Wildlife Neighbors

June 25th, 2024 | EVALUATION

Through a strategic partnership between the Applied Wildlife Ecology Lab in the School of the Environment at Yale University and the Detroit Zoological Society, youth participants leveraged a trail camera network in Detroit urban parks to capture their wildlife “neighbors” with whom they are sharing the neighborhood. Models of the Wildlife Neighbors program included varying amounts of facilitation (summer camp vs. afterschool club vs. Saturday program) to immerse the participants in ecological research, engaging them in the entire scientific process: observation, inquiry, data collection, fieldwork, data analysis and story-telling. The project examined the effects of experiential learning through wildlife monitoring on strengthening four aspects of environmental literacy: knowledge of ecology, competencies as researchers, empathy for wildlife, and sense of place. Pre- and post surveys, daily reflections on program activities, and questionnaires to parents/guardians were used to assess impacts and experiences of Wildlife Neighbors program on environmental literacy in youth participants. The report from an external evaluator is provided here.



Team Members

Stephen Vrla, Former Co-Principal Investigator, Detroit Zoological Society
Nyeema Harris, Principal Investigator, Yale University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 2153843

Related URLs

Wildlife Neighbors: Facilitated Ecological Research with Minority Youth via Camera Surveys in Urban Parks


Access and Inclusion: Ethnic | Racial | Low Socioeconomic Status | Urban
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture
Resource Type: Evaluation | Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Afterschool Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs | Summer and Extended Camps