public perception on co-existing with bears
Bilder aus dem Projekt:
Schubz Center, Romania
no.7, I.L.Caragiale Str., Rasnov, Brasov County, Romania
16-17 years old (High School students, XIth grade)
Ziel der Aktion:
We wanted to probe local community's perception and feelings regarding the existence of wild bears in the forests around the city. The other aim was to accustom students with using scientific approaches when looking for an answer.
We talked about how an opinion is formed and identified many factors that contribute to a person's or a group's opinion on a certain subject. Starting from here, we decided to organize a poll to investigate how people in Rasnov feel about the bears in the surrounding forests and how much do they know about this topic. We chose bear, as in a previous lesson we had a press monitoring and found out that bear is the most discussed and problematic (as in number of conflicts) of the three large carnivores we had in focus.
1. First step was to elaborate the questionnaire:
- Discussion about how many questions and how to be short and clear and neutral;
- Team work: each team come up with 10 relevant questions
- Toghether, pick 10 questions from all above to form the questionnaire. We used both qualitative and quantitative items.
2. Apply the questionnaire. Each student had to apply at least 6 questionnaires for 2 weeks.
3. Extract and process the data obtained from the poll. We made charts and tried to make correlations and interpret the answers. This is the translation of the questionnaire, and replaced "bear" with "wolf". It would be interesting to compare results if anybody applies it in a place in Germany.
- How old are you?
- By your information, how many wolves live in the forests around your town?
- Do you think that the existence of wolves in wilderness is a good or a bad thing? Why?
- Do you think that the existence of wolves in wilderness has any influence in your everyday life? Why?
- What do you know about the legal status of the wolf in your country? (Eg. Is hunt allowed? Who is in charge of the wolves population management?)
- Do you think the present situation calls for conservation measures of wolf population? Why?
- What is, in your oppinion, the main cause of human-wolf conflicts?
- If you were in charge for one day, what laws and measures would you propose to prevent/reduce the conflicts between humans and wolves?
- Have you ever met a wolf in wilderness? a) YES* b) NO *9.A. In what circumstances? Please, tell the story.
I asked each student to describe in one word how this activity (applying questionnaires) was for them. I got: intersting X 2, amusing, basic, engaging, easy X 2, complicated, hard, boring X 2, funny.
We find yout most of the interviewed people underestimated the number of the bears living in wilderness, in Rasnov area. This we correlated with the answer we got from 60% of the subjects, that consider that the existence of bears in wilderness is a good thing and also around 60% stating that conservation measures are necessary. The overall perception of wild bear in Rasnov community, as revealed after our poll, seems relaxed and rather positive.
I proposed to have a flash-mob and make the poll in a public place (in front of a supermarket, having a roll-up signaling Schubz and bear, wolf and lynx) but the students preferred to apply the questionnaires by themselves. It was hard to find a way to process the data as to involve all students. A room with individual computers and more than 2 hours would have been wellcomed. We did together the first processing of the data and the interpretation of the results. Next time I would insist on making this poll together, in a supermarket or school, or any other place, as a means to get more attention for the topic and engage people more into discussions, more interaction.