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Climate Change Education at Nature-Based Museums

Abstract

"The status of climate change education at nature-based museums (i.e., zoos, aquariums and nature centers) was examined, with a particular focus on centers participating in a National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) leadership training program. Study 1 revealed that, relative to nature-based museums that did not participate in the training, NNOCCI-participating institutions provided resources for staff to work on the topic and professional development programs and were more likely than non-participating museums to be comfortable with and provide climate change education programming. Study 2 confirms these results via visitor reports about the exhibits they observed. Study 2 also reveals that, relative to non-visitors and visitors to non-participating nature-based museums, visitors to NNOCCI-participating nature-based museums were more knowledgeable about and concerned about climate change and ocean acidification, hopeful about their ability to talk about the topic, and likely to engage in climate change actions than those who did not visit these centers. Importantly, results from both studies indicate that nature-based museums, especially NNOCCI participating museums, have an institutional culture supportive of climate science education and suggests that NNOCCI interpreter training programming facilitates this culture which in turn is reflected in visitor engagement."

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