A direct personal experience of science and nature changes intended behaviours for conservation

Didone Frigerio, Alena G. Hohl, Verena Puehringer-Sturmayr, Diane Colombelli-Négrel, Sonia Kleindorfer

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Social and affective empathy may generate future conservation benefits as the consequence of transformed personal attitudes. In this study, we investigated changes in attitudes and intended behaviours about the plight of woodland songbirds before and after participation in science activities and direct interaction with scientists monitoring avian biodiversity at Mount Lofty Ranges (MLR) in South Australia. A total of 55 anonymous adult participants were invited to join a survey before and after participating in two 3-h workshops on avian science plus acoustic data collection. Comparing the survey results before and after the experience, there were significant shifts in self-reported “good” knowledge about woodland songbirds; increased concern about the conservation status of woodland birds; increased concern about cessation of songbird research; and an increased interest to play a role in songbird conservation. Further investigations could aim to elucidate the mechanisms for shifts in attitudes that occur together with experiencing nature. In general, this small-scale study provides evidence that nature-based science activities can represent valuable hands-on experience in science and may contribute to conservation outcomes by fostering environmental awareness and self-reported aims for involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-287
Number of pages20
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of South Australia
Issue number2
Early online date6 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Animal behaviour
  • attitude towards science
  • conservation
  • emotions


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