The state of conservation education in Mexico: Characterizing current practices and assessing perceived role, capacities and needs

Strategic planning in conservation and management of natural protected areas include, or should include, a human component, since human activity in many cases can threaten the health of the natural site. It is the competition for the resources that makes management of natural protected areas a contentious issue. Effective conservation education can be a key factor in the resolution of such complicated issues and in ensuring that informed decisions are made concerning the uses of these valuable natural assets.

Achieving positive changes in the level of awareness and concern towards an environmental or natural resources issue, as well as an improvement in knowledge, skills, attitudes, motivations and commitment from members of society towards that issue, are goals that are in the mind ľor should beľ of any natural resource manager and conservation practitioner when developing and implementing educational programs. Education appears to be a key component of public involvement in the conservation and management of natural resources. But what constitutes quality conservation education? What makes a conservation education program effective? What tools might help improve the quality and effectiveness of the current educational resources and programs developed by conservation organizations?

The main goal of the present study is to assess the state of conservation education practices and perceived needs for capacity building and collaboration tools by education and conservation practitioners in Mexico.