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Creation Date

Spring 2017

Major

Recreation and Park Administration

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Graduate

Mentor

Michael J. Bradley

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

In the United States, all sea turtles found in US waters are federally listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) located on Jekyll Island in Georgia, is dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of sick and injured sea turtles, as well as educating the public on awareness of sea turtle habitats, conservation challenges and stewardship. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of facility improvements needed to enhance the quality of information, education, and program delivery, to provide visitors with a more meaningful and inspirational experience. Students from Eastern Kentucky University, travelled to the GSTC to collect holistic data concerning visitor interaction with hands-on informational stations during a three-day timespan. The research team, composed of graduate and undergraduate students from the Recreation and Park Administration and Animal Studies departments, also documented visitor responses and behaviors during staff-lead, interactive and educational programs in the gallery and hospital areas of the center. The data results, collected using observational surveys, were translated into a technical report and facility improvement recommendations were presented to the members of GSTC.

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