The main purpose of this research was to investigate primary school students’ perceptions of pictograms displayed in protected areas. The aim was to determine if and how students understand the concept of protected areas and the role pictograms and comic strips, displayed on information panels in protected areas, play in understanding (un)acceptable human activities in such areas. Altogether, 353 fourth-graders and fifth-graders (8–11 years of age) from central Slovenia filled in the questionnaire. Students were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups faced with a set of positive pictograms, negative pictograms or a comic strip and asked to answer two open questions. Many students participating in the research perceived protected areas as areas where many human activities are prohibited. The concept of protected areas was sufficiently understood by 36.8% of the students. The results confirmed the main hypothesis that students faced with a set of positive pictograms perceived protected areas as areas where a number of human activities are acceptable, but they also realized which activities are unacceptable. Similar results were obtained for students faced with the comic strip. On the other hand, those faced with negative pictograms tended to be more preoccupied with listing unacceptable human activities and were able to list significantly fewer acceptable activities.
Part of the book: Selected Studies in Biodiversity