Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Biology

Julia Kögler, Annette Upmeier zu Belzen
Education for Sustainable Development
Marketing as a Means to improve Education for Sustainable Development in Zoological Gardens


Trendsetting strategic papers are asking informal educational institutions to improve their educational activities for sustainable development. The transmission of information is seen as an effective instrument to protect the global biodiversity.
Because of their immediate connection to living organisms and their heterogeneous and huge target group, zoological gardens play an important role in bringing sustainable development into focus. However, basic research and evaluation of educational activities in zoos have been insufficiently covered by conventional methods (questionnaires and interviews). Therefore this interdisciplinary research project has taken models, findings and methods from marketing in order to make a new approach concerning the evaluation of educational activities in zoos.

Following the research in advertising, messages about nature protection will be compared to advertising messages testing their effects on the viewer with a combination of interactive eye-tracking and an additional survey.
In precise, messages about the protection of nature and species that are based upon signals which are perceived in a positive way and have a local thematic reference will be analyzed. This is done with regard to the question whether such messages increase the interest in the message’s content and the likeliness of acting according to ecological parameters.
Furthermore it is tested whether zoo-goers are interested in a mere transmission of information or rather in possible solutions of problematic issues. The results of this study are application-oriented and support the protection of biodiversity by improving educational activities in zoological gardens.