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

IDP Newsletter -- October, 2015

All Aboard IDP 2.0                                                             Gray

Abby, Cidney, Tess, and Kristy at Mather Training Center in September.
Abby, Cidney, Tess, and Kristy attend Interpretation Peer Collaboration Workshop at Mather Training Center last month.*
Building on the best ideas of the Interpretive Development Program, while incorporating a stronger focus on audiences, mixed in an electronic tumbler of online data sharing and forums  -- the next generation of the Interpretive Development Program, IDP 2.0, will be born. And the best part is all of us will have a hand in its creation! For one week last month more than 30 interpreters, novice to silverbacks from across the country, sat in a classroom and debated the foundations of our evolving profession. 
We're off to a good start, but we have a long way to go. We need your input and want to include your voice. How can many voices, philosophies, and ideas be shared? The possibilities seem limitless through the new Common Learning Portal. 
The Common Learning Portal will be your online access to training events, resources, and subject matter experts, as well as a Community of Practice. Within these community forums, you will be able to share best practices, interpretive products, and other ideas with your peers from all across the agency. All will have an opportunity to "workshop" their products and hold intelligent discussions about our evolving professional standards. Everyone from seasonals to superintendents will be invited to contribute. We stand at the threshold of bold, new interpretation.
The Common Learning Portal will launch this winter. In the meantime, the ball is in your court. What does the agency need to carry interpretation into the 21st century? What do interpreters need? What do you think? Look for an invitation soon to add your voice.
*Abby Wines, District Interpreter at Death Valley National Park; Cidney Webster, Supervisory Park Ranger at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve; Tess Shatzer, Supervisory Park Ranger at Lowell National Historical Park; and Kristy Sholly, Chief of Interpretation Kenai Fjords National Park represent the communications committee for the Interpretive Peer Collaboration Workshop last month. They reflect here on the changes to the Interpretive Development Program (IDP).

      IDP Training Grants

We're striving to offer learning opportunities that model 21st Century skills and we see the obvious need to expand and leverage our resources. Our IDP Training grants give interpreters an opportunity to find their own training defined by their Individual Development Plan. 
Qualye at a CIG workshop at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Olympia, WA 
Quayle Chew, Facility Services Assistant of Dinosaur National
Monument attended a NAI Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) workshop in April he shares, "This Certified Interpretive Guide training was outstanding! Thank you kindly for this opportunity! I've learned so much from this training, I am excited to employ in my work whenever I'm able to help out our Interpretation team." 
Jen Epstein, Education Specialist of the National Mall and Memorial Parks requested funding to bring in a teacher to help map out the future of the parks education programs. "After a day touring the sites, Jesse and I discussed themes and strategies for best tackling the various content areas this park covers and planned ways to best organize teacher-friendly resources. When we talked again, we went over Jesse's guidelines for developing teacher materials that will make it easier for ranger staff to create useful lessons for teachers." 
To submit a grant proposal, click here

      From the IDP -- Training Opportunities

  • Interpreting Climate Change Self-Study Modules - Great News! The Interpreting Climate change Self-Study Modules are now available on the IDP website. These study materials are completely self-paced and self-directed. Take a look and share the link with others at your site:
  • Interpretive Facilitator's Toolkit -
    A "starter kit" of resources to help you develop and hone your skills as an interpretive facilitator, a 21st century skill set!
  • On-line Courses - Available at
    • Informal Visitor Contacts
    • Interpretive Talk
    • Foundations of Interpretation
    • Causes of the Civil War
    • Media Fundamentals for Interpreters
    • And many more!
  • 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.                        
    • 21 Instructional Strategies for on-site programs, lesson planning, and outreach -Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 2:00 - 4:00 PM ET Register Here
    • How to Plan and Organize for Lesson Plan Development - Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 2:00 - 4:00 PM ETRegister Here
    • How to Create Blended Learning Opportunities for short Professional Development- December, 1, 2015, 2:00 - 4:00 PM ETRegister Here
Face-to-Face Classroom Training:
The first of five ILBS workshops, held in Philadelphia by the NER and NCR teams last month, was a huge success and is already making a positive impact on participants' work and the visitors' experience.
  • Interpretation Leadership and Business Skills (ILBS)

Chiefs, don't miss this opportunity -- coming to your region in FY16!

