OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Interpretation for Master Naturalists

What is Interpretation?

According to the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), Interpretation is “a mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and meanings inherent in the resource.” (NAI, 2007 - http://www.interpnet.com/)

From its inception, the National Park Service, as well as other cultural and natural parks, relied upon the instincts of talented “nature guides” to tell the stories inherent in the resource. In his 1957 book, Interpreting Our Heritage, Freeman Tilden defined six principles of Heritage Interpretation. Tilden, through his work with the National Park Service, helped codify the essence inherent in good communication taking place at our natural and cultural sites. To learn more about Freeman Tilden, visit http://www.nps.gov/history/bestideapeople/tilden.htm.

If you intend to volunteer your time as an educator, guide or interpreter at a park, nature center, or other natural area, we encourage you to complete some sort of training* in interpretation techniques.

No courses are available at this time. Check back soon!

Training Details

The Oregon Master Naturalist Program offers a training workshop on Interpretation. This training is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who wishes to become an Oregon Master Naturalist volunteer performing public programs to audiences in various non-formal settings (e.g., parks, nature centers, natural areas).

This course is offered as either a 2-day training or a 4-day training. The first two days (Part 1) covers the basics of interpretation. Topics include: principles of interpretation, interpretation techniques, and best practices when delivering interpretive programs. Activities will allow participants to practice & demonstrate interpretive techniques. The second two days (Part 2) can only be taken with the first two days, and is required if you want to become a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG), which is offered through the National Association for Interpretation.

Here's what you can expect if you choose Part 2, the CIG option:

  • More in-depth discussions about interpretation, audience types, learning styles, a required 5-minute interpretive presentation, and an open-book CIG exam.
  • A one-year NAI membership with benefits. See description of member benefits, HERE.
  • Certified Interpretive Guide certification, which is nationally recognized by many agencies and organizations as a professional credential 
  • A CIG Handbook for use during and after the course (included with Part 1)

When are these trainings held?

The Interpretation for Master Naturalists trainings will be held roughly twice a year, generally in the Spring and again in the Fall. Schedules will be posted on this site when they are available.

*If you are volunteering in any other capacity (click HERE for volunteering details), you may still take this training.