inspiring people to care about each other 
and the world in which they live

About Us


Heartfelt Associates is a privately-owned sole proprietorship based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our principals offer a wide variety of skill sets to our clients, but should additional services be needed, we can team with other providers such as architects, landscape architects, graphic designers, and exhibit designers as appropriate for the project.


Tim Merriman, Principal                                  

 

 

Tim Merriman has invested 40 years in the protection of natural and cultural heritage with a primary focus on training others to be more skilled in their work. From April 1995 to August 2012, he served as Executive Director of National Association for Interpretation (NAI), whose 5300 organizational members work in tourism communities, world heritage sites, monuments, parks, zoos, aquariums, nature centers, museums and historic sites.

 

He has been an environmental educator, front-line interpreter/naturalist at a state park, visitor center manager, nature center director, research director for a national recreation area and biosphere reserve and professional association executive director. Throughout his practice he has been heavily involved in professional associations and has served at all levels of responsibility in those from newsletter editor to regional director to president.

 

Tim is co-developer with Lisa Brochu of certification and training programs in six categories that have led to the certification of more than 15,000 interpretive professionals in 40+ nations. For the last ten years, they have co-trained in 12 or more 5-day workshops all over the U.S. and the world. Dr. Merriman has given keynote addresses at conferences in Australia, China, Panama and with varied groups in the U.S. and has done training, consulting and planning in Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Sweden, France, Greece, United Kingdom, China, Korea, Malaysia and Japan. He has led ecotours in Kenya, Tanzania, Australia, China and Belize. He is fluent in Spanish and has limited ability in French.

 

He has taught college as adjunct faculty at Southern Illinois University, University of Southern Colorado, Regis University and Colorado State University for 24 years. He is co-author with Lisa Brochu of four professional textbooks on natural and cultural interpretation, a book on sustainable community planning and an award-winning novel about the plight of orphans in Kenya.

 

He holds a Ph.D. in speech/communications, M.A. in botany/aquatic ecology and a B.S.in zoology/education from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. He is a Certified Interpretive Trainer (CIT), Certified Interpretive Planner (CIP) and Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG).



Lisa Brochu, Principal                                                

 

 

 

Lisa Brochu has invested 35 years in the protection of natural and cultural heritage with a primary focus on training others to be more skilled in their work. From May 2002 to May 2012, Lisa was the Associate Director of National Association for Interpretation (NAI), whose organizational members and clients work in tourism communities, world heritage sites, monuments, parks, zoos, aquariums, nature centers, museums and historic sites. Prior to 2002, she spent 25 years as a planning, writing, and training consultant, and has worked in 20 nations assisting agencies, communities and organizations in capacity building, interpretive training and planning.  

 

Over the course of her career, Ms. Brochu has been a front-line interpreter/naturalist at a state park, visitor center manager, interpretive planning and writing consultant, trainer, and nonprofit executive. Throughout her career, she has been heavily involved in professional associations and has served at all levels of volunteer responsibility in those organizations. One of her primary accomplishments was the development of a certification and training program for the interpretive profession in six categories that have led to the certification of more than 15,000 interpretive professionals in 40+ nations and the planning and management of an annual international conference that brought professionals from around the world together to begin discussions of the global implications of heritage interpretation.

 

As Associate Director of NAI, Ms. Brochu facilitated the Definitions Project, which established a common vocabulary for the profession (http://www.definitionsproject.com) and facilitated a process that established Standards and Best Practices documents for academic programs, interpretive planning, interpretive site operations, and interpretive methods (http://www.interpnet.com/standards).

 

Ms. Brochu is a noted speaker in the field and has given keynote addresses at conferences throughout the United States, and has presented at and organized numerous conferences and training events in Canada, Mexico, Panama, Sweden, France, Italy, Greece, United Kingdom, China, Korea, Malaysia, Japan, and Australia. She has led ecotours in Ecuador, Tanzania, and Peru. She is a fluent reader in Spanish and a conversational speaker of the language.

 

Ms. Brochu has authored a book on interpretive planning that is currently in use as the foremost text for the subject around the world. She has also co-authored five professional textbooks on natural and cultural interpretation, a book on sustainable community planning and an award-winning novel about the plight of orphans in Kenya. She has three children’s books in print as well.

 

Ms. Brochu holds a B.S.in environmental interpretation from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She is a Certified Interpretive Trainer (CIT), Certified Interpretive Planner (CIP) and Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG).


