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An exploration of a mini-guide programme: Training local children in sea turtle conservation and ecotourism in Brazil


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This study explores the mini-guide programme delivered by the Brazilian Sea Turtle Conservation Program (Tartarugas Marinhas or TAMAR) in the fishing community of Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil. Established in 1995, this programme lasts 1 year, training local children, aged 10–14 years, in guiding skills and learning about sea turtles and marine ecosystems. The children also receive a monthly stipend. In-depth semi-structured interviews with 77 local community members were conducted during 9 months of ethnographic research to assess perceptions about the programme. The interviews also included seven former students who provided an evaluation of the programme from their perspective. The results indicate community-wide support for the programme, with locals focussing not only on greater environmental awareness of the children (or Tamarzinhos, as they are called), but also on the personal development as a result of participation. Former Tamarzinhos themselves agree with this assessment and demonstrate knowledge gain and positive behaviour about conservation of marine species, new aspirations towards higher education, greater training and skill acquisition. As such, long-term environmental programmes such as the mini-guide programme at TAMAR can promote socio-economic and environmental changes that last throughout the youth and adult lives of the children.
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An exploration of a mini-guide
programme: Training local children in
sea turtle conservation and ecotourism
in Brazil
Fernanda Pegas
, Alexandra Coghlan
& Valeria Rocha
International Centre for Ecotourism Research, Griffith School of
Environment, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Gold Coast,
4222, Australia
TAMAR, Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil
Available online: 05 Dec 2011
To cite this article: Fernanda Pegas, Alexandra Coghlan & Valeria Rocha (2011): An exploration of a
mini-guide programme: Training local children in sea turtle conservation and ecotourism in Brazil,
Journal of Ecotourism, DOI:10.1080/14724049.2011.631710
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An exploration of a mini-guide programme: Training local children
in sea turtle conservation and ecotourism in Brazil
Fernanda Pegas
, Alexandra Coghlan
and Valeria Rocha
International Centre for Ecotourism Research, Griffith School of Environment, Gold Coast
Campus, Griffith University , Gold Coast 4222, Australia;
TAMAR, Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil
(Received 25 July 2011; final version received 7 October 2011)
This study explores the mini-guide programme delivered by the Brazilian Sea Turtle
Conservation Program (Tartarugas Marinhas or TAMAR) in the fishing community of
Praia do Forte, Bahia, Brazil. Established in 1995, this programme lasts 1 year,
training local children, aged 10 14 years, in guiding skills and learning about sea
turtles and marine ecosystems. The children also receive a monthly stipend. In-depth
semi-structured interviews with 77 local community members were conducted during
9 months of ethnographic research to assess perceptions about the programme. The
interviews also included seven former students who provided an evaluation of the
programme from their perspective. The results indicate community-wide support for
the programme, with locals focussing not only on greater environmental awareness of
the children (or Tamarzinhos, as they are called), but also on the personal
development as a result of participation. Former Tamarzinhos themselves agree with
this assessment and demonstrate knowledge gain and positive behaviour about
conservation of marine species, new aspirations towards higher education, greater
training and skill acquisition. As such, long-term environmental programmes such as
the mini-guide programme at TAMAR can promote socio-economic and environmental
changes that last throughout the youth and adult lives of the children.
Keywords: TAMAR; Brazil; environmental education; Praia do Forte; sustainable
1. Introduction
This study examines perceptions of a ‘mini-guide’ programme designed to train local chil-
dren in sea turtle conse rvation and ecotourism in Brazil. Ecotourism has been presented as
one aspect of a broader strategy to achieve biodiversity conservation (cf. Buckley, 1994;
Ceballos-Lascurain, 1996; Fennell, 1999; Go¨ssling, 1999; Stem, Lassoie, Lee, & Deshler,
2003). The potential to simultaneously address the needs of local communities and biodiver-
sity makes ecotourism the chosen conservation approach for many endangered species
conservation programmes, such as sea turtles, especially where resource degradation,
illegal harvesting and other human activities are the main threats to sea turtle survival
(Godfrey & Drif, 2001; Jacobson & Robles, 1992; Pegas & Stronza, 2010; Tisdell &
Wilson, 2002; Vieitas & Marcovaldi, 1997).
ISSN 1472-4049 print/ISSN 1747-7638 online
# 2011 Taylor & Francis
Corresponding author. Email:
Journal of Ecotourism
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Ecotourism ventures can also provide a range of socio-economic, training and educational
benefits to host communities (Buckley 2003, 2009; Donahoe & Needham, 2006; Stronza,
2007; Stronza & Gordillo, 2008; TIES [The International Ecotourism Society], 2008;
Weaver & Lawton, 2007). Kimmel (1999) and others (cf. Kremezi-Margaritouli, 1992;
Petro & Fletcher, 2007; Wilson & Tisdell, 2001) noted that using environmental
education as part of ecotourism can enhance local understanding about and concern for
biodiversity conservation and minimise potential negative impacts associated with ecotourism,
such as the weakening of the local culture and local social structures (Brandon, 1996; Honey,
1999; McLaren, 1998). Finally, Vieitas, Lopez, and Marcovaldi (1999) argued that environ-
mental education and community participation are often components of conservation pro-
grammes that have been most effective at achieving positive environmental outcomes.
