Collaborate, Leverage, Partner and Package

When I lived and worked in Pueblo, Colorado, as a nature center director I had the opportunity to participate in a community collaborative planning group that really produced for all of us. I have written about it before in blogs and in our book, Put the HEART Back In Your Community. Too often collaboration isContinue reading “Collaborate, Leverage, Partner and Package”

Teach a Child to Give

Giving is a behavior that children learn from parents and role models. Giving gifts is one of the traditions built into our winter holidays. Some give toys, clothes and games to their kids. Some give their kids money. There are some other opportunities in this season that might be good to think about. We canContinue reading “Teach a Child to Give”

Where Do I Come From?

Interpretation of natural and cultural heritage often makes us wonder, “Where do I come from?”  Especially for Americans, Canadians, Australians and the many other countries that have been cultural melting pots, history beyond the past generation or two can seem very distant. Now, helping people learn about their deepest roots has never been so easy.Continue reading “Where Do I Come From?”

When Being Third Place Is a Good Thing

When my dad was still living, I would visit him in my hometown, Vandalia, Illinois. I was amazed at how McDonalds by Interstate 70 had become the hangout for him and his buddies in the morning. I enjoyed going there with him for coffee and seeing his old friends of 70 years or more. CoffeeContinue reading “When Being Third Place Is a Good Thing”

An Art Museum and So Much More

On a recent trip to Japan, we had the great fortune to visit the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum in the Yamanashi region near Mount Fuji. We had been out for a drive to enjoy the fall colors but when we turned up the road toward the museum parking area, everyone in the car gasped atContinue reading “An Art Museum and So Much More”

Enjoyable or Engaging?

One of the most commonly quoted characteristics of interpretation is “enjoyable.” Sam Ham was one of the first to mention this term as a trait of what he calls the “interpretive approach to communication.” This makes sense to me – after all, if people are in a leisure setting and have chosen to be there,Continue reading “Enjoyable or Engaging?”

Worrying About the Wow

New museums, interpretive centers, nature centers, zoos, and other interpretive sites often worry about having a “wow” factor – something big and splashy and attention-getting that will cause visitors to stop in their tracks and later say to their friends, “that place had a sensational (fill in the blank here – could be building, exhibit,Continue reading “Worrying About the Wow”

Advance Organizers

Much of what we do in life, travel and tourism is about expectations. About twenty years ago, I was leading an ecotour in Belize. I had two very unhappy ladies at a four-star resort, who could not believe there was no bathmat in their room. The food was great, the rooms were beautiful, the bedsContinue reading “Advance Organizers”

Fighting Complacency

Travel is not only broadening I’ve realized, but burdening too. I carry these lives and places with me but I’m grateful for the ballast. It’s keeping me from tipping into total complacency. Judith Stone It’s been almost ten years since I saw my first wild elephants in Kenya. They took my breath away. Having only beenContinue reading “Fighting Complacency”

If The Plants Could Talk –

Actually the plants, the landscaping and the grounds do talk. How we plan and care for the landscape at nature centers, zoos, museums, aquariums and communities tell our audience more than we think. We see organizations that interpret nature, history and anthropology whose buildings have the same landscaping as the mall nearby or an urbanContinue reading “If The Plants Could Talk –”