West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Description
||NATURE INTERPRETATION AND TEACHING
||Participants will learn what it means to be a nature interpreter
and acquire a broad understanding of the goals, techniques, and attributes
required to provide an effective interpretive program.
||No special equipment
or materials. Binoculars and hand lens may be useful.
||The student will gain a basic understanding of
- what nature interpretation is and how it differs from formal
environmental education and classical nature study.
- an appreciation that our natural environment and our lives and
manmade environments are intertwined.
- the difference between the interpreter as leader and as provocateur
and where and when to be one or both.
- the six principles of interpretation established by Freeman
Tilden (incorporated by National Park Service) and "acclimatization"
by Steve Van Matre.
- some basic techniques for interpreting the natural world.
- strategies for successfully leading a guided walk.
West Virginia Master Naturalist Class Outline
||NATURE INTERPRETATION AND TEACHING
- Overview of Nature Interpretation
- What nature interpretation is
- Attributes of nature interpretation
- Guided discovery
- Making Connections
- Sensory experience
- Wonder, curiosity
Historical genesis of nature interpretation
Skills and attributes of the successful interpreter
- Freeman Tilden 6 principals for nature interpretation
- Steve Van Matre acclimatization
- Joseph Cornell Sharing Nature with Children
Conducting a walk: A.D.E.S. (= Analyze, Decide, Explain,
- Enthusiasm for the natural world
- Ability to engage others
- Passion for learning
- Self confidence
- Broad knowledge of the natural world
- To do before the walk
To do at the beginning of the walk
- Set a timeline
- Explore area in advance
- Determine an ecological concept or theme based on the area (food
chain or food web, water cycle, nutrient cycling, how nitrogen comes
from the air through simple nitrogen fixing plants to the soil to
plants into protein, etc.)
- Discover what features you can guide your participants to discover
that will propel the group into their own realization of the ecological
principle or theme you are aiming for
- Plan a round trip walk where possible
To do during the walk
- Always tie the concept to people and how it relates to us
- Query participants to learn their backgrounds; you may discover
ways to engage their participation more fully and a starting point
To do after the walk:
- Set a moderate pace
- Try to listen to what the participants are talking about, looking
- Refrain from show and tell use sparingly
- Summarize what was important about the walk
- Thank the participants for their participation
- Ask them if they need further information
- Let them know where they can find more resources
- If the site is dependent on donations, memberships, etc., be sure
to mention that
- Let them know what other needs your site needs: volunteers,
funds, materials, equipment, tools, etc.
- Utilize facts to teach a concept
- Begin the lesson from where the participant is in terms of understanding
and comfort level with nature
- Engage the participants by asking questions what caused that dark
color in the rock? look at that unique plant; can you feel that cool
breeze coming from the crevice? what is its source? etc.
- Listen to their responses elaborate only when a participant has
a direct question
- Hands and knees walk: assign participants to find one thing that
interests them then show and tell
- Ask participants to look for signs of animal life
- Have a period of quiet reflection, lying on one's back looking up
through the canopy; or sitting quietly with eyes closed
- Research subject
- Write outline appropriate for the time slot and the audience
- Set format for classroom lecture (power point, slide show, etc.)