component articulates the value of close coordination
management. The component provides tools for establishing
mutual understanding and
effective coordination between the two functions.
the completion of this component the learner will be
the shared mission of resource management and interpretation;
strategies by which interpretation can coordinate
work with resource management;
Access information generated by and work with resource
managers and other subject matter experts.
content of this component is intended primarily for
NPS interpreters. Many who do resource management work
have the title, resource manager-others do
not. Resource management can be described as any work
directed at the preservation and conservation of the
tangible resource. Scientists, historians, curators,
maintenance, law enforcement, and interpreters often
play a resource management role.
goals and objectives of both resource management and
interpretation are more fully realized when there is
a cooperative relationship between the two. When the
disciplines understand each other and work together
preservation and protection can be synthesized and the
effectiveness of each profession compounded.
and resource managers generally share an immediate experience
in and love for the resource. Both also function to
protect the resource. Resource management does much
of the work that cares for the resource while interpretation
facilitates audiences' care about the resource. The
degree to which the public cares about the resource
determines the success of and level of support for efforts
to care for the resource.
Liaison occurs on both the division as well as the individual
level. Successful coordination between the functions
requires mutual understanding of mission, expertise,
Resource liaison is a role interpreters assume in relation
to resource managers and other subject matter experts
with the objective of effectively protecting the resource
through the coordinated efforts and combined abilities
of both interpretation and resource management. (Note:
for this component, the words "resource management"
will signify work with natural as well as cultural and
All full performance interpreters understand and function
in this role.
Why resource liaison.
The effectiveness of both resource management and interpretation
is enhanced by an ongoing cooperative relationship that
shares interest in information and knowledge and all
efforts that promote care about and care for the resource
All full performance interpreters should be aware of
the most recent and accurate information and be able
to use it appropriately and interpretively.
Resource management and interpretation bring complementary
skills to a relationship that benefits both professions
and, most important, the resource.
Provides expertise and access to accurate, in-depth,
and current resource information.
Resource managers are typically authorities
on the history and current status of the resource.
(2) Resource managers are usually involved in
the most current and ongoing resource projects.
(3) Resource managers' own experience is a valuable
resource for information and insight.
(4) Resource managers can provide direction
and guidance for finding additional research
resources and access to researchers and scholars.
Provides access to rich interpretive resources.
Audiences who observe the work and understand the
process of ongoing research, preservation, or restoration
projects are often better able to make intellectual
and emotional connections to the meanings of the
Provides accurate and in-depth understanding of
critical resource issues.
Current threats to the resource
(2) Potential threats to the resource
(3) Actual and potential actions to alleviate
threats to the resource
Provides a check on efforts, programs, and activities
initiated by management, interpretation, maintenance,
and other divisions that may be inappropriate
and affect the resource adversely. Resource management
has a specific responsibility to maintain the
resource's physical integrity and accurate story.
Recognizes and supports interpretive efforts that
sustain both the preservation and audience enjoyment
For park management
(2) For the public
Provides an awareness of audience needs, interests,
motivation, and relevance.
b) Provokes audiences to care more about the resource
so they may also come to care for the resource (
i.e. not feeding wildlife, reporting found artifacts)
and support resource management efforts that care
for the resource.
c) Interprets critical resource issues to the public.
(See Draft Module: Interpreting Critical Resource Issues).
Elevates public awareness
(2) Articulates reasons for preservation actions
in the context of respectfully presenting multiple
points of view.
(3) Facilitates appropriate in-park and out-of-park
Describes the work and value of resource management.
e) Recognizes and supports resource management
efforts to sustain the preservation mission.
For park management
(2) For the public
Mutual support and coordinated efforts between resource
management and interpretation helps dissolve the often-perceived
conflict between preservation and enjoyment missions.
Public support plays a vital role in preservation
Parks are created and managed as an expression
of societal values.
b) Resource management actions are/can be controversial.
c) Understanding audience needs, interests, and
relevance is critical for the support and the
work of preservation and a key consideration for
both interpretation and resource management.
Much of the public will support resource restrictions,
or at least understand the reasons for such restrictions,
if it is clear such restrictions will result in
quality visitor experience and resource protection.
Resource managers and interpreters possess passion
and care for resource.
2. Resource managers and interpreters often share
similar significant life experiences.
Some type of resource immersion early and throughout
b) Education background in relevant subject area
Resource managers and interpreters both serve a protection
and an education function.
Resource management works to care for the resource
and help others experience and connect intellectually
b) Interpretation facilitates experiences and connections
to provoke care about the resource which is necessary
Establish common understandings
Respect and recognize resource managers areas of expertise.
(Note: Likewise, resource managers can most effectively
establish positive relationships with interpreters
that benefit the resource by recognizing and respecting
their areas of expertise.)
Whenever possible, interpreters should know something
about the discipline and specific subject before
they approach any specialist or expert.
