This component builds on the knowledge of the resource
and skills gained in Module
103--Preparing and Presenting an Effective Interpretive
Talk. In conducted activities, that general knowledge
about park resources is applied to the concept
of immersion in the resources. This approach
demands developing subject matter expertise and deep
familiarity with the physical resource. It also involves
a more sophisticated application of interpretive techniques
to engage and involve visitors on a more personal level
with the resources and resource meanings.
Upon completion of this component the learner will be
specific strategies for his/her own immersion
in the resource;
an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves
in the resource and discover a multitude
of personally significant meanings and connections;
multiple points of view and divergent opinions
with confidence and sensitivity.
Resource immersion is in-depth exposure to the
multiple meanings associated with a resource.
It is an effort to experience and comprehend as
many facets as possible and to forge lasting personal
connections with the resource.
For the interpreter, resource immersion is enhanced
knowledge and understanding of the resource achieved
through research, mentors, time spent in the resource
experiencing facets and nuances normally unseen,
and considering and respecting other points of
view and perspectives. For the interpreter, personal
immersion in the resource is critical to build
trust and establish credibility with a group.
Concepts in Module
101: The Process of Interpretation: Fulfilling
the NPS Mission underpin the principles described
For the visitor, resource immersion may lead to
personal moments of revelation (the "ah ha" experience).
Conducted activities can provide a catalyst for
the visitor to develop a stewardship ethic. They
encourage discovery, processing, and reflection
on issues. A high degree of visitor involvement
with the resource (immersion) leads to personal
satisfaction and enhanced learning by doing, investigating,
and thinking about the connection of the resources
to intangible meanings. The interpreter is responsible
for preparing the group and facilitating the process.
1. Explore what interests you have in the resource
itself (use tangibles, intangibles, and universal
concepts previously identified in Module
2. Develop, over time, your own personal connections
with the resource
a. What meanings apply
b. Become attuned to the seasonal changes in the
c. How is your experience unique?
d. What about your experiences can be shared with
3. Include immersion in the relevant literature, research,
reports, and other documents
4. Identify and/or develop mentors or individuals
who are immersed in the resource (NPS staff, volunteers,
park partners, researchers, scientists, and academic
experts). See Module 103.
5. Allow time for reflection, contemplation, and fermentation
B. The audience
1. Identify current levels of audience resource experience
a. Information base
b. Tangibles, intangibles, and universal concepts
2. Recognize and allow for different levels of immersion
a. The visitor is sovereign
b. Honor the "Visitor's Bill of Rights"
(see Module 101)
3. Identify the tangible, intangible, and universal
concepts that link visitors more closely with the
4. Move visitors through the resource to allow them
to discover and reflect upon multiple aspects and
points of view
II. Immersion issues and multiple meanings
A. Opportunity for enhanced interpretive outcomes
1. Widespread revelation
2. Divergent opinions
3. Provocative interpretive moments
4. Conflicting points of view (see Module
a. Present multiple viewpoints fairly and accurately
b. Explore a range of possible solutions or options
c. Provide outlets for further discussion
d. Keep discussions non-personal (see Module 101
and Module 111)
A Comparison of Visitor's and Interpreter's
Assessment of Conducted Interpretive Activities,
Journal of Interpretation 4(2):39-44.
Interpretation of Cultural and Natural Resources,
Knudson, Douglas M., Ted T. Cable, Larry Beck,
Venture Publishing, 1995, Chapter 6, pp. 154-165,
Chapter 12, pp. 319-328.
The Interpreter's Guidebook Techniques for Programs
and Presentations, Regnier, Kathleen, Michael
Gross, Ron Zimmerman, 1992, Chapter 5, "Creative
Techniques-Guided Imagery," pp. 54-56; Chapter
6, "Trail Techniques," pp. 65-74.
Interpreting the Environment, Sharpe, Grant
W., 2nd Ed., John Wiley and Sons, 1982, Chapter
8, "Conducted Activities," pp. 141-158.
Interpretive Process Model, National Park Service,
2002. The Interpretive Process Model provides a framework
for the development of interpretive programs and products.
It consists of a sequence of activities that guide an
interpreter to develop opportunities for their audiences
to make emotional and intellectual connections to the
meanings of the resource, as well as cohesively develop
an idea or ideas that are relevant to the resource and
Under Siege: National Parks and the Politics of
External Threats, Freemuth, John C., University
Press of Kansas, 1991, pp. 1-36.
1. Develop a personal resource immersion plan. Identify
the time and resources you need to become fully involved
with as many aspects of the resource as possible.
Discuss your plan with your coach, supervisor, or
mentor. This is an ongoing process, revisit your plan
regularly to review your progress.
2. Observe three different conducted activities (in
person or on videotape). Note whether the interpreter
attempted to facilitate resource immersion for the
group. If not, how could it be changed to succeed?
3. Make a list of the critical/controversial issues
in your park. Pick out an issue and identify how it
might be a starting point for planning/developing
a conducted activity. Discuss with your supervisor
how such an approach may or may not work at your site.
4. Use the In-Touch bulletin board or the World Wide
Web to network with other parks and related agencies.
Research controversial or critical issues included
others' conducted activities.
5. Work with a resource manager, researcher, curator,
experienced interpreter, or some other source material
expert to design a conducted activity with maximum
resource immersion and minimal resource impact.