the national website of Interpretation Canada

Keynotes and Sessions

Over 40 concurrent sessions to choose from and two keynotes!
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Chris Mathieson
Interpretation Canada (IC) 
Keynote, Monday May 4

Since moving from the bustling metropolis of Vancouver (population 2.5 Million) to the farming village of Keremeos (population 1,300) two years ago, Chris has begun exploring the feelings of loss many of us have around shared senses of community and how we, as interpreters, have a unique toolkit to make a difference in helping foster feelings of connection with each other and our surroundings. He will speak to us about the state of interpretation in Canada today with a focus on how our profession is helping build community and senses of identity.
At heart, Chris is a storyteller with a passion for the stories of people, places and objects, having spent the last fifteen years working in heritage interpretation—currently as the Operator / Manager of the Grist Mill and Gardens Provincial Historic Site in Keremeos, BC. Beginning as a front-line heritage interpreter (and blacksmith), he has since had the chance to interpret and educate on subjects as varied as heritage food skills, classical Chinese architecture, the history of brothels in Vancouver, and the modern rituals of death. 

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Stephen Espiner
Interpretation Network of New Zealand (INNZ)
Keynote, Wednesday May 6

Stephen Espiner is Senior Lecturer in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at Lincoln University. Stephen's current research interests focus on the human dimensions of protected natural area management, with particular reference to nature-based recreation and tourism and associated conservation, community, and visitor management issues. Key themes in his work include:
  • The use of natural resource settings for recreation and tourism, and implications for Protected Area management and local community development
  • Risk and resilience in nature-based tourism communities
  • Protected Areas, Tourism and Global Change
  • Tourism, People and Protected Areas
  • Recreational value conflicts, social impacts, risk perception, communication and influencing visitor behavior

INNZ will be a lead partner in the 2016 International Conference on Interpretation in New Zealand.

