Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop

June 16-19, 2014
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
3815 American Blvd East
Bloomington, MN 55425

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the National Association for Interpretation, is offering a professional certification course for individuals interested in enhancing their interpretive skills, knowledge and ability to deliver quality programming to a variety of audiences. This course is perfect for guides, educators, docents, volunteers, and many other presenters.

This 32-hour course includes:
  • Foundations of interpretation
  • Making your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic.
  • Programming emotional and intellectual ideas into presentations to connect audiences to the resource.
  • Tailoring programs for diverse audiences and various learning styles.  
  • Presentation and communication skills.
  • Interactive group activities, demonstrations, and individual sessions with instructors.
Requirements for the CIG Course
Anyone age 16 or over with a desire to increase their knowledge and skills related to interpretation may participate. Participants are required to an open book exam, write a program outline, and conduct a 10-minute interpretive presentation. Membership in NAI is not required, but NAI members may pay a discounted fee to participate in the program (See Costs below for details).

Course Instructors
The instructors, Mara Koenig and Cindy Samples, have over 30 years of experience in visitor services, training instruction, interpretation, curriculum development, and environmental education. They both work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mara is stationed at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington, MN and Cindy at Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge in Winona, MN. 

The Workshop Setting
Located in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is the largest urban refuge offering over 18,000 acres of solitude and plethora of wildlife experiences along the Minnesota River. Sessions will be held at the Refuge’s headquarters, the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Bloomington, MN.  This site is on the northern end of the refuge and offers spectacular bluff views of the Minnesota River Valley along with restored prairie and deciduous and floodplain forest habitats to explore. Sessions begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. daily.


There are few restaurants near Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Participants should bring their own lunch each day. Light snacks will be provided.

Travel and Lodging
The Refuge’s Bloomington Education and Visitor Center is located approximately 2 miles from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport with several accommodations in walking distance.

Interpretation Library
The course will have the interpretation library available to all students during the course. If you wish to purchase your own books, NAI offers a discounted package price of $98 (NAI members) or $115 (nonmembers) + $13 for shipping. Visit www.naimembers.com/store or call NAI at 888-900-8283, order the "CIG Certification Library" and have the books shipped to you now. We highly recommended reading the material in advance as it is a lot of material to cover and this will free up your evenings and allow you to focus more on class activities.

The texts used are:
Interpreting Our Heritage by Freeman Tilden;
Interpretation of Natural and Cultural Resources by Knudsen, Cable & Beck;
The Gifts of Interpretation by Beck & Cable;
Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Cornell;
Interpreting for Park Visitors by Bill Lewis.


Download the registration form here. Registration and payment must be received by June 13, 2014.

Further Information
For more information about the course, please contact Mara Koenig at mara_koenig@fws.gov or call 952/858-0710.

We look forward to treating you to a unique experience at Minnesota Valley!

Course Overview


Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
3815 American Blvd East
Bloomington, MN 55425


June 16-19, 2014


Download the registration form.


Mara Koenig