Measuring Empathy: Collaborative Assessment Project

Sunday, March 15, 2015 to Friday, December 1, 2017
Resource Type:
Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Summer and Extended Camps, Aquarium and Zoo Programs
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Parents/Caregivers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators
Education and learning science | Social science and psychology
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, Kathryn Owen Consulting

Over 200 zoos and aquariums in North America are accredited members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), with a shared vision of the future: a world where all people respect, value and conserve wildlife and wild places. Through programs & experiences that reach millions of people each year, we hope to encourage caring and empathy towards all living things, but we lack the tools that are needed to assess whether – and how – we’re reaching this goal. The overall goal of this 2 year collaborative project is to create tools that zoos and aquariums can use to assess whether they’re meeting their goal of encouraging caring and empathy towards wildlife. Project partners (Woodland Park Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, & Seattle Aquarium) aim to develop, test and share tools that can be used by accredited zoos & aquariums to assess whether their educational programs are having the desired impact of encouraging children’s empathy towards animals. To better inform our understanding of the empathic experience and the role it plays in human relationships with animals, an advisory team comprised of conservation psychologists and evaluation practitioners in the zoo and aquarium field, has been formed to aid in this two year project.

Team Members

Mary JacksonEvaluator
Kathryn OwenProject Manager
Kathayoon KhalilEvaluator
Jim WhartonCo-Principal Investigator

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