1.1. Tartarugas Marinhas’s role within the community
In 1980, the federal government created the Brazilian Sea Turtle Conservation Program
(Tartarugas Marinhas or TAMAR) with the mission to protect sea turtles in Brazil.
TAMAR operates in nine states, monitors 1100 km of coastline, encourages conservation
via 23 research stations, runs visitor centres and promotes ecotourism in 13 communities
that have a strong tourism component (TAMAR, 2011a). One of these communities is
Praia do Forte in Bahia. Once a small and isola ted community, Praia do Forte is now
one of Brazil’s most popular tourism destinations. Despite this popularity, many local
families live in economic hardship and education opportunities for the youth are
limited (Pegas & Stronza, 2010).
Local beaches are prime nesting sites for four species of endangered marine turtles:
Caretta caretta (loggerhead), Eretmochelys imbricata (hawksbill), Chelonia mydas
(green) and Lepidochelys olivacea (olive ridley) (TAMAR, 2011a). Harvesting, though
illegal, was done on a regular basis by the local community and posed the greatest threat
to turtle survival in the region (Marcovaldi & Marcoval di, 1999). In 1982, TAMAR
opened a research station in the village and implemented conservation strate gies including
environmental education, economic benefits to the community and enforcement of protec-
tion laws. Through these strategies, TAMAR aim ed to control local consumption of and
gain suppo rt for sea turtle conservation by changing local values and behaviour regarding
sea turtles (Vieitas et al., 1999). In particular, TAM AR’s environmental education pro-
grammes seek to enhance local understanding about sea turtles and sea turtle conserv ation.
Studies conducted in Praia do Forte show signs of a decrease in sea turtle harvesting
activities since the early 1980s and continued support for TAMAR’s ecotourism initiative
(Marcovaldi & Marcovaldi, 1999; Marcovaldi et al., 2007; Pegas & Stronza, 2008, 2010;
Santos, Marcovaldi, & Godfrey, 2000).
Over the years, TAMAR has developed specific educational courses, programmes and
activities that target the local youth and children of Praia do Forte and adjacent commu-
nities. One of these programmes is the mini-guide programme (now called ‘Tamarzinho
Program’), TAMAR’s most popular and longest running environmental education
programme. As cases of providing this type of training and education to children are rare
and have received little attention in the scholarly literature, this study represents the first
attempt to showcase the outcomes of such a programme. The purpose of the study is to
describe the mini-guide programme, examine the community perceptions of the pro-
gramme, evaluate its effects on the lives of past participants and present the context
which allowed the programme to achieve its success. In order to do so, a case-study
methodology is adopted and qualitative data are presented.
2 F. Pegas et al.
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2. Methods
For the exploratory purpose of this study, we have adopted a qualitative, in terpretivist
approach and used a case-study methodology. We used Flyvberg’s (2006) review of the
value of case studies to suggest that TAMAR’s work represents a case study of prototypical
value. In this sense, TAMAR’s mini-guide programme can serve as a reference point to
identify if, how and why an unusual/innovative programme to involve children in ecotour-
ism training is successful. Furthermore, we based our methods on Van Wynsberghe and
Khan’s (2007) assessment of a prototypical case study. They suggested the most appropriate
ways to present a case study with prototypical features including (i) presenting an intensive
and in-depth focus on the specific unit of analysis, (ii) providing contextual detail, (iii)
focussing on natural settings that do not reduce the context to single cause-and-effect
relationships, (iv) ensuring boundedness (i.e. specific temporal and spatial boundaries),
(v) offering the possibility of generating working hypotheses and describing lessons
learned, (vi) using m ultiple data sources and (vii) finally, providing extendability, so that
the context and lessons learned may resonate with the reader and prompt further discussion.
In addition to providing detailed contextual information about the case study itself, data
were also collected during nine months of ethnographic research using in-depth semi-
structured interviews with local residents (in accordance with Van Wynsberghe & Khan’s
(2007) sixth point). The respondents were asked about their perceptions regarding
TAMAR, the mini-guide programme, and sea turtles and their knowledge about sea turtle
threats, protection laws and conservation strategies. The interviews were carried out by
the first author over three separate periods: (i) a scoping phase between May and August
2006 to get to know the community and understand some of the issues and dynamics
within the community, (ii) interviews with 77 residents between September and December
2007 and (iii) follow-up interviews between May and August 2008 with some of the families
Figure 1. A TAMAR mini-guide in Praia do Forte, Brazil (photo courtesy of F. Pegas).