Monday 9:30 am
Interpretive Design: the Art of Seduction
Bill David Reynolds, Canada
Pull visitors deeper into experience. Grab their attention, set their mood of anticipation, reveal what’s under the covers with a caring immersion. Coaching, web weaving, salting and storymaking are exposed. Site departure goal: cherish and support emanates from visitors' pores.
Automne Room
Kids Have the Darnedest Observations: Part 1
Peter F. Salmon, Taylor Studios, Inc., United States of America
During this initial phase of a longer-term study, taped interviews with 3rd and 4th graders about their impressions of interpretive venues reveal some interesting insights about our assumptions. Ete Room
What Worries You in the Woods? An interactive study examining fears, suppositions, and our relationship with the environment
Randy S Smith, Sandy Creek Nature Center/Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services, United States of America
Philip Smartt, University of Tennessee - Martin, United States of America
Take part in an interactive survey to better understand fears and misunderstandings about the natural world. Share your ideas to become a better interpreter by addressing visitors' concerns that will help to remove barriers. Printemps Room
Interpretation, Revenues, and Working with the Travel Trade Industry
Gloria Keyes-Brady,  Parks Canada-Jasper National Park, Canada
Many organizations are being challenged to reach new audiences and generate new revenue. When should you consider adapting a program to make it work for the travel trade industry or others to buy? What are some program adaptations? Saisons A Room
Monday 10:45 am
Our Secret Formula for Saving Wildlife
Scott Killeen, Zoos Victoria, Australia
Discover the formula being used by Zoos Victoria to design a conservation-based visitor experience that's helping visitors make a tangible difference to wildlife and fight extinction. Automne Room
Conceptualization of Forest Welfare and Interpretive Program Development: of all classes of people at various stages of the life cycle
Kye-joong Cho, Sunchon National University, Republic of Korea
Based on the forest recreational activities the forest can meet universal needs and can be regarded as a provider of resources that improve multiple dimensions of life quality and fulfill the needs of all classes of people at various stages of the life cycle. Hiver Room
The Many Faces Behind the Mask of Authenticity
Marisol Mayorga, Kansas State University, United States of America
Ted T. Cable, Kansas State University, United States of America
Despite its potential to improve visitor experiences, authenticity has received little attention in the interpretation arena. Through international examples, this presentation explores the evolution and significance of the concept's many faces and how interpreters can apply it in the field. Printemps Room
Professional Development for Any Interpreter on Any Budget
Nicole Cann, Vancouver Aquarium, Canada
Professional development is an invaluable resource to both new and seasoned interpreters and yet it is frequently the first thing to be cut out of a budget. We will explore the many opportunities for professional development available for ANY budget. Saisons A Room
Bringing Impacts and Conservation Actions to 13 Billion People: zoo-based interpretation workshop in China
Hiu Yan Chan, Ocean Park Hong Kong, Hong Kong
The professional interpretation training demands in China are growing. In this presentation, you will learn what and how to communicate and share with Chinese educators, and the obstacles in interpretation for Chinese tourist that visit your facilities. Saisons B Room
Monday 11:30 am
Maximize your Limited Resources: interpretive programming by incorporating permaculture principles
Chrissy Begus, Calgary Zoo, Canada
We all know the challenge of operating with limited resources (posters, props, biofacts). Learn about permaculture principles to maximize your efficiency and improve your programming in this solution based session! Permaculture is one way to create a more sustainable world.  Automne Room
What is a Professional?
Philip Smartt, Ph.D., CIT, University of Tennessee at Martin, United States of America
Randy Smith, Sandy Creek Nature Center, United States of America
Does it bother you when people are late? Tattoos? Someone that is very laid back? Is there a common definition of what it means to be a professional? What role does cultural/generational differences play? Come and join the discussion! Ete Room
Outdoor Exhibits: Low on Overhead – High on Impact
Lyn Henley, Henley Company Design & Production, United States of America
Taking interpretive stories to the streets requires a succinct voice and sturdy implementation. Outdoor exhibits can be powerful, far-reaching, and cost-effective. Learn exhibit planning and design criteria, and work with other participants to create a sample project, in real time. Hiver Room
Learning from Stories: Introducing the Interpreter’s Big Book of Disasters
Cal Martin, Frog in the Pocket, Canada
André Laurin, Parks Canada, Prince Edward Island National Park, Canada
Interpretation Canada captured humourous and dramatic stories from experienced interpreters to help new staff learn from others’ mistakes. In this session, learn why storytelling is an effective training tool, hear some lessons from the book, and share your own stories. Printemps Room
Perspectives on Urban Environmental Education
Antoine André Gérard Pin, Groupe uni des éducateurs-naturalistes et professionnels en environnement - GUEPE, Canada
Urban population is ever growing as is its impact on the environment. As nature interpreters, it is our duty to try and reconnect urbanites with their environment. But how can it be done when nature first seems so absent? Saisons A Room
Visitor Experience Mapping: understanding the connections
Chuck F. Lennox, Cascade Interpretive Consulting LLC, United States of America
Jane M. Beattie, Heritage Interpretation. Visitor Experience Design. Sustainability, New Zealand
Visitor experience mapping is a valuable tool for understanding the interpretive experience from the visitor’s perspective. Find out how your visitors’ experience might be different than what you expected or desired. Let’s connect the dots! Saisons B Room
Monday 2:00 pm
Video Games in the Woods? Augmented Reality Games as an Interpretive Tool
Elizabeth Folta, State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, United States of America
Katie Mulverhill, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, United States of America
Jacqueline McCabe, State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, United States of America
Come and play with us as we explore augmented reality (AR) games. We will share our experiences of designing AR games for parks and show you how you can design your own free games. Plus, experience an AR game firsthand! Automne Room
• Our Shared Heritage: the Champlain Valley of New York, Vermont and Quebec
Jim Brangan, Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, United States of America
Erick Tichonuk, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, United States of America
Catherine Brooks, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, United States of America
The interpretation of the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Champlain Valley is carried out by various partners working together to overcome political and language barriers. Ete Room
Walking with words that work: An interpretive round trip
Michael Hamish Glen, QuiteWrite / Touchstone Heritage Management Consultants, United Kingdom
The Loch Leven heritage trail in Scotland uses informative, amusing and sometimes cryptic stanzas to highlight the natural and cultural history at the stops around the 12-mile walking and cycling route. It is a classic case of interpretation that works. Printemps Room
InterpreTEEN: how youth development programs produce agency benefits
Andy Bleckinger, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, United States of America