Major Publications

Brochu, Lisa and Tim Merriman. 2011. Put the HEART Back In Your Community: Unifying Diverse Interests Around a Central Theme. Fort Collins, Colorado: Heartfelt Publications.

This book assists community leaders, facilitators, and other stakeholders in finding strategies to work together at the community level toward consensus-based, measurable objectives. Nineteen case studies from around the world are shared to show working examples.

 

Caputo, Paul, Shea Lewis and Lisa Brochu. 2008. Interpretation by Design: Graphic Design Basics for Heritage Interpreters. Fort Collins, Colorado: InterpPress.

This book helps those without formal training in graphic design or interpretive writing to understand the basics of creating quality nonpersonal media at their workplace and how to incorporate interpretive principles into a variety of media.

 

Brochu, Lisa and Tim Merriman. 2007. The Leopard Tree. Fort Collins, Colorado: Heartfelt Publications.

This book won two literary awards – Evvy Award in 2008 (CIPA) for literary fiction, Best Young Adult Fiction of 2008 (Writer’s Market Worldwide Awards) about three orphans from Kenya who attempt to share their stories of challenge and survival with the United Nations.

 

Merriman, Tim and Lisa Brochu. 2006. The History of Heritage Interpretation in the United States. Fort Collins, Colorado: InterpPress.

The National Park Service in the United States and other important individuals spurred the development of a communication approach that is now used worldwide to encourage stewardship and better management practices with natural and cultural resources. This documents the stages of development of this profession.

 

Merriman, Tim and Lisa Brochu. 2005. Management of Interpretive Sites: Developing Sustainable Operations Through Effective Leadership. Fort Collins, Colorado: InterpPress.

Managers use this resource in application of thoughtful management processes while also developing and offering creative interpretive services that help achieve management objectives. It is the text for the Certified Interpretive Manager’s course with NAI.

 

Brochu, Lisa. 2003. Interpretive Planning: The 5-M Model for Successful Planning Projects. Fort Collins, Colorado: InterpPress.

Textbook for interpretive planning in use in several countries around the world in colleges and universities as well as in practical applications by interpretive sites such as museums, visitor centers, nature centers, zoos, aquariums, commercial sites, and tour companies. The book suggests the important considerations for creating quality visitor experiences through a thoughtful planning approach and provides guidance in developing an interpretive plan.

 

Brochu, Lisa and Tim Merriman. 2002. Personal Interpretation: connecting your audience to heritage resources. Fort Collins, Colorado: InterpPress. ALSO AVAILABLE IN SPANISH

Training guides and interpreters in personal interpretation is facilitated through this book designed to introduce the fundamentals. It is used as the training text in National Association for Interpretations Certified Interpretive Guide course and in many college classes on the basics because it is readable and basic. Currently in translation to Greek, Mandarin, and Japanese.

 

Brochu, Lisa. 2001. Dad Still Smiles. Katonah, New York: Richard C. Owen Publishing, Inc. ALSO AVAILABLE IN SPANISH

Children’s book that helps children understand the implications of spinal cord injuries. Proceeds donated to the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

 

Brochu, Lisa. 2000. Who Cleans the Museum? Katonah, New York: Richard C. Owen Publishing, Inc.

Children’s book that helps beginning readers understand the role of curators and interpreters in a museum setting.

 

Brochu, Lisa. 2000. Getting up Steam: The History of the Hidalgo Pumphouse. City of Hidalgo, Texas.

80-page souvenir quality book that details the historic features and stories behind the Hidalgo pumphouse and how it influenced the agricultural development of the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas.

 

Brochu, Lisa 1999. Living Color. Callaway Gardens, Georgia.

16-page souvenir quality book that helps visitors understand the significance of butterflies and their life history and encourages native plant landscaping to provide food sources for butterflies.

 

Authors and co-authors of hundreds of journal, blog and newsletter articles.

 

 

 

 

Recent Projects (representative and recent projects ONLY; entire list contains over 200 projects)


Kentucky Horse Park and International Museum of the Horse; Lexington, Kentucky

Strategic planning for the world's largest horse-themed park and competition facility to redefine mission, vision, core values, goals, objectives, strategies, and action items required to improve the visitor experience and park operations, followed by an interpretive master plan for a complete museum redesign for the 60,000 square foot International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park.


