Use existing statistical models to identify sites with a high degree of human-wildland interface and tick suitability. Aim 2: Collaborate with the local vector control agencies, state parks departments, and scientific artists to develop educational materials for passive interventions and implement them at designated sites and their websites.
Aim 3: Assess the engagement and effectiveness of the education materials and their source (ie trailhead or parks website). Participants will engage via QR code where email addresses will be required and used for follow-up surveys.
Sites will be split between highly populated areas and less-dense rural areas. We hypothesize that educational campaigns in less-dense rural areas will have the highest impact on public education. Sites will have to fit criteria: size, degree of wildland-urban interface, and measure of predicted tick suitability (MacDonald et al 2022). Once sites are selected, parks employees will be contacted and requested to participate/collaborate in the educational campaign.
With the selected sites, at each trailhead there will be signs posted with a warning of tick hazard alongside QR codes with more information. QR codes will lead to a website that will be developed with web designers, scientific artists, and vector control/public health employees. As participants enter the site, they will have an option to engage with different educational strategies including artistic story telling, engaging (i.e. games), incentive (i.e. chance to enter a raffle for money), or strictly informative educational materials where participants can learn more, watch videos, and take a survey. Initial surveys will be used to gauge baseline knowledge and then readministered to evaluate the knowledge gained by each educational strategy. The QR code will also be advertised on the California Parks and Recreation website beside information about outdoor areas or parks with high tick-borne disease risk.
Interventions are seldom tested for their efficiency. Our project will use the QR codes to direct participants to educational videos and infographics, complete surveys, and eventually follow-up with participants. Participants will have the opportunity to voluntarily sign up for newsletters and further educational materials. Surveys will be adminiteresed using the Qualtrics software and used to gauge the level of knowledge that participants have about ticks and disease prevention while also acting as a proxy for the effectiveness of the given strategy used. Six months after the initial survey, participants will be sent a follow-up Qualtrics survey to gauge the lasting effectiveness of the educational strategy.