Interpretation Update: "Riding the Wind" Conference
The National Park Service, Northeast Region's Interpretation and Education Workshop, "Riding the Wind" was held in Richmond, Virginia on March 19-22, 2001. Five students from Seven Pines Elementary School opened the conference and charmed the participants with highlights of their learning adventures through the use of "Parks as Classrooms". Muriel Branch, president of the Maggie L. Walker Historical Foundation followed with a reading of excerpts from Maggie L. Walker's speeches. Mrs. Walker once said "If you can read and write, you can do anything and go anywhere. You can ride the wind."
This was a fitting beginning to an extensive education workshop that included such topics as educational partnerships, distance learning, working with teachers, teaching in and out of the classroom, homeschooling, life-long learning, connecting stories, parks and people, national and state curriculum standards, grant writing and the NPS Web Education Initiative.
Not all the conference time was spent in workshops. On Tuesday afternoon participants attended ranger-guided tours of Richmond National Battlefield Park that provided a glimpse into the park's interpretation and education programs. Even though the weather did not exactly cooperate (it was cold and wet) the participants were inspired by the battlefields and their compelling stories. On Thursday participants toured the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, which commemorates the life of a progressive and talented African American woman. Mrs. Walker's love of education and children remind us that if you work hard you can realize your dreams. Park rangers interpreted this remarkable story of a 20th century role model, an American heroine who left a legacy of inspiration.
The workshop closed with the "Excellence in Interpretation" awards banquet. Marie Rust, Northeast Regional Director of the National Park Service, presented awards to volunteers and park service employees for outstanding service in the Northeast Region. Jim Gates, our Cold Harbor volunteer, was one of the recipients.