Nyungwe National Park; Rwanda

As part of USAID's project "Strengthening Sustainable Ectourism in and around Nyungwe National Park", we conducted an assessment of the visitor experience in and around the largest of Rwanda's three national parks, followed by guide and host training and development of an interpretive master plan for the park and its three planned visitor centers. Additional followup work included exhibit planning, text writing and supervision of the exhibit design, fabrication, and installation process for all three visitor centers. 


NASA Astrobiology Communications Strategies Retreat; Washington, DC

Facilitated five days of retreats for NASA's Astrobiology Institute and related NASA Headquarters staff to develop more effective internal and external communication strategies.


Certified Interpretive Guide and Host Training

CIG Courses for University of Hawaii-Hilo Continuing Education, Kailua-Kona Hawaii; Colorado State University Biological Science Master's Program, Fort Collins Colorado; Akagera National Park, Rwanda; Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

CIH Courses for University of Hawaii-Hilo Continuing Education, Kailua-Kona Hawaii; Brazilian Parks Managers Study Tour, Fort Collins Colorado; Akagera National Park, Rwanda; Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda


Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Inc.; Denver, Colorado

Development of a corporate interpretive strategy for a concession company with operations in national parks, state parks, and other recreational venues. Included assessment of visitor experience operations in Mt. Rainier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park.


FAMELAB - NASA 

FAMELAB is an international event that encourages scientists to use a less technical approach to communication to describe their work. We were asked to serve as a judge (Lisa) and conduct a training component (Tim) at the regional level for this event sponsored by NASA and National Geographic, participating in regional events at Lunar Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas; American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, California; and Society for American Archaeology in Honolulu, Hawaii. Lisa also served as a judge at the national final event in Washington, DC.


Ocean Discovery Institute; San Diego, California

Facilitation of a three-day planning workshop to develop interpretive concepts for a new public facility for this nonprofit organization that works with local schools to identify high-potential students and mentor them through ocean-based activities to science degrees and leadership in the community.


Heartfelt Ecotours

Planned and led tours that focus on natural and cultural heritage resources in Tanzania (2013) and Rwanda (2014). Previously planned and led ecotours for National Association for Interpretation in Kenya (2003), Tanzania (2005, 2010), Peru (2006), and Ecuador (2007).


Ecotourism Training Videos and Manual; Malaysia

JICA sponsored our involvement in development of a training manual and videos to help indigenous communities understand how to communicate with and develop appropriate experiences for visitors, sharing their local culture and traditions in ways that honor the community's core values and help sustain them financially. 


Rocky Mountain Raptor Program; Fort Collins, Colorado

Development of a conceptual plan for site, facilities, and interpretation at a 27-acre site housing a raptor rehabilitation and education facility as part of a team that included architects (The Kubala Washatko Architects), landscape architects (Jim Brighton of PJA Architects & Landscape Architects), and exhibit designers (Condit Exhibits). Our role included facilitation and coordination of the effort as well as interpretive input and development of a logic model.


Old Cahawba; Selma, Alabama

Facilitation and development of an interpretive plan for this "ghost town" that was once Alabama's capital and is now an archaeological site and a place of picturesque ruins, managed by the Cahawba Advisory Committee. 


Giant Panda Conservation and Breeding Center; Sichuan Province, China

This project involved facilitation of a meeting with Chinese officials, veterinarians, donors, and giant panda habitat specialists along with representatives of the U.S.-China Environmental Fund and the National Association for Interpretation to determine key issues facing the giant panda breeding center at Wolong and how to better manage visitor use to accomplish the center’s mission. This meeting led to master planning efforts over the next few years that included site, facility, and interpretation planning and design. Shortly after implementation of the master plan, the Wolong site was destroyed by the 2008 earthquake. Subsequent project work involved planning for the relocation of the Wolong Breeding Center and interpretation at this and other giant panda breeding and conservation center sites throughout Sichuan Province.


Jilin Tiger Reserve; Hunchun, China

US-China Environmental Fund funded the development of an ecotourism plan for Jilin Tiger Reserve in northeastern China. The planning process and products was designed to help local people develop ways in which to engage visitors for sustainability of resources and revenue in this area where tigers may be the draw, but are rarely seen.


International Friendship Forest; Badaling, China

This project involved meeting with Chinese officials and representatives of the U.S.-China Environmental Fund to determine the most appropriate methods and messages to interpret the Great Wall of China at the Badaling Gate.