Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It's All in the Interpretation

By Courtney Anderson

Interpret:  1. Explain the meaning of; 2. Conceive of the meaning of; 3. Represent by means or art or performance; 4. Orally translate for speakers of different languages

In science, an interpreter is a liaison between science and the public, educating on a myriad of subjects by making them exciting and enjoyable.

I have had the pleasure this summer of becoming a National Association for Interpreters (NAI) Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) through training at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. It was a rigorous one week program that led to many friendships. Everyone I met had bright eyes and was spewing with creativity, and the excitement in the room was tangible. We learned how to craft programs around topics that ranged far and wide - I had the pleasure of listening to a topic all about dung!  Then everyone waited patiently while I gave a talk about my specialty, algae.

Courtney leading  hike at HNWR during Spring Break.

The training was essential for my work every day at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. When I came back, I had a greater understanding of how to reach and entertain a variety of audiences. That was part of the motivation for planning the Hiking for Habitat program every third Saturday, now torpedoed by the flooding! The goal of this program was to educate about the different habitats we have here on the refuge, while being  out in nature. Habitats are dynamic, and ever changing; especially at Hagerman, which is managed in order to provide suitable areas for wildlife. I am still looking forward to leading some hikes at the Refuge once the trails are clear, so stay tuned!

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