During these three-day, regionally-based training events chiefs and managers participate in site-based experiential learning, discuss how new practices can reach new audiences, gather data on their current program outputs, use planning and evaluation tools to examine their own programs and resource allocation, and begin re-prioritizing. Register in DOI Learn. Visit theILBS Google Site to learn more.  

    • Pacific West Regional Office - October 20-22, 2015 
    • Midwest Regional Office - December 2-4, 2015
    • Intermountain Region - March 15-17, 2016 - location TBD
    • Southeast Regional Office - March 29-31, 2016 
  • A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - In this two-day workshop, an exploration of the major efforts to rebuild the world community after WWII with a focus on Eleanor Roosevelt who redefined the role of a First Lady. 
    Women's Rights National Historical Park - Oct 19 & 20, 2015. Click here to view announcement. Click here to register.  
  • 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.  
    • Mount Rushmore National Park - December 7 - 11, 2015. Click here to view announcementRegister in DOI Learn 
    • Acadia National Park - January 4-8, 2016. Click here to view the announcement. Register in DOI Learn
    • Joshua Tree National Park - January 25-29, 2016 - FULL
    • Lassen Volcanic National Park - March 14-18, 2016. Click here to view the announcement. Register in DOI Learn.
    • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve - April 11-15, 2016Clickhere to view the announcement. Register in DOI Learn.
    • Stephen T. Mather Training Center - June 13-16, 2016. Register in DOI Learn
Virtual (Online) Classroom Courses:  
  • Interpreting Climate Change - February 9-12, 2016. This course helps interpreters to develop effective, engaging climate change programming for both natural and cultural sites. Register in DOI Learn.
  • Managing Curriculum Based Education January 12-14, 2016. This 3-day virtual learning experience for park education program managers will focus on building a dynamic team, strategic planning, and much more. To view the announcement, click hereRegister in DOI Learn
  • Developing Curriculum Based Education - March 8-11, 2016. This 4-day virtual learning experience for education specialist will focus on development of educational programs and evaluation. To view the announcement, click hereRegister in  DOI Learn. 
      Media Training Needs Survey - Help Us Help You

Do you develop media products -- of any type -- for your park? For example, if you develop site bulletins, park newspapers, social media posts, waysides, mobile apps, or manage your park's media programs, this survey is for you! Please take a few moments to indicate your training needs for media skills. These survey results will be used to determine what skills and training are most needed by park employees, and will guide the development of future training opportunities and resources.
Click here to begin the survey!

Training Exchange

We've searched high and low for upcoming training opportunities that you just might be interested in!
  • Civil War to Civil Rights Social Conscience Gathering - Little Rock, AR - Nov 20-22, 2015- click here to learn more. 
  • Facing History and Ourselves - Online Course - Choices in Little Rock: An Approach to Teaching the Civil Rights Movement - Oct 15 - Dec 2, 2015 - click here to learn more.
  • NAI Certified Interpretive Guide Courses - various locations - click here to learn more.
  • WASO Leadership Development Group - various locations - click here to learn more. 
  • Air Resources in National Parks - Self-Study - click here to learn more.
    Click here to download Air Resources flyer
  • Interdisciplinary Resource Protection and Law - San Antonio, TX - click here to learn more. 
  • - free on-line webinars - click here to  view edWeb Webinar Calendar. 
    - - -
  • Service First Innovation Fund - Service First is a partnership authority available to all agencies of the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of the Interior - deadline October 16, 2015. Click here to learn more. 
  • Climate Change Internship RFP - A 12-week paid internship to be conducted by a student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program - deadline October 30, 2015. Clickhere to learn more. 
  • Albright Wirth Grants - The Horace M. Albright-Conrad L. Wirth Grant Program is a developmental opportunity that annually awards funding for personal and career development projects to NPS employees - deadline October 8, 2015. Click here to learn 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.