An investigation into the availability and adequacy of environmental information resources to support field workers at the wildlife and environment society of South Africa's four environmental education centres in KwaZulu-Natal.
This study is concerned with the availability and adequacy of environmental information resources to support field workers at the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa's (WESSA) four environmental education centres in KwaZulu-Natal. It begins by examining the environment, the environmental crisis and environmental education as a response to the crisis, before giving an overview of the history of WESSA. To provide a wider context within which to view the study, literature dealing with environmental education, environmental education centres in South Africa and environmental information was examined. A study population consisting of 18 field workers and eight management staff, based at the four environmental education centres, was surveyed by means of interviews. This allowed for selected attributes such as length of employment at the centre, highest education qualification and previous environmental education experience to be elicited from field workers. Other information asked ofthe population concerned available environmental information resources, the environmental information support required by field workers and the adequacy of this support to field workers. Results were then analysed. With the responses to the open-ended questions, content analysis was used to determine categories which were subsequently tabulated, together with the responses from closed questions. The results revealed that WESSA provides a number of ongoing, in-house training opportunities which expose field workers to environmental information resources; WESSA publications dominate the environmental information resources used during the training offield workers and consequently, during the preparation and conducting of courses by field workers; booklets, books and colleagues are considered valuable information resources by field workers; and there is a recognised lack of environmental information by both field workers and management staff. Recommendations for improving the environmental information resource support to field workers are made in light of the results of the survey and the literature review.
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