Journal of Ecotourism 3
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interviewed in 2006 and in 2007 to assess their perceptions about the changes that occurred
in the village, and within their households, since the beginning of the study in May 2006.
For ethical reasons, interviews did not include any children participating in the mini-
guide programme or former students who were aged less than 18 years. However, seven
former students, aged 21 32 years, were interviewed to evaluate the outcomes of partici-
pating in the programme. Each interview lasted about 90 min. Where possible, interviews
were tape-recorded. Open-ended questions were transcribed and translated by the first
author, and pseudonyms have been used throughout the study to protect respondents’
identity. Some socio-demographic information (e.g. birth place, level of education, employ-
ment history, sources of income and association with TAMAR) was also gathered and,
where relevant, reported in Section 3.
3. Findings
3.1. The case-study context
Created in 1995, the Training Program for the Establishment of Mini Ecological Guides
(‘Programa de Treinamento para Formac¸a
o de Guias Ecolo
gicos Mirins’) is an education
programme that provides training skills, a monthly stipend, on-site meals and environ-
mental education to children from Praia do Forte and adjacent communities (TAMAR,
2011b; Vieitas et al., 1999). The name of this programme has been recently changed to
‘Tamarzinho Program’ to avoid the association of the term ‘guide’ with employment,
more specifically with ‘child employment’ which is illegal in Brazil. For the purpose
of this study and to maintain the expressions used by the community (i.e. mini-guide pro-
gramme) during the interview process, we use the original name and refer to the children
engaged in the programme as ‘mini-guides’. The year-long programme trains local children
aged 1014 years in basic sea turtle biology and marine conservation and requires that
these children maintain a good academic standing. This programme does not replace the
official school education system, rather it is provided as a complementary and free-of-
charge educational alternative to the local children.
The programme, which started in 1995 as a short-term summer course with 14 applicants
(Vieitas et al., 1999), has increased both in popularity and in the scope of activities offered.
The selection process starts with the children’s application to the programme, which is
limited to 150 local children. Of the 150 children, 40 are selected to participate in the first
phase. The 15 children wh o demonstrate the best communication skills, knowledge of sea
turtles and perform the best work at TAMAR are selected to participate in a variety of activi-
ties at the visitor centre, including providing guided visits to tourists who come to see the
turtles and assisting the research team of TAMAR during hatchling release activities
(TAMAR, 2011b). These children become the mini-guides for that year. Upon completing
the programme, the children are expected to be knowledgeable about the basic aspects of
sea turtle biology, sea turtle and marine conservation, and guiding skills, speech and ways
to interact with the visitors (Vieitas et al., 1999). Between 1995 and 2009, approximately
2100 children have learned about sea turtles and their conservation and about local
marine resources, about 500 children completed the first phase of the programme, and
162 became mini-guides (Tamarzinho, personal communication, February 22, 2009).
3.2. Community perceptions of the mini-guide programme
Using open-ended questions, 77 residents were asked about their perceptions regarding the
mini-guide programme. All respondents perceive this programme as a unique opportunity
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for the local children to learn about the environment and about conservation. ‘It is good to
have an environmental awareness view. The mini-guide program gives them guidance,
structure. It is a very good program. They leave the program with a better view of conser-
vation’ said one of the former mini-guides, working for TAMAR at the time. Another resi-
dent said that ‘the program opens the minds of the children and enhances the environment
awareness of the children. This is good’. One of the former students of th e mini-guide
programme said that ‘Since I worked in the program I know these children can have
opportunity to grow if they participate in the program’. These perceptions were provided
by residents with different ties with TAMAR and with the community.
The residents also support the programme because they believe that it provides the stu-
dents with skills they can use in their professional careers: ‘They would grow up learning
about how to protect things and work with conservation, which is good for them’, said a
local man who sells handcrafts to the tourists. Another resident who works as a gardener
in one of the luxury secondary homes stated that ‘I and everyone else here think that
TAMAR is very good. Beside the protection efforts, TAMAR also helps the children
through the mini-guide program. They help the children do something. When I talk to
the people back home about what TAMAR does for the children, nobody believes me’.
A fisherman’s daughter and former mini-guide finds that ‘The children leave the
program completely different. They carry with them great discipline. I see the difference
from when they started to when they leave. They have a greater understanding about our
environment and about TAMAR’. All respondents had similar views about the mini-
guide programme. This shows that environmental education programmes can provide
more than an understanding about the environment, but can also enhance self-esteem
and provide skills that may benefit students in activities that go beyond their engagement
period in the programme.
