Project Director

Ford, Dawn

Department Examiner

Foerder, Preston


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Conservation is the central focus of many modern zoos and aquariums. These zoos incorporate guest education to facilitate a connection between zoo guests and animal conservation. I conducted a study at the Chattanooga Zoo and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga which examined two modern zoo education approaches. The two approaches utilized in the study are currently used in keeper chats at the Chattanooga Zoo. The first approach is an emotional appeal (an appeal to the personalities of the chimps at the zoo) and the second approach is a utilization of a take-action initiative (recycling cell phones to reduce mining in chimpanzee habitat). Both approaches were placed at the beginning of the same chimpanzee presentation which exclusively involved facts about chimpanzees. These two approaches were tested against a control presentation that involved only the chimpanzee facts and no educational approaches. All three presentations were given to two populations, zoo guests and UTC students in front of the chimpanzee exhibit at the zoo and in various lecture halls at UTC. My goal was to examine the effects of these approaches on retention of chimpanzee related information. I hypothesized that incorporating an emotional appeal in an informational chat increases guest retention more than using a take-action initiative. The response data collected from the Chattanooga Zoo revealed no significant differences in guest retention of information between any of the three zoo chats (presentations) due to small sample size. The results from the UTC student population did yield statistically significant differences. The group exposed to the emotional appeal scored the highest on average, followed by the control group, and finally the take-action initiative group. My study may serve as a starting point for future research involving effectiveness of conservation messaging at the Chattanooga Zoo.

IRB Number



B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Zoos -- United States -- Tennessee; Environmental education -- Tennessee -- Chattanooga


Conservation; Zoos; Surveys; Environmental education


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



32 leaves




Under copyright.