Investigating Best Practices of Conservation Education for the African Wildlife Foundation

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Sarikas, Christine
May, Katlyn
Kleinbort, Tori


George, Pamela

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Effective conservation education has the ability to improve educational opportunities and expand environmental support in places where it is implemented. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) was founded in 1961 to promote wildlife conservation, land and habitat protection, community empowerment, and economic development across Africa (AWF, 2012). Until recently, AWF had not ventured into the formal education realm and, while they do not currently own or operate schools of their own, the organization is working to develop conservation education curricula to help support its mission. AWF will construct new schools and improve the infrastructure of existing schools to create effective learning environments for conservation topics. This study seeks to provide AWF with expert opinions and related curricular developments to help support their efforts at improving conservation education in Sub-Saharan Africa. A review of relevant literature focusing on the successful development and implementation of conservation education curricula was conducted and analyzed. Live interviews were conducted to obtain views from conservation education experts around the world. Nineteen interviews were conducted in total. These interviews provide expert opinions on environmental education, particularly conservation, in developing nations. Additionally, these interviews highlight existing environmental and conservation education curricula that contemporary experts identify as exemplary, and they include advice and guidance from experts within the education field. Qualitative analyses of these interviews were conducted using NVivo 10 software. Recommendations to AWF were developed based on the information reviewed throughout this process. The research shows that an emphasis on teacher capacity, community involvement, local context of curriculum, long-term project goals, and local relevance must be given significant consideration during curriculum development and implementation in order to maximize the probability of success.





Sarikas, Christine, Katlyn May and Tori Kleinbort (2014). Investigating Best Practices of Conservation Education for the African Wildlife Foundation. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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