3.3. The former mini-guides’ assessment of the programme
The seven former students, four women and three men, interviewed for this study are des-
cendants of the local fishing families and had family members working for TAMAR. One of
the earliest mini-guides said that ‘Work for TAMAR is like a family tradition’. One worked
as a gardener, three worked in the food and beverage retail business and three (two women
and one man) worked for TAMAR. At TAMAR, their main responsibilities were inter-
pretation and environmental education to the tourists at the Visitor Center. The women
have been engaged with TAMAR’s educational programmes for about 12 years, while
the man, the youngest of the respondents, has been engaged with it for 5 years.
Open-ended questions were used to assess respondents’ knowledge about threats and
existent laws to protect sea turtles. The former mini-guides were asked ‘Are there threats
to sea turtles?’ and ‘Are there laws to protect sea turtles? If they said ‘yes’, they were
asked to explain and give examples. Overall, the former students had a good understanding
of sea turtles, sea turtle conservation and threats to sea turtle survival. By understanding, we
mean being knowledgeable about nesting patterns (i.e. location where turtles hatch) and
historic (i.e. harvesting for food) as well as contemporary threats to sea turtle survival in
the area (i.e. bycatch in fishing gear, pollution and harvesting) and conservation efforts.
For example, when asked whether the community had norms about sea turtles, one respon-
dent said ‘yes’ and explained that if a turtle is stranded, it is taken ‘To TAMAR and we release
them if they get caught in the nets. We used to eat them in the past. Now there is awareness’.
With regard to threats, three respondents said that harvesting continues but less frequently
than in the past ‘Because of the protection and there is greater awareness now’.
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When asked about the benefits provided by the mini-guide programme, the former
students said that they had gained skills and discipline, which, in turn, enhanced their
self-esteem. Comments such as ‘Being a guide helped with my job because it gave m e
the needed knowledge to get a decent job’ and ‘We learn things in the programme that
helps us be more organised, learn more about the environment, and how to work with
the tourist’ demonstrate greater self-esteem regarding respondents’ skills and potential
achievements in this popular tourism destination. For instance, with regard to tourism,
one former mini-guide said that he ‘learned a lot of things because of the tourist. I have
learned English. If it wasn’t for the tourist I would not have learned what I know now’.
These skills provide an added value to their overall knowledge, particularly with a
growing number of international tourists visiting the village. Additionally, the three
TAMAR workers said that they would like to obtain a college degree in the field of environ-
mental conservation. Though this desire may not be solely based on enrolment at the
programme, they said that engagement with TAMAR’s research staff and involvement in
diverse conservation-related activities provided them with a venue to learn. This venue
gave them the possibility and aspiration to become the future biologists, veterinarians
and environmental lawyers working for the conservation cause in Praia do Forte.
4. Discussion and further research
A clear finding from this study is that all respondents supported TAMAR’s mini-guide pro-
gramme. At a broader community level, the mini-guide programme was received positively.
Indeed, many respondents from the community believe that the only opportunities for the
local children to gain knowledge about the local natural environment and skills they would
need during their professional lives are offered by TAMAR. They appear to have developed
strong ties with TAMAR and apprec iate the opportunities that the organisation offers the
community’s children through the mini-guides programme. There is a sense that 500 chil-
dren who have participated in the programme will be 500 adults who, perhaps, have greater
skills to use in their professional careers, have greater self-esteem about their capabilities
and cultural roots, and have greater unde rstanding about sea turtles and marine conservation
as a result of being engaged in the programme. There is also a chance that at least a
percentage of these children will take home some traditional ecological knowledge,
thereby maintaining the community’s historical roots with the ocean.
Though only seven former mini-guides were interviewed, those who worked for
TAMAR confirmed that being part of programme was a vital factor in their decision to con-
tinue working in sea turtle conservation and at TAMAR. Consequently, TAMAR edu-
cational programmes are long-term ‘investments’, where the results evolve over a
prolonged period of time rather than as a one-time experience. Furthermore, their desire
to acquire a college degree is an indicator that the skills and discipline they acquire
during the programme may have helped them aspire to higher goals. It may be said that
this desire is, at least, a positive sign that the efforts of TAMAR to provide the local children
with resources for them to succeed in their careers are working. Therefore, though not a
conservation strategy that generates immediate results at the economy level, environmental
education programmes may promote socio-economic changes in the long term and
throughout the lives of these children. In the long term, greater skills and higher education
can provide the skills required to work at a higher paying job position, which, in turn, will
benefit the overall income of the household. Future research is needed to ascertain the
relationship between immersion in the programme and the long-term effect on vocational
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Finally, Praia do Forte is a community where external factors, such as limited vocational
training and education opportunities, economic hardship, high cost of attending school and
distance from the educational centre, are not controllable by TAMAR or by the community.
