National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

IDP Newsletter -- January 7, 2014

Interpretive Development Program
Professional Standards for Learning and Performance
Snow in the field outside Mather Training Center, with the Shenandoah watergap in the distance. 

New Hope for a New Year, or is that just insane?  

New Chiefs course overdue: Last Chiefs course (above) held June 2011


Albert Einstein is attributed with defining insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And yet, I find myself hopeful at the beginning of yet another year -- hopeful that we are on the cusp of breakthrough changes in Learning and Development that will make a real difference to field practitioners and the public they serve. 


For example, this fall Learning and Development launches a new web portal in concert with updates to Inside NPS that tailors your homepage to your learning needs. We also launch the pilot of a long-awaited New Division Chief Leadership Development Program (see details below). And our interp and ed team conduct a Best Practices and Training Needs Assessment in March, lighting the way for new funding and training emphases for our national and regional efforts.


Though dollars are tight and staffing still slim, leadership continues to value learning and development, thereby valuing you. I hope you find some display of that support in your day-to-day efforts and through the many training opportunities offered below.



Katie Bliss 

Training Manager

Interpretive Development Program

Inside This Issue

Training Exchange

From the IDP


Webinar Series: 

  • By Educators, For Educators webinar series - an effort to build a more collaborative community for park educators that inspire and fosters open communication and exchange of ideas. The purpose of this forum is to establish an additional opportunity or "space" for educators to share and learn about relevant topics that directly impact youth and teacher engagement. 
    • Effective and Engaging Instructional Strategies - Tuesday, January 28, 2014 from 2:00PM - 4:00PM EDT. Register Here.

    • Introduction to Facilitated Dialogue - Thursday, February 20, 2013 from 2:00PM - 4:00PM EDT. Register Here.

    • Program Accessibility - March date TBD 

    • Service Learning - April date TBD

  • Diginterp Indepth Webinar Series - This monthly webinar series investigates new and emerging interpretive theory and the digital world.  Check out the #diginterp Facebook community or the IDP Facebook page for monthly announcements. 

Face-to-Face Classroom Training:

  • Interpreting Critical Issues Using Civic Engagement & Facilitated Dialogue Techniques - This classroom course focuses on the front-line interpreter's role as a facilitator of dialogue and discussion, and a range of ways to incorporate these techniques into new and existing park programming.  
    • National Capital Region: Multiple dates from Jan. 27 to March 13Register Here.

    • To bring this course to your park or region, please complete this form.
  • Local Registered Coaches Course -- March 18-21, 2014 at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Contact Richard Kohen (IMR Interpretive Specialist) for more information. Registrations due January 10. Please see the full announcement
  • Train-the-Seasonal-Trainer -- March 24-28, 2014 at Grand Tetons National Park. Look for Training announcement by January 24 to register for this opportunity to gain new skills in training others to meet the needs of 21st century audiences. 
Virtual (Online) Classroom Courses:
  • Interpreting Climate Change Virtual Class - February 11-14, 2014 and July 21-25, 2014 (tentative), This course will provide an overview of the practical knowledge and skills that will enable interpreters to develop effective, engaging climate change programming for both natural and cultural sites. Registrations due January 13. Please see the full announcement.  
  • Curriculum Based Ed Virtual Course  - Save the date - August 5 - 8, 2014   This 4-day virtual learning experience for the park educator. During this course, participants will examine the park service as an education institution and parks as places of learning through civic engagement and citizen stewardship; examine the importance of collaborating with partners and education institutions to expand its programs; and examine leading-edge technologies.
  • Introduction to Audio Description - Partnership with Harpers Ferry Center  
  • Save the date - April 1-3, 2014 
  • Audio Description This course prepares learners to audio describe videos that will be posted to the web. Audio description is a core component of accessibility for internal and external Park Service audiences, and this course will help employees navigate accessibility guidelines & resources related to audio description as well as practice audio description principles. 

From WASO Learning and Development
  • WebEx Skills Training - Register now  in the DOI Learn catalog 
    • Introduction to WebEx Training (NPS-ADM2005)
    • Skills for WebEx Moderators (NPS-ADM2006)
    • Using the WebEx Breakout Room Feature (NPS-ADM2013)
  • New Division Chief Leadership Development Program 
    Nominations for this limited pilot course are due Feb. 3. If you are a new chief interested in participating in the pilot, please contact your regional Chief of Interpretation or Employee Development Officer to request to be nominated.
From Northeast Region - How to Play the Game
The interpretive team at Northeast Regional Office continue their successful series of webinars themed around "How to Play the Game: Working with, through, and for others" throughout 2014. Click here to learn more... 
  • User's Guide to What Used to be the Future - Navigating New Realities     January 14 & 16, 2014, 3:00pm-4:30pm EST
  • Learning to Share - Audience-Focused Interpretation and Experiences
    March 11 & 13, 2014 
  • Couldn't Have Done it Without You - Ways to Work With & Through Others
    May 6 & 8, 2014 
  • The New A, B, C's - Informal, Self-Directed, and Free-Choice Learning in NPS
    July 8 & 10, 2014 
  • The Art and Advantage of the Critique or, Beyond Positive Assessment
    Sept 9 & 11, 2014
From the National Conservation Training Center
  • Interagency Wilderness Interpretation and Education Training - March 3-6, 2014
    See training announcement in DOI Learn for more details.  Registrations due...
From National Association for Interpretation
  • Opportunities to network and gain new ideas for education and interpretive programming in your local area. For more information on these localized training opportunities, check the NAI website.

From Climate Change, Earth to Sky NPS/NASA Partnershp

The IDP's NEW Training Grants - Help Build the Catalog

  Education Training Grants

A pencil and paper on a green background.As the Interpretive Development Program (IDP) strives to offer learning opportunities that model 21st Century skills, there is a obvious need to expand and leverage our resources. The IDP Education Training grants will allow park educators to seek out their own training that has been defined by their Interpretive Development Plan. If selected, NPS employees will be given funds ($250.00) that will help reduce the cost in either face-to-face or distance learning. 

Digital Training Grants

A green computer and monitor.An IDP Digital Training grant allows a park interpreter to seek out training which may help them navigate the world of digital interpretation more effectively. If selected, NPS employees will be given funds (up to $250.00) that will help reduce the cost of registering for the training.

Training submitted through the program does not *need* to cost money.  You may submit free training opportunities through this form as well, if you would like to take and review those offerings.  Together, we can create a vibrant training catalog for our peers.

WIN AN AWARD for contributing a new Training Example

We need videos of YOUR fantastic interpretive programs, so get out there with those video cameras! If your program meets the criteria and is selected as an example for training other interpreters, YOU will receive a $250.00 training grant!


We are especially looking for products that illustrate the effective use of audience-centered techniques (such as dialog, resource immersion, directed experiences, or other types of facilitated engagement and audience co-creation strategies) and programs that focus on audience relevance. Read more...

I interpret with my AUDIENCE.
 I believe in MEANINGS.
 I foster DIVERSITY.
Sound like you? Join the IDP community for thought-provoking news, conversations, and training about relevancy and meaning making in parks.  
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