Join the discussion with a panel of MRCA staff, community partner, and the teens we are all hoping to reach. Hear how long term youth development programs are changing teenager’s lives and producing agency wide benefits. Saisons A Room
An Interpretive Master Plan for your Site: what is it, and why would you need one?
Will Husby, EcoLeaders Interpretation, Canada
Join veteran interpretive consultant Will Husby for a tour through his master planning process. Discover the steps he follows and how they can be applied to your site. Saisons B Room
Monday 3:15pm
Everglades Wilderness Writing Expedition
Sabrina Diaz, Everglades National Park, United States of America
Bryan Palacio, Everglades National Park, United States of America
The Everglades-Wilderness-Writing-Expedition is an exemplary program that transformed ten urban aspiring writers into Wilderness Ambassadors. By using this program model learn how to target new audiences, work with new partners, incorporate mass and social media and change lives and points-of-view! Automne Room
Development of a National Norm for Nature Guide Courses: result of a long and democratic process in Sweden
Per Sonnvik, Swedish Centre for Nature Interpretation, Sweden
The Swedish Center for Nature Interpretation (SCNI) has since 2008 worked towards having a national assessment system for nature guides. SCNI has together with educators of nature guides brought forth a norm for courses for nature guides. Ete Room
World Café
Amy Lethbridge, President, NAI, United States of America
Join NAI President Amy Lethbridge for a group conversation about interpretation worldwide. Hiver Room
True Confessions about Interpretive Master Planning: an interactive session
Maggie MacIntyre, Nova Scotia Museum, Canada
Christine Sykora, Nova Scotia Museum, Canada
David Foster Carter, Nova Scotia Museum, Canada
Creating an Interpretive Master Plan is one thing. Implementing it is another. Join Nova Scotia Museum’s interpretation team to explore the realities of using interpretive renewal to engage museum staff and increase museum’s relevance to the communities they serve. Printemps Room
Designing Interpretive Games
Jo Hughes, Manning Park Resort, Canada
People learn best by doing and everybody has a sense of play. Put those together and games are the best way to get your message across! Participants will play, learn and try designing their own interpretive games. Saisons B Room
Wednesday 10:30 am
Pocket Presentations: visual metaphors and one-minute interpretation
Ian Signer, Life Sciences Foundation, United States of America
What can you interpret if you only have a visitor for one minute? In this hands-on session, we will practice designing mini presentations that spark questions using tactile metaphors, and offer lessons learned from implementing this strategy in multiple locales. Ete Room
Quantifying Sparkle: evaluation standards for personal programs
Don Enright, Canada
Relying on public feedback is one of the great cop-outs of interpretation: the audience has no idea how much better it could be! An investigation into current standards and practices in personal programming evaluation by supervisors. Printemps Room
Strong Interpretive Message Writing: interpretive provocation starts with a powerful idea
Jon Kohl, PUP Global Heritage Consortium, United States of America
Despite Sam Ham’s assertions that interpretive messages should be strong, provocative, and revelatory, few write them this way. Most are descriptive or reveal nothing new. Kohl shares criteria for truly strong messages. Without strength, presentations sacrifice impact even before they begin. Saisons A Room
Show Me the Money: using currency in interpretation
Terry P. Trecartin, United States of America
Currency is everywhere! You will see different types of currency and currency collections. You will also learn about places that interpret currency and how you can use it in your programming no matter where you are. Saisons B Room
Wednesday 1:15 pm
#SharetheChair: a #RedChair Revolution for visitor engagement
Fred Sheppard, Parks Canada, Canada
When is a chair more than a chair? When it's Red, when it's in an unexpected location, when it engages visitors in a conversation, and invites them to relax and reflect on their journey. #SharetheChair and join the #RedChair Revolution! Printemps Room
Taking Red-Eye Pictures and Being Happy: a dialogic experiment in science interpretation
Michele Fontana, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
Can we interpret scientific ideas using visitors as a valuable source of information? While some interpretations of science resemble monologues, this interactive presentation explores with the audience a model for the interpretation of scientific ideas based on dialogue. Saisons A Room
Zoo Troop: our conservation education legacy
Courtney Ryan, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, United States of America
What do we want our professional legacy to be at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens? With this question in mind, we created Zoo Troop- a 14 year-long program that starts and sustains future conservationists. Saisons B Room
Wednesday 2:00 pm
Ready? Get your booklets, EXPLORE
Véronique Morin, Parks Canada, Canada
Parks Canada's Xplorer program has evolved over the years. It respects good interpretation practices, and offers diverse discovery experiences, activities that facilitate inclusion, and fond memories for families. Ete Room
ATE is Enough: ParticipATE, RelATE, CreATE, CommunicATE, StimulATE, EducATE, MotivATE
Michael P. Deren, The Past In Person-History and You!-Involved! Self-Employed, United States of America
Use your ATES! Join a fun, musical, creative, laughter filled session where the spotlight is on visitors. Foster and use visitor participation! CommunicATE, CreATE, ParticipATE, StimulATE, RelATE, MotivATE and EducATE to heighten and enhance visitor experiences with you. Printemps Room
Maximizing Park Access for Urban and Underserved Communities
Andy Bleckinger, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, United States of America
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is an agency that connects urban and underserved communities to their local parklands. Take a closer look at the barriers faced, and how to overcome these challenges. Saisons A Room
Using Common Senses: programmatic accessibility in exhibits
Charles F. Davis, AIA, EDX, Exhibit Planning and Design, United States of America
Lyn Henley, Henley Company Design and Production, United States of America
Daniel Quan, United States of America
In a lively, interactive format, this panel of exhibit designers will present the philosophy, strategies, and specific techniques of audio description, tactiles, and electronic media interactives to create exhibits that make exhibit content accessible to the broadest audience possible. Saisons B Room
Wednesday 3:15 pm
Rebooting the Interpretation Process: for the sake of being relevant
Denis Lavoie, l'Association québécoise des interprètes du patrimoine, Canada
Interpreters take into consideration demographic, technological and environmental changes, canvases all on which they paint their presentations and make representations to their audiences. The time is right to talk about the importance of interpretation. Automne Room
Bridge to Park Careers: forging connections
Marissa Llanes, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, United States of America
While many park agencies seek to address the lack of diversity in United States' Park Systems, a Los Angeles based park agency takes strides implementing a long-term plan to train diverse and qualified interpreters, propelling them into the field. Ete Room
Inspiring Visitors' Heads, Hearts and Hands: through inspiration-based interpretation
Jacqueline F Gilson, Parks Canada, Canada
Discover what 33 interpreters from 21 different agencies think about inspiration in interpretation. Results of a recently completed doctoral dissertation revealed 9 characteristics of inspiration and 10 factors to consider for inspiration-based interpretation. Add your voice to the dialogue. Saisons A Room
All sessions subject to change. This page will be updated as changes become known.