Therefore, programmes such as TAMAR’s mini-guides can reduce the existing educational
and economic gap and provide the local youth with skills and learning opportunities that are
otherwise unavailable to those with limited economic means. Accordingly, it is important to
remember that TAMAR is only one component of the overall educational experiences that
these children and youth have. TAMAR is not the only provider of or agency responsible
for the quality of educational opportunities available to the community. In Brazil, the state
has the responsibility to provide its people with the educational services and resources
needed to eventually achieve higher education goals and skills. TAMAR’s efforts,
though a good addition to the learning opportunities for these children, are unlikely to be
able to compensate for the limited educational opportunities available to the children and
the absence of qualifying workshops for the adults in the community.
5. Conclusion
In summary, environmental education at TAMAR is a conservation strategy widely sup-
ported by the community and by the former students. The former students who were inter-
viewed in this study showed consistency in their knowledge about sea turtle conservation
and sea turtles and consistency regarding changes to personal aspiration and enhancement
of self-esteem. Three respondents gave continuity to the mini-guide programme by working
at TAMAR as environmental educators.
This study provides a glimpse of the lives of the former students and about this pro-
gramme. Future research should assess whether knowledge and perceptions about sea
turtles and conservation vary among children whose families are non-fishing families,
have no or little ties with TAMAR, and have moved to the village more recently as a
result of tourism development. In conclusion, this research supports the claim that environ-
mental education, through innovative approaches such as this one, can assist conservation
programmes gain local support for conservation through their effects on individuals and
community development perspectives.
This study was partially funded by the National Science Foundation Cultural Anthropology Program
(#0724347), the PADI Foundation, the Viillo and Gene Phillips Scholarships and by the Graduate
Student Research Grant and The Centre for Socioeconomic Research and Education at Texas
A&M University. The first author thanks the TAMAR Project and Foundation Pro
-TAMAR and
their staff for their support and for providing a welcoming research environment throughout the
course of the study. She thanks the Fundac¸a
o Garcia D’A
vila for sharing their archival data about
the village. She is also grateful to the families of Praia do Forte for their generosity and for sharing
their life histories about their beautiful community.
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... For example, a Massachusetts graduate student conducted research in collaboration with Honduran community members on an EE intervention that she had a priori initiated along with other Peace Corps volunteers. Three English journal articles were based on doctoral research by students at American institutions (Pegas, Coghlan, and Rocha, 2012;Schneller, 2008;Vaughan et al., 2003). For example, a University of Texas student published results of his research on a Brazil-based program in which youth learn about sea turtles and later become ecotourism guides (Pegas, Coghlan, and Rocha, 2012). ...
... Three English journal articles were based on doctoral research by students at American institutions (Pegas, Coghlan, and Rocha, 2012;Schneller, 2008;Vaughan et al., 2003). For example, a University of Texas student published results of his research on a Brazil-based program in which youth learn about sea turtles and later become ecotourism guides (Pegas, Coghlan, and Rocha, 2012). ...
... For example, a Brazil-based study emphasized both a life sciences component (e.g. learning the natural history of sea turtles) and efforts to bolster participants' future education and job prospects (Pegas, Coghlan, and Rocha, 2012). Another Brazil-based study addressed an intervention that highlights the community benefits of ecotourism, thus linking job skills, environmental stewardship and potential future income (Amaral et al., 2014). ...
This systematic review extends the boundary of prior reviews in the environmental education (EE) field by analyzing publications focused on Latin America and the Caribbean (LATAM). We examined peer-reviewed literature and dissertations/theses in four languages (English, French, Spanish and Portuguese) published between January 2000 and February 2018 to examine outcomes of EE interventions occurring in both formal and nonformal settings among LATAM youth up to age 18 years. Our findings reflect recurring critiques of EE, such as the field’s limited empirical research and a bias toward measuring knowledge gain. Our findings also highlight themes specific to LATAM, related to issue-based EE programs, EE versus Education for Sustainable Development, barriers to EE implementation and potential challenges posed by bias, privilege and power in LATAM-based EE research. Access to potentially appropriate publications was limited by weaknesses in search databases. Only a small selection of LATAM countries is represented in publications that met the search criteria, limiting our capacity to draw stronger conclusions about the region as a whole.
... The engagement of young people in marine conservation is receiving increased attention, with initiatives including educational gaming, training in stewardship and conservation, ocean recreation, and community and citizen science capacity building (Ballard, Dixon, & Harris, 2017;Colleton et al., 2016;Kwan, Cheung, Law, Cheung, & Shin, 2017;Pegas, Coghlan, & Rocha, 2012;Wiener, Manset, & Lemus, 2016). ...
... Employment opportunities help youth develop skills for their professional careers. Additionally, involvement in diverse conservation-related activities can provide youth a venue to learn and inspiration for a future career within the field (Pegas et al., 2012). A paid opportunity will provide more sustainable engagement from youth in an organization's taskforce. ...
