Why is Interpretation Important?

“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”

Baba Dioum, 1968

During the second week of training, we focused on the interpretive programs we will be doing throughout the summer. Interpretation is a very powerful tool that allows us to connect people emotionally and intellectually to the world around them. Our interpretive programs are important because they allow us to show the public that the wildlife and resources of the Siuslaw National Forest are important and that we should do everything in our power to protect them. To help us connect the audience to the forest, we also continued to visit different areas around the central district and had people from different departments speak to us about projects they are working on.

While exploring more of Cape Perpetua, we were able to go down the Giant Spruce Trail, which is one of the more popular hikes in this area. This hike is not very long so many people enjoy a quick walk down this trail and there are even scheduled walks with the Lead Field Ranger Reba Ortiz that include eating some of the plants like salmonberries!

Me sitting underneath the Giant Spruce at the end of the trail

We also got the opportunity to explore the tide pools with Tara DuBois from the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve! She told us about the different factors that affect the tide pools and about the sea star wasting disease that had a huge negative impact on the sea star populations along the entire coast a couple of years ago. These tide pools are very important because they are unique ecosystems that many organisms need to survive.

An array of organisms that live in the tide pools at Cape Perpetua

Another great hike we got to do with Lead Field Ranger Reba Ortiz was Captain Cook’s Trail that opened up to a view of Thor’s Well, which is a very popular tourist attraction. During this hike, Reba gave us her interpretive presentation and gave us advice on how to adjust our talks depending on the audience and other factors. Getting to see her presentation was very helpful because she showed us the energy and excitement you need to bring to these walks so that the people feel the connection to the area.

Sadly, this was my last week in the Central Coast Ranger District, but I will be moving up to the Hebo Ranger District to finish up my internship! I learned a lot during the two-week training and look forward to starting my own programs that can positively impact both the public and the wildlife in Hebo. In order to get people to protect what we have, we have to help them understand why it is important, which we will be trying to do with our interpretive programs all summer long.

Brenda Ramirez
[email protected]
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