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Fulfilling the NPS Mission 101
Informal Visitor Contacts 102
Interpretive Talk 103
Conducted Activity 210
Interpretive Demonstration 220
Interpretive Writing 230
Curriculum-based Program 270
Planning Park Interpretation 310
Interpretive Media Development 311
Leaning Interpreters 330
Interpretive Research
Other Developmental Competencies


Planning Park Interpretation Curriculum-based Program Interpretive Writing Interp. Demonstration Conducted Activity Interpretive Talk Informal Visitor Contacts Fulfilling NPS Mission IDP Homepage Interp. Media Development Leading Interpreters Interp. Research Interpretive Writing Curriculum-based Program Planning Park Interpretation Interp. Media Development Leading Interpreters Interpretive Research Interp. Demonstration Conducted Activity Interpretive Talk Informal Visitor Contacts Fulfilling NPS Mission IDP Homepage





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Component for Module 210

Resource Immersion

Content Outline | Resources | Suggested Developmental Activities | Next

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. (NPS Photo)

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 able to:

  • Identify specific strategies for his/her own immersion in the resource;

  • Provide an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the resource and discover a multitude of personally significant meanings and connections;

  • Address 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 here.

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.

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Content Outline

I. Resource immersion

A. Self

1. Explore what interests you have in the resource itself (use tangibles, intangibles, and universal concepts previously identified in Module 101)
2. Develop, over time, your own personal connections with the resource

a. What meanings apply
b. Become attuned to the seasonal changes in the resource(s)
c. How is your experience unique?
d. What about your experiences can be shared with a group?

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 resource
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 110)

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)

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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.

The 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 the audience.

Islands Under Siege: National Parks and the Politics of External Threats, Freemuth, John C., University Press of Kansas, 1991, pp. 1-36.

"The Interpreter's Toolbox" worksheet (Word format, 46KB; PDF format, 48KB)

210 Program Self-Assessment Worksheet (PDF, 70KB)

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Suggested Developmental Activities
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.
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Editor: STMA Training Manager Interpretation

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