Every time I visited museums, zoos, and nature centers I was beyond happy to be there among others that loved science, culture, and nature. The stars of the show, however, were the professionals that told the story of the particular subject matter. Their goal was to get everyone around them excited and intrigued about what they were holding in their hand or what was on display. These unique individuals are better known as interpretive guides. No, they do not translate or interpret from one language to another; they communicate the story of a special exhibit, a painting, an animal, plants, cultural traditions, and about much more. They do so in such a way that the audience is captivated, enthralled, and eventually leave knowing that they have a special connection to the subject of interpretation. A connection that will hopefully inspire them to want to learn more.
After a long but fun week of training for the Certified Interpretive Guide certification, I can say that I have learned to appreciate the people in this profession. Their passion, commitment, and storytelling abilities are what gets the audience to love the subject as much as the interpreter or even more. As part of the training, we were fortunate to see programs led by guides with years of interpretative experience and each and every one of them was inspirational and full of new knowledge to share. It was certainly a lot of information packed in one week, but it never gets boring if you have wonderful instructors and passionate students. Students who are eager to get out there to talk to the public about such a beautiful and unique forest that the Siuslaw Forest is. At the end of the training each student had to present the program that they had worked on since the start of the week. Each of us had so much to talk about, so the hardest part was telling the stories of the wildlife, habitats, restoration project, and other fun things going on in the Siuslaw in just 10 minutes. To end the week and for a nice change of scenery we volunteered at the Haceta Dune Restoration site to get rid of the invasive Scotch Broom! Overall, it was a wonderful learning experience.