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female rufous hummingbird

Hello, friends.

When you're a planner, it takes time to see the fruits of your labours. Interpretive plans may never be realized (I have a whole stack of exhibit concepts sitting on shelves pending funding), or they takes years to see the light of day.

Riding High in Riding Mountain

This week, though, has been rewarding: a year ago I embarked on a fairly ambitious Visitor Experience Strategy with the creative professionals of Riding Mountain National Park. The VE Strategy is a holistic approach to experience design. It incorporates elements of business planning, marketing, interpretive planning, and product development. It was a big project. What a delight to see Riding Mountain's new program guide, featuring innovative products that make you want to jump in your car and head to the beautiful hills and forests of Manitoba. Click on the image to check it out:

The Mountie, the Maid and the Miner

Also in the great news department: the talented people of Klondike National Historic Sites just received Parks Canada's CEO Award for a program that they developed as part of a big interpretive planning process that we embarked on together a couple of years ago.
The Mountie, the Maid and the Miner takes place at the Commissioner's Residence—a beautiful historic house and a local symbol of colonialism. Using elements of interactive theatre and dialogic interpretation, this program fearlessly thrusts the visitor into some of the most pivotal (and difficult) moments in Dawson City's past. Here's what the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre had to say about it:
"The story is interesting, lively, and presented in a gentle, but honest way. It was an emotional experience to hear truth telling in the former residence of the seat of power for the Yukon. The Parks Canada Interpretation Staff are to be commended for taking to heart the TRC Calls To Action Recommendations and finding ways to build reconciliation into their work, the community and visitor outreach services."
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Panda Passage is a little bit awesome.

(photo: Calgary Zoo)
If you find yourself in Calgary over the next while, you really need to meet Er Shun and Da Mao and their wee ones. I had the pleasure of working with Calgary Zoo and Reich + Petch on this project, writing the text for the interpretive panels. So much cuteness. Go see it.
I'm also chuffed to report that the following article will be translated into Spanish and published in Spain's Boletín de Interpretación in September:

There are no meanings inherent in your resource.

Which is not to suggest that your resource is without meaning. I've been spending a lot of time lately putting together basic training for interpreters, and one of the first things we always try to do is define exactly what our profession is. You'd think that'd be easy; it ain't. Every time I try to define interpretation, I come away …
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The Art of Constructive Feedback

I had an opportunity to revisit my old stomping grounds this spring: I gave a keynote presentation to Alberta Parks interpreters in Kananaskis Country, where I began my career in 1982. It was a wonderful, nostalgic experience, and it really brought back to me the value of the training I got from that organization. So much of what I know …
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Interpretive Writing and the Art of Getting Things Done

Last but not least, I'm a guest writer at the new Interpretation Canada blog- I think you should go check it out.
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