The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)


Examination of Primate Conservation Knowledge amongst College Students

JESSICA M. MORRIS1, ANDREW SKRINYER2 and LOREN LEASE3.

1Department of Anthropology, Youngstown State University, 2Department of Anthropology, Kent State University, 3Department of Anthropology, Youngstown State University

March 28, 2015 , Archview Ballroom Add to calendar

In Northeast Ohio, there is a lack of knowledge regarding threats to biodiversity, especially among college students. Having a more knowledgeable community should mean students would be more willing to take action regarding conservation. The present study was conducted to evaluate Youngstown State University students’ knowledge of non-human primates, including threats to them and conservation efforts to preserve them.

A 23 question survey was administered to two experimental groups (N=55) and one control group (N =23). The students represented a variety of different majors (31 in total) and all class levels. All three groups had class lectures by the professor (LRL) and a pre-test and a post-test was administered. The survey focused on knowledge of primates, threats to their survival and activities related to conservation. In addition, a student (JM and AS) presented 12 minute lecture focused on primate conservation was given to the experimental groups.

Post-test results between the experimental and control groups show significant differences regarding interest in conservation. Interest in conservation was 19% higher in the experimental groups after the student presentation on primate conservation, in contrast to the control group with only professor instruction. Also of interest is divided along college lines, data show STEM students were more knowledgeable but less interested in primate conservation, while non-STEM students were less knowledgeable but more interested in the subject.

This study shows a need for a conservation General Education Course (GER) at the freshman level at Youngstown State University.