I have a colleague working on a data collection protocol, and we have a question I'm hoping to crowd source through all of you. He's interested in observing how park visitors interact with wild horses on Cape Lookout National Seashore. They'll train field techs in an observation protocol, and one of their tasks is estimating age of the visitors. In the past, they've used the following age categories (previously used before in similar studies):
Child = Children from infancy to 12 years of age as children.
Teen = Code adolescents from 13 to 20 years of age as teenagers.
Adult = Code people from 21 to 59 years of age as adults.
Senior = Code people 60 years of age and older as seniors.
They are interested in tracking how visitor behavior and activity, as moderated by distance, affect horses' behavior and activity budget (kind of "forced energy expenditure" from the horse's perspective). The PI was curious as to whether these categories are appropriate for environmental behaviors of children. My take is that most of the EE lit focuses on intended rather than observed behaviors, but that the 12-20 age range does seem to be pretty broad in terms of differences between late elementary/early middle and high school students in terms of environmental engagement and intended behaviors. I thought he might try splitting the group into 12-15 and 15-20 and seeing if there's a difference (and aggregating if it doesn't work out).
So - questions for the group:
1. Any more thoughts on this age grouping from your perspective?
2. If we wanted to partition kids ages, any protocols out there for helping field techs eye ball ages of kids without actually talking to them?
Thanks for any and all resources!