A resource manager's time is not well used by
teaching individual interpreters very basic
(2) Preparation is a gesture of respect and
recognition of professionalism.
(3) Prepare a list to generate discussion with
the researcher as to what they would like to
see interpretation do for further understanding
and support of the research.
(4) Speaking the language and concepts relevant
to the subject provides the most efficient communication
If they know little about a subject area, interpreters
should feel free to approach resource managers
and/or other interpreters for guidance on how
they might learn more.
Provide resource mangers with primary parkwide interpretive
themes and demonstrate how those themes are designed
to communicate resource significance and meanings.
3. Seek to attend appropriate resource management
training and meetings and invite resource managers
to attend appropriate interpretive training and
meetings. The value of understanding both immediate
issues and operations as well as building relationships
should not be underestimated.
4. Invite resource managers to provide regular issue
and foundational training to interpretive staffs.
Offer to provide the same to resource managers.
5. Ask resource managers to participate in interpretive
planning and interpretive media planning as active
participants, not just reviewers.
6. Develop training that combines resource management
and interpretation in both planning and presentation.
7. Invite resource managers to make regular briefings
to interpretive staffs on resource management projects
and issues. Offer to provide the same to resource
8. Contribute to a resource management newsletter
or generate a briefing report after learning about
or experiencing a resource management project.
9. Request any resource management in-house or contracted
reports include a common-language executive summary.
Suggest what types of information would be most
relevant to the audience;
b) Help write the section;
c) Write the section per the approved review of
Suggest and pursue details, job-swaps, and job-shadowing
opportunities with resource managers.
11. Request reading lists and bibliographies dealing
with relevant resource issues from resource managers.
Offer to provide the same to resource managers.
12. Pursue opportunities to share projects and work
with resource managers.
13. Become a specialist on a particular resource
management issue. Share that expertise with other
14. Offer to create interpretive products that educate
staff and public audiences prior to the initiation
of resource management projects.
Accomplish the work
Advocate-Regardless of the size of operation, budget,
traditions, and personalities involved, advocate
and look for opportunities to advance collaborative
efforts between interpretation and resource management.
2. Planning and projects-All parks benefit by including
both resource management and interpretation in any
planning or project efforts.
Planning and implementation is most successful
when expertise and perspective are respected and
all participants and stakeholders are given a
b) Perspectives of both resource management and
interpretation allow for a case-by-case decision
making process in which both preservation and
audience enjoyment may be achieved
Solutions to preservation and interpretation
issues are often difficult to find and differ
widely from project to project. Policy directs
the NPS to preserve first and only when the
existing form of resource is inadequate for
understanding is restoration and reconstruction
considered. A cooperative and balanced relationship
between resource management and interpretation
is critical for the preservation of both the
tangible resource and access to its intangible
(2) Interpretation must recognize that consultation
with resource managers ensures interpretive
activities, restorations, and products do not
damage the resource and/or mislead the audience.
Resource managers must recognize that consultation
with interpreters can ensure that resource management
efforts do not deny emotional and intellectual
access and/or confuse the audience. The resource
is best served when two professions use the
expertise of the other to strengthen their own
Collaboration at both the planning and implementation
level allows for respectful, clear, and persuasive:
The process of preservation and its activities
provides opportunities for the audience to
make emotional and intellectual connections
with the meanings of the resource.
(b) Interpreting the process of preservation
provides opportunities to build support for
What interpreters should know about how resource management
has changed and ways it applies its professional disciplines.
Natural Resource Management in the NPS
Ecology-Natural resource management in the NPS has
been heavily influenced by the development of the
science of ecology.
The NPS attempts to manage the resource according
to ecologically sound principles.
b) The NPS has changed its position on, among
The elimination of predators;
(2) The level of threat of exotic species;
(3) The stocking of non-native fish in park
(4) Fire management.
(5) Wilderness Management
The knowledge and freedom to apply ecologically
sound principles varies on a site-by-site basis.
Science-based decision making- The following are
reasons the use of science for decision making is
often described as incompletely implemented due
Preservation and restoration goals of a resource
that sometimes conflict with research conclusions;
b) The perception that the public's primary concern
is for "charismatic" mega-fauna, scenery, and
not the more subtle and complex relationships
of an ecosystem;
c) The resulting lack of funding and organizational
d) Lack of baseline information.
Scientific objectivity-Natural resource management
in the NPS must continually balance its advocacy
role as protector of the resource (an expression
of values), with its use of science in an objective
Scientists may express suggested alternatives
for management approaches that are based on values,
b) Scientists must "separate value-based recommendations
from their factual, scientific analyses of alternative
future scenarios." (Dennis, John G.. "National
Park Service Management Policies for the National
Park System." The George Wright Forum, Volume
16, Number 3, 1999, 7-18.)
Sources-The following are especially valuable sources
for interpreters seeking to understand natural resource
management in the NPS.
