Skip to main content

"Signs, Signs, Everywhere the Signs": Interpretive Trail Signage for Biodiversity Education

Interpretive Trail Signage for Biodiversity Education

Journal of College Science Teaching—January/February 2024

By , ,

Postsecondary science faculty face challenges in balancing the engagement of undergraduates while concomitantly ensuring knowledge is gained and retained, either in standard lectures or labs as well as in outdoor activities. Designing on-campus trails with interpretive signs may provide a unique avenue to inform students across majors of local biodiversity and tie in concepts related to ecology, organismal biology, and conservation. Here we evaluate the efficacy of course-specific interpretive signs deployed around a small on-campus natural area to engage first year students (N = 98). We assessed students’ overall engagement level and retention of information conveyed across specific signs via a student guided nature walk where students examined signs and answered both a pre and post activity survey, rated their favorite sign, and provided a short reflection feedback on this outdoor activity. Students’ responses indicated they both retained general information on specific signs, most notably regarding reptiles and what types of mammals are found around campus. Overall students rated this activity as engaging, with 87.7% combined agreeing or strongly agreeing that signs helped them learn about the biodiversity and ecosystems on campus.

Biology Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Labs Life Science Teaching Strategies

Asset 2