• A holistic approach to stakeholder participation is emerging where youth are increasingly being recognized as core stakeholders in community‐based conservation efforts. • A growing number of youth‐focused marine conservation initiatives and representation at international marine conservation conventions demonstrate that youth are taking an active role in marine conservation worldwide. • This paper surveys current best practices in youth engagement in marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada, across 10 different engagement strategies. These are: facilitate learning through experiential education; include studies of MPAs in academic and community programmes; utilize multimedia opportunities, including social media, film, website, and apps; provide meaningful volunteer opportunities; deliver professional development sessions for youth initiative building; create youth councils to assist organizations in an advisory role; hire youth for employment in internships, co‐ops and junior positions within organizations; showcase young people as Youth Ambassadors of MPAs; share opportunities through effective outreach and promotion; and, integrate under‐represented perspectives in MPAs. • Recommendations are drawn from the case studies within each engagement strategy. Collectively, they offer insight into the variety of ways the international community can support, highlight and advance youth participation in MPAs.
... Additionally, in the satisfaction survey, the participants demonstrated their overall fulfilment on the training course factors with 'high' levels. Similar results were revealed in the studies of Cheung & Fok (2014), Srisattarattanamat (2008), Chavangklang & Chavangklang (2018) and Pegas, Coghlan & Rocha (2012). After participation, local children display positive behaviour and vocabulary knowledge on the conservation of mangrove forests. ...
... Nature-based strategies have been identified by Ernst and Burcak (2019) and also by other academics, such as Pegas et al. (2011) as a suitable tool to develop not only their understanding of how the environment work and issues threatening its sustainability but also developing a connection with this environment. Séraphin and Vo-Than (2020) also support this view as they argue that resort mini-clubs should develop a range of nature-based activities to educate children during holidays. ...
This study has provided determinants influencing the emergence of tourism sustainability activists, which need to be taken into consideration in planning strategies. The contextual determinants include (1) Female (2) Empowered to be sustainability activists, because born or grew up in a pro-environment context (3) Having a higher education qualification in tourism or related topic (4) work in the tourism industry or related sectors (5) is self-employed/entrepreneur. The person determinants include: (1) Conscientiousness (2) Emotional stability (3) Extraversion (4) Agreeableness (5) Openness to experience. ARTICLE HISTORY
... In Chile, beach litter has been monitored at a national level since 2008 by Científicos de la basura (Thiel et al., 2014). In Brazil, Projeto Tamar has been protecting sea turtles since 1980, which relies on the collaboration of local communities (Marcovaldi and dei Marcovaldi, 1999;De Vasconcellos Pegas, 2009;Pegas et al., 2011). ...
An understanding of the fine-scale distribution, diversity, and population trends of endangered cetacean species threatened by anthropogenic activities is key for their conservation. In remote places such as the coastline of the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile, research focused on cetacean species is often limited by funding, and personnel. However, scientific interest from local citizens could be an alternative and useful tool to obtain valuable information on cetaceans. Here, we assess the power of citizen science as a tool to determine cetacean species richness, group size, behaviour, seasonality and conservation threats in Northern Chile by undertaking training workshops for local citizens on cetacean species identification and data gathering. A total of 24 citizen scientists reported 495 cetacean sightings during the period between 2013 and 2020, with a total of 19 cetacean species observed (6 mysticetes and 13 odontocetes). One bay (Mejillones Bay) dominated most cetacean sightings (73%) in the study area (Antofagasta region). Seven cetacean species were more frequently observed year-round: Balaenoptera physalus, Megaptera novaeangliae, Grampus griseus, Tursiops truncatus, Lagenorhynchus obscurus, Delphinus capensis and Phocoena spinipinnis. Other species were either opportunistically observed or were rare stranded species. Four species of cetaceans, B. physalus, D. capensis, L. obscurus, and P. spinipinnis were observed mostly traveling (43%) and feeding (37%), indicating that the study region is an important feeding area. Twelve cetacean species were reported stranded, and citizen scientists identified 3 species of cetaceans entangled in fishing nets. This study shows the potential of citizen science for providing information on cetacean richness and threats in remote locations such as the South East Pacific. This approach may improve knowledge on fine-scale cetacean distribution for regions that are sparsely populated and have limited research activity.
... Regardless of this process, many of the parks lack basic infrastructures, such as trained personnel, environmental education programmes, visitor centres and adequate financial support (Jacobson and Lopez, 1994). Historically, the economy of Tortuguero was built on the consumptive use of sea turtles (meat and eggs) (Carr, 1956), with residents additionally participating in commercial harvesting to supply sea turtle products to overseas markets in the USA and Europe (Parsons, 1962). After the closure of the market in the early 1970s, resident engaged in small-scale subsistence farming before adopting ecotourism as its economic mainstay (Meletis, 2007). ...
