There has never been a more urgent and critical need to address the threats to biodiversity. Whilst humans are the main driver of these problems, they can also drive the solution. The contemporary understanding of conservation science reflects this, broadening the context from a focus on biology to people and the choices they make. To be effective, programs to conserve ecosystems must consider the human behaviour dimension. In the last decade, many zoos have begun to fully embrace social science and use behaviour change theories as a basis for their programs, experiences and exhibits. This has been a deliberate shift in order to move beyond merely awareness raising and onto facilitating the pro-wildlife and pro-environmental behaviours needed to address threats to biodiversity. Zoos also provide a unique opportunity to influence the next generation, as emotionally powerful childhood experiences of nature and wildlife have been shown to be an important factor behind environmentally responsible actions by adults. Combining many individual actions and changes in behaviour can assist in building towards a tipping point for legislative, regulatory, social and/or market changes. In this unit, students will explore Taronga Conservation Society Australia's campaigns and programs that lead the community to rethink the way we live and the impacts we have on our environment both at Taronga and in the community. The students in this course will learn how to apply models and methodologies to influence behaviour and create social impact to solve environmental problems and support healthy ecosystems for a sustainable future. They will also develop their capacity to lead and deliver education programs through a practical understanding of communication and environmental education strategies.
A total of 24 hours consisting of 2hr seminars and weekend workshops, all taking place at Taronga Zoo.
Understanding Conservation Science (new proposal)