illustrated storybook (Chinese-English) for younger children which addresses primates as pets, by nurturing a sense of empathy with a young gibbon.
There are multiple aims for the education programme, which is ostensibly a gibbon conservation education programme, but, essentially it is designed to make the children care about gibbon conservation and to feel that they can make a difference now and in the future. How to do this? By increasing teacher knowledge and commitment to gibbon conservation; to increase the children's connectedness to nature through various local nature activities; to increase their awareness about the plight of gibbons in their own country; to increase their cultural attachment to gibbons by looking specifically at gibbons in Chinese art and literature; to raise their awareness about the importance of trees and forest connectivity; to raise their awareness about how human activity affects the natural world and how those changes have an impact on the human world.
I think I'm writing too much, sorry...
But for my MSc, I cannot carry out evaluation of the effectiveness of these things, so I need to find examples of different aspects of what I'm doing around the world: what impact these may have had. If you have tried any of these things, or know of projects that have and can point me in the right direction, that would be fantastic.
Thank you.

Jo Harper on May 18, 2020
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Hi Jo,
Under the Primate Education Network (PEN), we collected a bibliography that includes citations to journal articles, conference abstracts, book chapters, dissertations, and more. You can search the PEN Primate Education bibliography by keyword or phrase, including the title, author, and publication year. Although PEN is no longer active, you can still access this bibliography with 261 entrees when you sign up here (it's free): https://www.primateeducationnetwork.org/members-area/ There is also a Resource library in the member area to promote information sharing and prevent primate educators from reinventing the wheel. PEN curated a comprehensive collection of 200+ downloadable primate education materials; hope these may be of help to your project. Good luck!

Thirza Loffeld on May 18, 2020
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thanks Joe, I will ask someone that may have some experience in this to join the hub and add their comments here. My only thought is that I have found it can be helpful to give them an immediate way of doing something positive/active to demonstrate their care for the gibbons. In any case, best of luck with it all and hope those references from Thirza are helpful.

Adam Barlow on May 19, 2020
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Thanks, Adam. That's a really important point and one that I have found reasonably easy to do here in the UK. It's slightly harder for the schools where I will initially be working in China, but I am thinking of creative ways to inspire and recognise activities, big and small, that benefit both gibbons and the environment around them, and how to embed these activities into their routine, rather than being a special, one-off "conservation" activity.

Jo Harper on May 19, 2020
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Hello Jo,

I am doing conservation education program as part of our long term project to conserve Javan Gibbon in Gunung Halimun Salak National Park, Indonesia. It basically started because we realized there is a gap between our research activity and the conservation practice to reach community. Therefore we initiated conservation education program targeting children with age range from 10 - 13 years old. Currently we have our program running at two primary schools nearby our project site (about 60 students), luckily the schools very supportive since the beginning of this program and now it has been integrated in the local school system. We conducted it two times a month per school.

We developed one year lesson plan (one topic per month), started with pre survey, and we supposed to do post survey next month, however due to the pandemic the schools were stop and I am not able to go to the field site because the NP has been closed temporarily.

The lesson plan was developed based on discussion with teachers and interview with the children about what kind of activities that they like to do in conservation education class. It is important to engage them and connect with conservation message we want to share. The children are fascinated with video therefore we usually provided short video and continue with short presentation. Beside to increase awareness for the local children here, I want to build their confidence to speak up and raise question, so we have short PPT slides, a game afterwards that require all of them to speak up about anything regarding the lesson by disposing ball randomly and they have to pass it to their friend.

We also developed complimentary materials to support this program such as activity book, story book, poster, huge snake & ladder game, coloring page (they love coloring!) etc with information about behavior, threats (that we compiled based on our research activity) and what they can do to protect this endemic species.

All of the activities now are leading by one of our local assistant and helping by some volunteers from university students.

