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After Learning ‘MPAese’, What Comes Next?

Corinne's avatar

Conservation | Education

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Next is already here for some of the Aquarium’s presenters who are helping the Aquarium’s MPA Public Education Task Force evaluate a survey instrument designed by the Aquarium of the Pacific and our MPA campaign partners, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Ocean Institute. The purpose of the survey, (which has both English and Spanish versions), is to gather some information about the extent of knowledge our visitors have about the ocean and its wildlife and about MPAs. Before finalization the survey questions will undergo a review by professionals who design such instruments.

The design of the survey started with each of the three partners submitting questions via email. Then the partners intensely debated the questions at an all day session on Friday, January 18 at Cabrillo. Would the typical guest understand a word or phrase such as ecosystem, shareholder, or common invertebrates? Was the question relative to the MPA campaign or to one on ocean literacy? How long should the survey be? By the end of the session a preliminary survey of 15 questions in four sections was developed.

  • Demographics; example, What language do you speak at home?
  • Knowledge; example, I know which fish and other ocean life are increasing in numbers or are declining.
  • Values: example, I would be willing to change my activities if it would help protect ocean life.
  • MLPAI and MPAs: example, I know about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

By Friday evening the preliminary survey was ready for testing. By Saturday morning it had been translated into Spanish. On the same Saturday the first testing started at the Ocean Institute where teachers at a workshop participated in the survey. By Sunday January 19 at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Liz, Education’s public programs manager and Lori, the presentation supervisor, had developed an action plan and survey of our guests started. Thanks to the energetic presenters, 37 surveys were done on Day 1! Our goal is to get 100 surveys for evaluation. Finalizing the survey instrument will be done by the three partners at a workshop to be held at the Aquarium in early February

The results of the survey will be an important tool in determining where our visitors are coming from and what we need to do to help them become involved in the process of designating MPAs in the Southern California study region from Point Conception to the US-Mexican border.

Have a question about our campaign or about MPAs? I will try to answer it for you.

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