Naturenet-Provides current policy, issues, publications,
descriptions of resource management projects and
activities, and more.
b) Park Science: Integrating Research and Resource
Management-provides articles and case studies
on research and resource management projects in
George Wright Forum - Journal of the George
d) Preserving Nature in the National Parks: a
History, Richard West Sellers, Yale University
Press, 1997-A landmark history on the use of science
in National Park Service management. The book
also includes valuable discussion of interpretation.
Cultural Resource Management in the NPS
Public desire for the "spectacular"-The NPS is effected
both positively and negatively by the public's perceived
desire for entertaining restoration.
When restorations are appropriate and accurately
rendered, the public's understanding of and attachment
to the resource is significantly enhanced.
b) Sometimes restorations destroy the subtle to
reconstruct the spectacular and or misrepresent
Social History-Cultural resource management in the
NPS has been affected by the developments in the
field of social history.
The NPS has increasingly devoted study and preservation
efforts to resources that represent the stories
of African Americans, woman, American Indians,
workers, immigrants and other under-represented
segments of society.
b) Congress (with the addition of sites like Manzanar
National Historic Site and Brown v Board of Education
National Historic Site), scholars, diverse audiences,
constituents, and stakeholders have increasingly
called on the NPS to tell different and sometimes
conflicting stories. Many of these audiences have
an intense desire to define their "truth" about
a given event.
Public History-The work of NPS cultural resource
management and interpretation at historic sites
falls in the realm of public history. The work of
public history often involves audiences' differing
perspectives on the "truth" of a historic description,
explanation, interpretation, restoration, or commemoration.
4. Study of collective memory-There is an increasing
amount of scholarship devoted to understanding how
and why societies and groups choose to remember
and commemorate some elements of their pasts and
not others. Cultural resource managers and interpreters
can benefit from a greater understanding of:
Audiences' pre-conceptions of history. (See: "Advanced Knowledge of Audience" component section on prior perspectives
on subject matter.)
b) How audiences evaluate and interpret the history
presented to them.
Partnerships and outreach-The NPS has increasingly
devoted assistance to states, nations, local organizations,
and individuals that seek to preserve aspects of
their own past.
6. Sources-The following are especially valuable
sources for interpreters seeking to understand cultural
resource management in the NPS.
Links to the Past-Website that provides current
policy, issues, publications, descriptions of
cultural resource management projects and activities,
b) CRM Magazine-The flagship publication for cultural
resource management programs that contains articles
on the full range of cultural resources management
and preservation topics.
Select a current resource issue and describe complementary
ways in which, under ideal circumstances, interpretation
and resource management might address the issue. Get
in depth to explore why there is often such controversy
behind some resource management actions.
2. Prepare a case study or incident analysis on a resource
issue from the past. What happened and why? Did resource
management and interpretation work together? If they
had, how might things have been different.
In consultation with your supervisor, implement one
personal or divisional strategy for coordinating with
4. Study the process used for a restoration or preservation
project and design ways in which the process might be
used to provide opportunities for potential audiences
to make intellectual and emotional connections to the
meanings and significance of the resource.
5. Volunteer and work with resource management or an
outside researcher on a research, restoration, or preservation
project. Bring your experience and information back
In consultation with your supervisor, determine who
within the park is involved in resource management and
on what levels. Meet with them to discuss how resource
issues are identified and work to develop a system where
ideas are exchanged on a regular basis.
7. Create an in-park newsletter or email to keep others
up to date on resource management and interpretation
issues and projects.
8. Create an audience-participation program (like pulling
exotics or planting natives) to involve visitors in
the real work of resource management.
9. In consultation with your supervisor, help form an
interdivisional team from maintenance, resource management,
cultural resource management, interpretation, and law
enforcement to create more effective and multifaceted
solutions to issues.
Create a publication/exhibit, etc., which explains an
issue in depth and explains NPS response/policy/actions.
Collaborate with a park resource manager or researcher
to write an article for a local newspaper or your park's
newspaper that interprets a current resource management
or research project. Interview your collaborator about
the project. Then brainstorm together a list of audience-relevant
tangible-intangible links and universal concepts that
relate to the project. Develop two or three possible
themes from the ideas generated by this list. Write
a draft of the article and have your collaborator review
it and provide feedback. Continue working with your
collaborator through the final draft of the article.
Collaborate with someone in resource management to rework
an outdated exhibit or publication.
13. Evaluate existing non-personal services such as
park based curriculum guides. Is it feasible to update
materials with information on resource management projects
Ask a researcher or resource manager to review your
interpretive program for accuracy and additional comments.
15. Keep track of the resource management success stories
at your park. Network with other interpretive rangers
in your region to generate a newsletter/web site aimed
at the general public.
Include the following objective in your program outline:
60% of visitors will know the objectives of resource
management in general or your specific topic (this objective
is included in the Natural Resource Challenge).