As technology has changed around us, it has created a tremendous opportunity for interpretation.
Brad Krey, Interpretation and Education Programs Manager for California State Parks, joins the Park Leaders Show to discuss how California is using technology to take the park to kids.
One concern we have in parks is remaining relevant. People will protect what they care about. They will care about what they learn about. In order to stay relevant, we need to continue helping kids learn about parks, wildlife, and wild places.
California State Parks has used video streaming to bring the park directly into classrooms. One interpretive staff member uses video conferences to introduce students to park resources. The kids may be nowhere near the park, but they are giving a connection to the park. The video session is live and in real time, which allows students to ask questions.
Once kids are connected to the park through one of these video interpretive session, it may be years before it pays off. But a seed is planted.
California is leading the way in finding innovative solutions to tell stories. Brad Krey shares how any park can use distance learning to tell stories to kids all over the country. Long distance interpretation will help your park remain relevant now, and 20 years from now when today’s kids have families of their own.
Don’t limit your interpretation to pamphlets, signs, information boards, and in-person interpretive talks. Reach outside the boundaries of your park and help kids learn about the plants, animals, and even park rangers found in your park.
Often, on the Park Leaders Show, I ask people about their history with the outdoors and why they became a park ranger. One day, we will hear a park ranger tell the story of how an in-classroom interpretative video conference is what inspired him to become a park ranger.