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Inquiry into the status of wildlife conservation in the curriculum of the public schools

Brown, Seth Edsel
Scope of Study: This study was conducted through correspondence with State Game and Fish Commissions and State Departments of Education. Approximately one-hundred seventy-five responses were received from these agencies which provided the data contained in this study. Two forms of correspondence were employed - the letter and the questionnaire. Forty-eight states responded to the questionnaire and at least one letter was received from each state. Teaching guides, handbooks and outlines were received from twenty-one states which were surveyed in order to determine principles considered basic to the teaching of wildlife conservation.
Findings and Conclusions: Data received revealed that conservation, including wildlife conservation, is taught as a separate course of study in a relatively small number of schools in ten states. Most of the conservation instruction is affected by integration with other subject matter areas. The subject receives the most attention in biology, general science, and the social studies areas of history, geography and civics.
The majority of the conservation educators responding to the letters advocated the integration approach to the separate course for the teaching of conservation. Teaching guides and handbooks revealed that conservation educators are in good general agreement as to the principles that are considered basic to the teaching of wildlife conservation. The five most frequently stated principles were found in over seventy-five per cent of the literature surveys. The questionnaire revealed that wildlife conservation principles are realized by the use of teacher training programs, school programs presented by conservation personnel, wildlife conservation literature, essay contests and a variety of outdoor conservation experiences.