ACS Distance Education UK
TECHNIQUES OF INTERPRETATION IN PARKS
Park interpretation can be provided in many different ways that can generally be divided up into personal and non personal services.
This is where a person from the park's staff is involved in explaining to, or demonstrating before visitors, some aspect of the park and its resources.
1. Information Duty. Providing a pleasant welcome to visitors (perhaps at the gate), and disseminating information (perhaps leaflets).
2. Conducted Activities. These are activities that are scheduled for a certain time, for example taking visitors on a guided tour.
3. The Interpretive Talk.
4. Living Interpretation Example: Re-enactment of a historic or natural event.
Where parks staff do not come into direct contact with visitors.
1. Audio Devices ‑Sound recordings, radio, etc.
2. Signs and Labels
3. Interpretive Publications (brochures. etc)
4. Self Guided Trails
5. Self Guided Auto Tours
6. Exhibits – these include dioramas, models, museum exhibits, etc.
7. Video or Slide presentations
8. Computer Services
Example: Choosing a question by pressing the appropriate button and generating an answer on a computer screen.
Factors influencing the type of interpretative technique
There are a number of factors which will influence your selection of interpretive techniques. These include:
· The visitor ‑ Visitor orientation, interaction, protection, visitor season, variety, culture or language spoken, etc.
· The resource ‑Type of resource, resource protection, site disruption, site development, etc.
· Other considerations - Cost, availability of facilities/equipment, proximity to subject, maintenance requirement, weather, competition (what else is in the vicinity), etc.
Good presentation skills
The aim of a good guided walk leader is to look calm, confident, and in control. Much will come from good preparation. Nevertheless, no matter how well-prepared a walk is, unexpected interruptions and questions always appear. As long as it looks and sound interesting it will be a success. People on guided walks want to learn something new and interesting so as long as they take away one new piece of information it is a success.
What are the features of a good guided walk?
- starts and finishes on time
- Well-organised and well-publicised
- Clear message/purpose
- tells you something you didn’t know
- Audible, visible, understandable leader
- Confident, friendly leader
- The leader used relevant props and talks about what you can see
- Takes account of the special needs of the audience.