Field Ranger Madison Goforth chillin’ in the Oregon Dunes

“Interpretation should instill in people the ability, and the desire, to sense the beauty in their surroundings-to provide spiritual uplift and to encourage resource preservation.” -The Gifts of Interpretation by Beck, Larry, and Ted Cable



Oregon’s threatened Siuslaw silverspot butterfly


Certified Interpretive Guide. Sounds official, don’t it? It is I, Christine Smith, Certified Interpretive Guide to the masses. This basically means that I explain things to people, and hopefully inspire them to care about or discover something. As part of my position as field ranger intern here on the Siuslaw National Forest, we were gifted a week-long training to become interpretive guides. This course changed my life in a big way. I say this because I have never, ever in my life felt comfortable in front of an audience. I’m sure most everybody on earth would say that. Our instructors for this course were Dave Thompson and Vicki Penwell, both exceptional people and amazing interpreters. They gave me tools that allowed me to trust what I know and accept mistakes and spontaneity. This caused a massive internal shift for me, moving me from fear, anxiety, self-doubt, and disconnect to human connection, passion, sharing, and trust. Not only has it been a huge personal accomplishment, it has made the work I’m doing feel more meaningful, impactful, and real.

Field Rangers watch as this tree stand is swallowed by sand, grain by grain



Through all of this, I have found a way to make my interactions with the public personal, and discover true, genuine connections. As a Field Ranger, I hope to elicit an awareness and connection to two threatened bird species of the Oregon Coast, the marbled murrelet and the western snowy plover and help people realize, that there is something here worth caring about.

%d bloggers like this: