It is a rainy Thursday here in San Francisco and I am excited to head up to the park tomorrow for a weekend with visitors, docents, park staff, and wildlife.
Ron M and I stayed late at Drakes last Sunday and had a ton of visitor contacts between 415p and 545p. I was stationed at the closure sign and at one point found myself giving an interpretive elephant seal talk to 30+ people. There were two sub-adult males about 35 feet away from me an I was able to give a 15-minute structured talk that was peppered with questions from engaged visitors of many ages.
This was an awesome experience and a great reminder to me about our purpose as docents. I felt like I did a reasonable job of creating connections between visitors and the park, but I was also humbled as I there is much that have to learn about the field of interpretation. While we have some incredible interpreters in our docent ranks, most of these folks have had training outside of the WWD program. Our current training does a good job of building knowledge of elephant seals and whales, however, I think that we have gaps around establishing knowledge about the audience and interpretive techniques. Carlo and I have begun discussions about training for next season, we will likely expand our training hours and will be including content aimed at growing interpretive skills. 🙂
For those of you that are interested, here is a free online class called “Foundations of Interpretation”. It is offered by a group that partners with the National Park Service. There are also a ton of books on this topic that a simple search will reveal.
Image by Peggy McCutcheon