Making a Difference on Purpose

Dr. Sam Ham is a well-known name in the interpretation profession. He has just completed a new book entitled Interpretation – Making a Difference on Purpose. His classic first text, Environmental Interpretation – A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets was published in 1992 in English and Spanish. It has servedContinue reading “Making a Difference on Purpose”

Get To the Point

We were in San Francisco last December to work with NASA and National Geographic’s Famelab competition. Shayle, one of the young scientists who presented, said, “Nudibranchs steal poison from their prey. They carry it around like a poisonous backpack, using it for their own defense.” I remember the point of the talk because the main ideaContinue reading “Get To the Point”

Greening Rwanda – One Bird at a Time

Picture a group of young people led by a highly trained and Certified Interpretive Guide. They’re looking for birds, monitoring endemic species in one of the most significant rainforests in East Africa. Imagine this is your group – twenty-five enthusiastic young people who want to learn more about their environment and hundreds more waiting behindContinue reading “Greening Rwanda – One Bird at a Time”

Product or Experience?

Are you planning tourist or visitor products or experiences? It matters how you think about it. Tourist products, like tours, boat rides, or programs, are often viewed by visitors as commodities. They compare your two-hour tour to other diversions of two hours, like a movie. Price becomes an important factor in the decision to buyContinue reading “Product or Experience?”

Don’t Dumb it Down

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard someone say, “Oh, interpretation, that’s just dumbing down science so everyone can understand it.” If you’re an interpreter and you’ve ever said something similar, stop it. If you’re a scientist and you’ve said something like that, stop it. If you’re anybody else, not in one or bothContinue reading “Don’t Dumb it Down”

Storytellers or Interpreters – Is There a Difference?

Every now and then, I hear or see discussions of storytelling as being roughly equivalent to natural and cultural heritage interpretation. Certainly some interpreters use stories to help others understand places, people and events. Conversely, some storytellers use an interpretive approach to enrich their work. But I don’t think that storytelling and interpretation are exactlyContinue reading “Storytellers or Interpreters – Is There a Difference?”

FameLab – The American Idol of Science Communication

You’re getting into an elevator and find yourself surrounded by astrophysicists . . . can you just imagine the conversations? I haven’t been in this situation recently, but  I have had the opportunity to increase my exposure to science among the stars. Over the last year, I’ve been asked to be a judge at regionalContinue reading “FameLab – The American Idol of Science Communication”