This section contains items you should use, do, pursue, read, or join to learn about interpreting, interpretation for an audience and to develop as a naturalist.
Make a picture frame with your hands, and hold it up in front of you to frame “pictures” out of what you see around you. When you have an image you like, close your eyes and commit the image to memory. Zoom in and out to make all sorts of pictures. Use a real camera to take lots of pictures, if possible, and add the prints to your journal.
Think about the various natural places that have held significant meaning to you throughout your life. What emotions do memories of these places evoke? Years from now, what will you remember about this special spot?
Using bulletpoints, make notes about the various special places you’ve seen in your life–natural places that have influenced you in significant ways. What sensory experiences do you recall about these places? What do these places have in common? Write or draw a few details about this special spot that you want to commit to memory.
Environmental Interpretation: A practical guide for people with big ideas and small budgets. Sam Ham. 1992. North American Press: Golden, Colorado. 456 pp.
This book is a great introduction to natural history interpretation. It begins with the basics on how to craft a thematic message and follows up with comprehensive chapters on all of the major forms of interpretation.
The Interpreter’s Guidebook: Techniques for programs and presentations. Kathleen Regnier, Michael Gross, and Ron Zimmerman. 1992 .UW-SP Foundation Press: Stevens Point, Wisconsin. 101 pp.
This succinct book is good for all sorts of interpretive presentations–walks, talks, and even puppet shows! It is part of a series written by the faculty at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Schmeeckle Reserve. All of the books in the series are useful.
Natural Pennsylvania: Exploring the State Forest Natural Areas. Charles Fergus. 2002. Stackpole Books: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. 224 pp.
This guide by Fergus leads the reader through the 61 officially designated Natural Areas of the Pennsylvania state forest system. Fergus describes each of these unique areas with first-hand accounts collected during his year spent visiting each site. In addition to providing suggestions about how and when to visit the areas, he also writes the book as a guided tour, acting as a naturalist the reader can keep in their pocket or backpack.
Riverbend Environmental Education Center:
The Riverbend Environmental Education Center, located in Gladwyne, PA, exists to teach environmental principles to children in southeastern PA. Founded in 1974, the Center provides public programming to educate the community and trails for individuals to explore nature on their own. Their website provides descriptions of countless programs offered year round.
Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP):
The University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point sponsors the US EPA’s portal to all things environmental education. This site is a treasure trove of useful information – here you will find lesson plans, online courses, grants, training, and much, much more.
Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE):
The Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE) is committed to uniting, supporting, and empowering environmental educators throughout the state of Pennsylvania. The Association writes a Journal that provides useful information for educators, as well as a ListServe that connects people in the environmental field. Their website contains information about regional events, lesson plans, internships, and the PAEE yearly conference.
National Association of Interpretation:
The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is dedicated to the advancement of the profession of interpretation (on-site, informal education programs at parks, zoos, nature centers, historic sites, museums, and aquaria). NAI has a rich history and currently serves 5,000 members in the United States, Canada, and thirty other nations.
This is the last EXPAND! Unit for the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Volunteer Training Manual for Southeastern Plains (Northern Piedmont) and Southeastern Coastal Plains (Middle Atlantic Coastal Plains).
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Unit 7: City Living: Urban Ecology
Updated: June 2018