Prepping for Programming
Running education and interpretation programs is a major part of the work done here over the summer. I mentioned before that us field rangers are each going to develop our own program to give to the visitors at Cape Perpetua during the busy summer season. On the weekends we will be the ones at the cape in charge of the ranger programs. Each of us was to start the development of a program that we would give starting in the next 2 weeks. The topics for our interpretive programs can be our own, on something that we are passionate about. It can be about anything we’ve learned since we’ve been here or anything we still have a question about what we want to have answered. Our rangers come from such diverse backgrounds that no two programs will be the same. The topics will be completely different, and the method of delivery will be unique to each field ranger. Some of our rangers have suggested programs about misconceptions visitors have about this national forest, experiencing nature with our 5 senses, and learning to reconnect with nature. These programs will all be given over the course of our time here before they are passed on to the next round of rangers who will be in our places next summer.
As for my own program, as you may remember, my background is in geography. My concentration was in earth system science, so I studied a lot of landscape process and form. I am hoping to develop a program, “Beauty Above the Danger Below,” on the beauty and danger of coastal activity. Coastal processes create some of the most beautiful features, such as our very own Cape Perpetua, but this beauty stems from such dangerous and violent activity. The Pacific Coast is such an active place, creating at the same rate that it is eroding, keeping a balance on the landscape. We can see this activity take place right in front of us when we stand along the restless waters trail at the cape. I want people to learn what is taking place below the surface they walk on. Through my program, I hope to teach people not to fear the landscape but to understand it and learn from it so they know what is happening around them.
During field ranger training, we were taught what makes a good interpretive program. A good interpretive program is meant to enhance what the visitor is seeing, hearing or experiencing. We have to remember that this is what the audience has chosen to learn about the topic we are presenting on. While they are here, they have chosen to take the time from their day to come on one of our guided hikes or theater programs. We have to know our audience when we go into one of the programs, so we can best connect with them. In interpretation, we are not trying to tell the audience what to think or what to feel, but hoping to inspire them to think about these topics and start to form their own interest in them. Knowing the differences involved in interpretive programming will help us as we develop them because we want to enhance the experience for our visitors and give them a strong program to engage with. Developing the programs will continue over the week and then it will be our turn to lead.