How Does Your Program Smell?

  Does your natural or cultural site or facilities have a “signature” odor? That may be a strange question but it has more to do with interpretation than you may think.     I was reminded of the power of the Proust Effect when I visited the Science Teacher website that suggested going to aContinue reading “How Does Your Program Smell?”

Finding The Sweet Spot

At some heritage sites interpretation is entertainment, doing little more than passing time for visitors or delivering information that will not be remembered. Helping people connect emotionally and intellectually with complex stories is a challenge. Experiences must be planned with specific objectives in mind.   Much of what we do in planning natural and culturalContinue reading “Finding The Sweet Spot”

Five Ways to Better Understand Your Audience

    I will never forget my days running a state park visitor center when we counted people going through the building. These daily numbers went into a report we submitted to the state office annually. We detected the presence and number of our visitors and that was about it. Most of us do notContinue reading “Five Ways to Better Understand Your Audience”

When the Wow Trumps the Message

Have you ever spent an hour with mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes following trails once traveled by Dian Fossey? Have you had your photo taken with baby pandas in a Sichuan panda reserve where George Schaller once studied these amazing animals? Did you climb out of your panga in the Galapagos to walk inContinue reading “When the Wow Trumps the Message”

Is Habituating Wildlife the Right Thing to Do?

Our little friend Jes, the vervet monkey, visits our classroom in Rwanda each day. She doesn’t say much, but she definitely has a story. Akagera park officials learned that a young monkey had been taken as a pet, a violation of the law, so it was taken from the people and brought to the park.Continue reading “Is Habituating Wildlife the Right Thing to Do?”

Maslow on safari!

We are in a classroom at Akagera National Park at this moment and Lisa is facilitating a discussion about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with safari guides and game lodge workers. It’s a very rewarding conversation because most of these folks exemplify an understanding of this concept in their daily work, even if they have notContinue reading “Maslow on safari!”

Guide Training in Rwanda – a Rewarding Venture

In October 2012 we made our first trip to Rwanda to work with Nyungwe Nziza, a USAID funded project with Development Alternatives International (DAI) to help the fairly new Nyungwe National Park (2005) reach its potential as a tourist attraction and valued nature preserve. It has been a national forest since 1933, but the changeContinue reading “Guide Training in Rwanda – a Rewarding Venture”

The Mountain Gorilla Experience in Rwanda

Just one hour in the presence of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes of E. Africa can make you rethink who and what you are. We just led an ecotour through the three national parks of Rwanda: Nyungwe in the southwest, Akagera in the northeast and Volcanoes in the northwest. At dinner on the lastContinue reading “The Mountain Gorilla Experience in Rwanda”

Five Ways to Keep Your Special Event Special

Think about Mardi Gras, and New Orleans comes to mind. Pamplona evokes images of the running of the bulls. Times Square in NYC seems to own New Year’s Eve. I noted several other cities with events but the big televised ones with strong brand identity were at Times Square. Special events help create a communityContinue reading “Five Ways to Keep Your Special Event Special”

Messages Matter

I just posted the video seen above on my Facebook page after Carolyn Widner Ward (thanks, Carolyn) posted it on hers. I had seen the original award-winning video, La Historia de un Letrero by Alonso Alvarez Barreda, several years ago (thanks to Eliezer Nieves-Rodriguez for the reminder and Dr. Sam Ham for the deep background on hisContinue reading “Messages Matter”