Ecotourism has been recognized globally as a way to incentivize local communities in developing countries to sustainably manage and protect the environment. Tortuguero and other sea turtle rookeries around the world are now entirely dependent on income associated with ecotourism, but the economic rewards may be short-lived when managed incorrectly. Ecotourism at Tortuguero has increased rapidly over the past 15 years, with 32,795 tourists participating in turtle tours in 2014. To evaluate the impact of turtle tours on the proportion of successful nesting attempts and nesting emergences on the public section of the beach, as well as the spatial and temporal distribution of poaching, I created generalized linear models using nesting and tourism data collected from 2007 to 2014. The Northern 5 miles of Tortuguero beach accounts for 18% of the green turtle nests deposited annually. Beach sections in front of Tortuguero village and extending toward the Tortuguero River mouth had 39% fewer emergences and 42% fewer nests, but 53% more tourists compared to the public sections within the National Park. It seems that rather than emerging to nest around Tortuguero Village, green turtles were actively avoiding it. This explains the unexpectedly low proportion of successful nesting attempts - a 9% decrease compared to areas within the National Park. Nesting occurs but in much-reduced numbers. Alternatively, poaching (i.e., of both nests and turtles) within the public section of the beach is concentrated in the northernmost three miles (83% of all poaching events). Hence, the National Park is functioning in the protection of sea turtles, but increased attention needs to be paid to areas outside the National Park to reduce light pollution and poaching, as well as mitigating disturbances to turtles from increasing tourism.
... Two studies did not fit into any theme: One reviewed the role host-children in literature (e.g. and the other was about training local Brazilian children in an ecotourism programme (e.g. Pegas, Coghlan, & Rocha, 2012). Despite these exceptions, the results of the manual coding (Table 3) were consistent with the conceptual map (Figure 2), confirming the reliability of Leximancer in generating conceptual maps. ...
Although it is estimated that 19 million children are engaged in the tourism industry, our knowledge of child labour issues within tourism is highly limited. This paper systematically and quantitatively reviewed interdisciplinary research on host-children, aiming to identify the extent of scholarly attention. The work sought to map the trajectory of existing literature and identify whether, and if so, how host-children were included in research. The review revealed that within the limited host-children studies, child sex workers have received the most attention whereas issues relating to other child labourers have been neglected. Additionally, this review identified that the subjective dimensions of tourism impacts on host-children have been overlooked and limited studies have actually reflected children's voice in the research. Based on these findings, the directions for future research on host-children are recommended.
... It was created in 1996 and has been evolving since then. Each edition includes a group of 20 children of the local community, from 10 to 14 years old, selected by the criteria of being enrolled at a school, having territorial ties with the locality and being residents from Praia do Forte surrounding communities (Pegas et al. 2012). ...
... In other words, each region has an opportunity to be developed based on the principle of marine ecotourism if there is an effort to achieve those objectives. Pegas, Coghlan, & Rocha (2012) conducted research in Brazil with a focus on how to teach the local community, especially the children, about the importance of conservation and ecotourism. The results showed that ecotourism is believed to be an important strategy in encouraging the conservation of living things (biodiversity). ...
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Tanjung Karang in Donggala Regency has the potential to be developed using the concept of marine ecotourism. However, the management system tends to be contradictory with the principles of marine ecotourism. The aim of this research is to understand the supporting factors and challenges in implementing marine ecotourism in Tanjung Karang, as well as studying the carrying capacity and human resources. A qualitative research method was used through interviews and participant observation. The research shows that natural potential and traditional socio-cultural activities conducted by the community are both essential in supporting Tanjung Karang as a channel of marine ecotourism. The three management systems supported by the community, government and private sector are capable of making a difference in relation to marine ecotourism implementation. In building tourism facilities, people tend to ignore the environmental preservation aspect. In addition, the private sector, as one of the tourism developers, also needs to ensure the management of Tanjung Karang that they will provide opportunities for the local community to enjoy nature and the culture offered. This tourism should not be exclusively for international tourists. Although Tanjung Karang has been used as a tourist attraction before, marine ecotourism has not been prioritised as the development framework by the stakeholders. Efforts have been undertaken to support the implementation of marine ecotourism and the stakeholder needs to understand the supporting factors and challenges involved, as well as the carrying capacity, in order to develop Tanjung Karang's marine ecotourism.
