April 20th was my last day at the Florida Aquarium and as such my last day collecting data. It was a great last day, full of dolphins and sunshine and friendly boat guests. During my 16 weeks (every Thursday) I was able to get 80 surveys filled out. It was definitely a learning experience, figuring out how best to approach people in order to encourage them to volunteer to take the survey both before and after the cruise.
What I learned:
- The best way to gather volunteers was to wait until the top deck was full of guests and make an announcement over the speakers: I’m a PCGS student, sustainable tourism, dolphin conservation, thank-you prize for volunteers
- Perhaps for more accurate results I should have asked for one person per family
- There may have been biases involved- I was worried folks were telling me what they thought I wanted to hear, despite it being anonymous
- I should have asked for an age-range from the participants
- The question I had about “what stood out most about this cruise” was inconsistent as sometimes we saw dolphins and sometimes we didn’t. This made the option “seeing wild dolphins” unavailable to some guests.
- The FLAQ boat captains & crew (MarineOps) are really great people 🙂
If anyone is interested in doing an internship at FLAQ I do recommend it. Particularly if you have the same opportunity that I did, where I was able to suggest my own research project, it was approved, and I got to follow-through. Rebecca was a great point of contact, and I recommend reaching out to her.
In the meantime, I decided to extend my zoo internship on the marketing team. Once classes are over it’ll mean that I can spend more time with the department working on other projects. In the meantime, I continue my usual hotel routes. I also will be working on my capstone at the zoo this summer and I can’t wait!
Until next time!