Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Schools and Centres

Arts & Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Angus Morrison-Saunders

Abstract

Using interpretation as a means of influencing attitudes and knowledge is a core component of natural area management practice. However, this aspect of on-site interpretation is rarely assessed when evaluating natural area management success. This thesis examined the immediate influence of different intensities of on-site interpretation on attitudes and knowledge of visitors to natural areas. Measuring the immediate (short term) influence of a site experience enables clearer links to be made between survey responses and interpretation used at a specific site, something long term surveys are less able to achieve. Two sites from Western Australia (the Tree Top Walk and Penguin Island) were selected to compare the influence of high and low intensity use of interpretation on visitors. Both sites were similar in being relatively small and environmentally fragile with controlled visitor access in combination with an entrance fee, and managed by the same agency. One site adopted a low intensity on-site interpretation strategy with limited visitor activities, while the other had a high intensity use of interpretation with a range of visitor activities.

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