Purpose Residents' supportive attitudes are essential for the successful development of ecotourism. Although existing literature has heavily relied on social exchange theory to explain residents' attitudes, this study explores a new theoretical direction by focusing on the cognitive process of residents' attitude formation. This study adopts the knowledge theory of attitude–behavior consistency that emphasizes the amount, relevance and complexity of ecotourism knowledge in shaping residents' positive attitudes toward tourism development in the regional community. Design/methodology/approach Based on a survey of 394 residents of Otavalo, Ecuador, this study confirmed the reliability and validity of measurements, used PLS-SEM for statistical analysis, and evaluated the effect of ecotourism knowledge on residents' attitudes toward ecotourism. Findings Under the control of community attachment and fair distribution of economic benefits supported by existing literature, this study finds that ecotourism knowledge has a positive and significant effect on residents' supportive attitudes toward tourism development. Research limitations/implications By elucidating the cognitive process of residents' attitude formation and change, this paper shows the applicability of a knowledge-based theory to residents' attitudes toward tourism development, and offers practical implications for ecotourism policymakers and educational program developers. Originality/value This study adopts the knowledge theory of attitude–behavior consistency and shows the positive influence of ecotourism knowledge on residents' attitudes.
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In this article the authors present findings from a qualitative research study carried out with Ugandan nurses from September 2003 until June 2004. They highlight the process and philosophical basis of participatory action research (PAR) by reflecting on the challenges, opportunities, outcomes, and ethical issues encountered during the conduct of the research. In this study PAR fostered a climate in which nurses could engage in collective reflection on their practice, make sense of their experiences, and thereby change their understanding of their work.
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Ecotourism's appeal as a conservation and development tool rests in its potential to provide local economic benefits while maintaining ecological resource integrity through low-impact, non-consumptive resource use. Some, however, question its contribution to conservation and community development, citing negative impacts, such as solid waste generation, habitat destruction, and sociocultural ills. This paper, based on a comparative study in Costa Rica, explores some of these issues. Study findings were mixed regarding ecotourism's effectiveness as a conservation and community development tool. Survey respondents saw legal restrictions as more influential than tourism in prompting declines in deforestation and hunting rates. Likewise, respondents did not feel tourism operators were significant players in raising environmental awareness. The research also revealed that direct employment in ecotourism was associated with pro-conservation practices, but indirect benefits showed stronger associations in generating pro-conservation perspectives. Little evidence was found to suggest that people are investing tourism-generated income in environmentally threatening practices. Research findings also indicated that scale influences tourism's benefits and negative impacts and that, where ecotourism dominates local economies, towns may become economically vulnerable. The paper concludes by recognising that ecotourism would be most effective as a component of a broader conservation strategy and offers suggestions to improve ecotourism's potential.
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Many conservationists have promoted ecotourism as a strategy to protect natural resources while also meeting human needs. The purpose of this study was to analyse effects of ecotourism on natural resource use and livelihoods in an indigenous community of 80 families in Peru. Household interviews and participant observation were used to track social and economic changes in the community as it partnered with a private tour company to build and co-manage an ecotourism lodge. Effects of ecotourism were measured among the same households before and after the lodge opened, and between households with varying levels of participation. The hypothesis that economic benefits from ecotourism would provide incentives for people to alter their livelihoods and change their uses of natural resources was tested. Results showed that ecotourism effects were ambiguous. Though employment led to a general decline in farming and hunting, new income enabled greater market consumption and expansion of production. Ecotourism also prompted sentiments not easily measured in economic analyses alone, including willingness to be involved in ecotourism work, despite relatively minimal economic returns. These findings are a reflection of the fact that ecotourism is not merely an economic ‘tool’ for conservation, but also the cause of new values and social relations.
The Brazilian Sea Turtle Conservation Programme (TAMAR) was established in 1980 to protect sea turtles in Brazil and to re-establish their natural life cycle, which had been disrupted by humans. The programme is based on grassroots involvement by the coastal communities, and provides jobs and generates alternative sources of income. Within this framework, the mini-guides programme was created. It consists of a summer training course in which local children between 8 and 13 years old learn basic information about marine ecosystems and sea turtles, strategies to promote their conservation, and skills to interact effectively with tourists. After the course, children are given onsite experience by working as interns at the TAMAR visitor centre at Praia do Forte, on schedules designed to avoid conflicts with their studies at school. The children work closely with tourists, informing them about sea turtles and TAMAR's work; they also help the biologists in field activities. In this way, they enhance their own awareness, and by extension their families' and the community's concern about environmental conservation. Their involvement provides them not only with valuable skills, but also an extra source of income, thereby providing economic benefits to their families. The success of this programme is indicated by the excellent approval ratings given by the tourists visiting the area.
Commercial ecotourism is a rapidly growing part of the global tourism industry. Although potential negative impacts must be addressed, ecotourism offers a substantial opportunity for environmental learning. However, simply taking visitors to unique sites does not guarantee learning. In the present article, methods to emphasize the learning content of ecotourism, while retaining the entertainment value, are identified. A Smithsonian Institute study trip led by the author is discussed as an example.