The Use of Written Resources to Manage Quality Information at Wisconsin Nature Centers
Stapley, Sarah M.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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In recent years Environmental Education (EE) and Interpretation (I) experts and organizations have called for a professionalization of the field. One aspect of professionalism is providing quality information to audiences; quality information is defined by this study as information that is accurate, balanced, and current. This study focused on the role of written resources such as lesson plans and fact sheets in ensuring that quality information is delivered to nature center audiences. Nature centers in WI were surveyed using a mixed methods approach that used both open ended and Likert-type questions. Respondents (N=56) indicated the use of methods which involved written resources to ensure quality information is delivered to their audiences by education staff. However, a discrepancy was found between what respondents felt was important for ensuring quality information and what was reported as practiced at their centers. Additionally, although this study focused upon written methods, the importance of human resources, such as experienced educators, emerged from the open ended questions and is supported within the literature review. It is recommended that future research be conducted to further explore the use of human resources for ensuring quality information, to determine the nature of the discrepancy between belief and practices, and to assess the effectiveness of different methods for ensuring quality information is delivered to the public.