I don’t do a lot of statistics, only simple measurement and based on last year experience where we started this program in only one school, it shows positive impact to the children to raise their knowledge and perspective towards javan gibbon and what makes me happy is how they can transfer the information to parents. I usually do casual interview by visit children house and talking with parents, beside to see the progress of our program also to motivate parents to allow the children to get higher education.

I would be happy to discuss more if you need as well as to share some materials we have developed :)

Rahayu Oktaviani on May 20, 2020
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Hi Jo,

Your project sounds great, and elaborate as well. I am very happy to see you know what you are talking about! I'm sorry you can't execute it with the COVID-19 situation going on. I hope you still have an opportunity to do so in the future.

Regarding your question, you might find it interesting to take a look at the project I did for my MSc (Primate Conservation) in 2014. I created an education program with complimentary story book on Cambodian primates, for local people in rural areas around Phnom Kulen national park, and measured the impact with a pre- and post-tests by scoring the change in knowledge, attitude and perceived skills of (protecting) primates.

After analysing the results in SPSS, the data showed that the program significantly raised the children's attitude and perceived skills (but not knowledge, which was likely due to a ceiling-effect). These are the results right after the program was completed - I aimed to do a long-term follow up after a year, but due to unforeseen circumstances, this wasn't possible anymore. Still the short term significant outcomes might be of interest to you.

Please feel free to take a look at the page I made of the project: https://brendadegroot.com/projects/tails-of-cambodia/
If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to drop me a line!

With kind regards,


Brenda de Groot on Jun 01, 2020
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Thank you for your great ideas, Rahayu. I am definitely going to use the ball idea to get everyone speaking and I like the idea of the giant snakes and ladders and the colouring pages. I will get in touch directly in a few weeks, if that's OK, as I would like to chat some more. Thanks.

Jo Harper on Jun 02, 2020
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Dear Brenda, thanks for your answer. I have actually seen (and taken inspiration from) your book, as we looked at it in our conservation education class. It has lots of great ideas. Thanks for getting in touch and for the link, as I can now take another look at it. Thank you.

Jo Harper on Jun 02, 2020
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Great conversation and ideas.
I used to work for the RSPB and although children-oriented tasks and ID it really enthused the adults and their wonder at how excited the children are.
I have also worked as a youth worker and Bushcraft skills and forest schools so i suppose all the linked up learning and teaching has helped me speak to a variety of audiences and enthuse people directly.
If you want there are lots of free resources on the RSPB website.
Mike C

Michael Cunningham on Sep 19, 2020
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Thanks for your suggestion, Michael. I did actually look at the connectedness to nature questionnaire and other of the RSPB resources. They were really good.

The summer education programme took place in Yunnan (unfortunately without me), using some of my resources, including my story book, gibbon conservation song and I managed to trial my Fragmented Forest game here in the UK, which worked really well. If anyone wants details of how to run the game, let me know. It was really effective in bringing home the effects on isolated populations in fragmented forests, while being a fun, competitive team game at the same time.

Jo Harper on Sep 21, 2020
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Hi Jo, Thanks for sharing the outcome of your work; great to read you were able to trial your Fragmented Forest Game here in the UK. Perhaps we could set up an environmental education room on WildHub and you could share the game and instructions there?

To evaluate the effectiveness of our Q&A section on WildHub, I was also wondering if you could please answer the following questions in this thread 1) did the information provided by other members help you decide what to do? and 2) what was your decision?

Many thanks for your help and feedback and I hope all is well.

Thirza Loffeld on Oct 22, 2020
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I would be happy to talk about and provide written information about the Fragmented Forest Game if anyone is interested. The questions and answers have been really useful in connecting with people and also keeping the momentum going during this difficult period.
The experience in China also showed that creating a simple, conservation song was really popular with younger children and that some of the messages contained within the lyrics were retained (as demonstrated in the post activity assessment).

Jo Harper on Oct 26, 2020
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Thanks Jo - that is great to read. I will keep you posted on a possible environmental education room on WildHub.

Thirza Loffeld on Nov 11, 2020
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