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

IDP Newsletter--June, 2014


Finding What Feeds You: A Season Full of Possibilities

This student's response on mid-training survey showed one small impact of our work and fueled a desire to do more.


Gearing up for a new season can be an exciting prospect, but it can also be daunting to face less rewarding details and duties. During moments of increasing administrivia and collateral-duties-as-assigned, I find I need to stop and allow myself to really note when my work has a positive impact.


At the end of March, I had one such moment co-instructing our first pilot class to Train the Seasonal Trainer in 21st Century Interpretive Skills at Grand Tetons National Park. Over 25 students from 10 different parks explored the why, when, and how of using new facilitation and engagement strategies with visitors.  


This week, instructor teams from those parks are teaching these skills to new seasonal staffs. It is truly gratifying to see students transformed by the power of a dialogic approach, and now doubly so to know they are building the same capacity in new and returning seasonal staff.


You might not always know how your work impacts your audiences, but you know how it impacts you. Whether trying out new Facebook posts, investigating untold stories, exploring rich conversations with audiences, or attending a training that "blows your mind" -- this season I encourage you uncover new approaches that feed creativity and passion for your work. If you do, more than your audiences will benefit.




Katie Bliss 

Training Manager for Interpretation and Education

Inside This Issue
Win Awards for your Good Examples
The Training Exchange
Videography Workshop
Training Grants - Help Build the Catalog

WIN AN AWARD for contributing a new Training Example

We Want You To Interpret! / Image of Uncle Sam pointing.

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...

Training Exchange

From the IDP



  • The Interpretive Facilitator's Toolkit webinar - As the summer season gets into full swing, here is an introduction to an important 21st century skills set. This 90-minute webinar, back by popular demand, will introduce the Interpretive Facilitator's Toolkit - a resource and idea sharing opportunity for interpreters who understand the importance of interpreting with visitors rather than for them. Register for the June 12session OR       July 15 session
  • By Educators, For Educators webinar series - This forum provides space for educators to share and learn about relevant topics that directly impact youth and teacher engagement in an effort to build a more collaborative community that inspires open exchange of ideas among park educators.                    
    • Introduction to the Library of Congress - June 10, 2014, 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET.Register Here
    • Judgment, Memory, and Legacy: A Facing History Approach to Exploring Monuments and Memorials - July 15, 2014 at 1:00 and 3:00 PM ETRegister Here
    • Integrating Common Core - Monday, August 11, 2014, 2:00 - 4:00 PM ET.Register Here
    • Introduction to Bridging the Watershed - September 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:

  • Train-the-Trainer - Facilitated Dialogue for Interpretation and Education - This course focuses on the skills needed to train interpreters and educators in facilitated dialogue interpretive practices as a critical 21st century skills set. Participants will hone their own skills -- and then learn to relay these skills to their colleagues in various park, regional or servicewide training venues. 

    This class is intended for students who have participated in a previous Facilitated Dialogue Techniques class sponsored by the IDP or the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, or participants in the "Train-the-Seasonal-Trainer in 21st Century Skills" course. Find more details and learn how to apply.    

  • 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.
    • Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska - September 8 - 12, 2014Register Here
    • Check the IDP website, more courses being added in coming weeks. 
Virtual (Online) Classroom Courses:  
  • Interpreting Climate Change Virtual Class -  July 22-25, 2014. This 4-day virtual learning experience 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. Register in DOI Learn, search by course title.  To view the announcement, click here
  • Curriculum Based Ed Virtual Course  - August 5 - 8, 2014. This 4-day virtual learning experience for the park educator will examine the park service as an education institution and parks as places of learning through civic engagement and citizen stewardship. Register in DOI Learn, search by course title. To view the announcement, click here
  • Introduction to Audio Description - July 8-10, 2014. This 3-day 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. This course will help employees navigate accessibility guidelines & resources related to audio description as well as practice audio description principles. Register in DOI Learn, search by course title.   

Cultural Resources Learning and Development Team

The CR L&D team is pleased to announce the launch of their Facebook and Twitter accounts. These accounts will help the NPS community find:

  • Training and learning resources relevant to cultural resources and the larger community
  • Updates on cultural resource and related projects throughout the NPS
  • Information on job and internship opportunities for cultural resource and related fieldd

So head to Facebook or Twitter, and look us up. Join in and share your knowledge and experience with cultural resources - from training opportunities to funny stories - with the larger community.


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... 
  • 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
American Alliance of Museums
  • Autry Classroom Curators: The Museum as Public Resource and Research Facility Friday, June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles. Join colleagues in examining the Autry National Center's new outreach program, to explore, think about and suggest ways that museums can provide resources to a broad public for the purpose of research and exhibition, advancing the goal of the 21st century museum to become a site of pubic engagement and discourse. To learn more, click here
Facing History and Ourselves
  • Facing History Professional Development Calendar  
  • Holocaust and Human Behavior Online Course (begins June 12
  • Choices in Little Rock Online Course (begins June 12

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 the Distance Learning Center at STMA

Videography Workshop - July 14th to 17th
This four-day workshop will be a combination of classroom presentation and hands-on production. The focus will prepare students to produce their own video media products. This involves pre-production planning, directing onscreen interviews, shooting b-roll footage, editing concepts, and post-production tasks to prepare for various distribution outlets. Alison Mims will be the lead instructor.
Find the course in DOI Learn. Email for more information.

The IDP's 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.

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.