Pre-Conference Workshops


Two-Day Sessions


Interpreter’s Road Show ’18

Monday-Tuesday

NAI’s Nature Center Directors and Administrators Section will be visiting the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Northlake Nature Center, newly opened Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, and Barataria Preserve. This professional development opportunity will explore how these organizations manage volunteers, programs, building and facility development, habitat restoration, funding, unique partnerships, creative new exhibits, and much more. Participants will have the time to network with their peers during meals and travel time between locations. This opportunity is open to all interpreters and provides a unique look at a variety of interpretive properties. 

All transportation, lunch both days, and dinner Monday night are included in this trip. This year there will be no separate overnight lodging during the trip. Participants should make sure they reserve lodging for Monday night as well at the Marriott.

Trip Leader: Brian Thill, Director of Education, South Carolina Aquarium
Cost: $290 
Maximum Number of Participants: 25
Meals: Monday/Tuesday boxed lunch, Monday dinner
Time: 8:00am–5:30pm 
Transportation provided.
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Cajun and Creole Country: Interpreting Living Cultures

Sunday–Monday (OVERNIGHT)

If you’ve ever wanted to immerse yourself in Cajun and Creole Country where fais-do-do and Zydeco, crawfish and gumbo, festivals, and joie de vivre are a genuine way of life, now’s your chance! Voted the “Happiest City in America,” Lafayette is home to French-speaking, hard-working, fun-loving multicultural Cajuns and Creoles. Forced here through exile and slavery, these people have carved out a life for themselves on South Louisiana’s prairies and bayous. For three centuries, they have kept alive many of the rich traditions their ancestors brought with them. 

During our overnight trip to Acadiana, “the heart of French Louisiana,” we’ll visit several sites including Vermilionville, a Cajun/Creole heritage and folklife park, Jean Lafitte’s Acadian Cultural Center (NPS), and St. Martinville’s African-American Museum and Museum of the Acadian Memorial. Tickle your taste buds with fabulous food, then dance your cares away to live music after locals teach you traditional dances and help you understand the complexities of interpreting living cultures. We’ll spend the night in restored historic Cajun cabins (all at least 125 years old!) that overlook the Bayou Teche in Breaux Bridge, “the Crawfish Capital of the World.” 

Following a day and a half of cultural immersion in a world completely different from New Orleans, we’ll analyze what we’ve experienced and discuss ways we can use what we’ve learned to work with other living cultures to improve our own interpretive skills and programs. We’ll return to New Orleans on Monday evening where you’ll have a full day to explore the many historic sites and attractions of the “Big Easy” on your own before NAI’s opening reception. Get ready to “two-step back in time” with the CHI team led by Dr. Elista Istre, a Cajun/Creole author and historical consultant. 

Presenters: Dr. Elista Istre, Founder, Belle Heritage, Director, NAI Cultural and Historical Interpretation Section; Jake Koch, Kendra Moor, and John C.F. Luzader
Cost: $375
Maximum Number of Participants: 27
Meals: Some meals included
Lodging: Shared cabins at Bayou Cabins
Time: 7:00am Sunday, November 25, to 4:30pm, Monday, November 26
Transportation provided.
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How the Brain Learns: Creating Unforgettable Programs through Informed Neuroscience

Monday–Tuesday

Want to get attention and improve retention? This highly interactive workshop will give you an opportunity to explore recent breakthroughs in neuroscience and apply them to create unforgettable programs. This workshop will provide basic background formal-learning theory and neuroscience that can form a basis for further explorations and study by field interpreters. The instructors will provide additional context to areas outside traditional interpretation (design thinking, instructional design, and marketing) that will help interpretive professionals to recognize the transferability and potential profitability of the skills they have developed in the profession.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Understand at least seven different components of brain-based learning theory.
  • Identify at least five ways they can improve their interpretation through of brain-based learning.
  • Name at least three strategies they will use to determine if these strategies have effectively improved their programs.

Presenter: Ian Singer, Founder, Intelligent Play 
Cost: $190
Maximum Number of Participants: 25
Meals: Coffee break and lunch included
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm

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Creating Stories that Make a Difference: Interpretive Writing Workshop

Monday–Tuesday

Interpretive writing is one of the toughest types of writing to do well. At its best, it paints memorable images and ideas that connect on profound and emotional levels with the reader, precipitating changes in beliefs and behavior. At its worst, it alienates the very people we are trying to engage.

You can create writing that moves readers, changes hearts and minds, and communicates effectively. In this highly interactive workshop, discover how to weave what you know into writing that inspires, intrigues, delights, and educates.  

Participants will better understand the importance of story and how to use elements of story to create powerful, effective interpretive programs. Their writing skills (from concept through proofreading) will improve, and they will be more confidence in their ability to write effectively to accomplish interpretive goals and objectives.

Presenter: Judy Fort Brenneman, Owner, Greenfire Creative, LLC
Cost: $195 
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Meals: Coffee break and lunch included
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm
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One-Day Sessions

Time for an Interpretive REMIX in Higher Education: NAI has NEW Interpretive Standards & Our Universities Have OLD Interpretive Courses & Curriculum—We Can Fix That!

Monday, November 26

We’re calling all academics, and those who partner with academics, to come to New Orleans ahead of time for a day of mapping assets, assessing needs, visioning the future, outlining plans and strategies, and building collaborations. Amid enrollment declines and budget crises in higher education, and shifting hiring priorities in agencies and organizations, we must ensure our continued relevance. If we build upon NAI’s new interpretive standards, outlining strategies to ensure that university courses and curriculum equip students to meet these standards at the entry, intermediate, and advanced levels, we’ll produce NextGen interpreters who will lead the profession into the future.

Through a process of facilitated dialogue, brainstorming, asset mapping, goal and action step identification, prioritization, and timeline development—we’ll emerge with the beginnings of a “do-list.” That is, we’ll specify who’s going to do what, by what time, using what resources. We’ll discuss what’s “great and good” in interpretation in higher education. We’ll examine where we fall short, and what it would take for us to fully address 21st-century needs and opportunities. We’ll map out a long-term vision and identify some of the steps required to get there. We’ll continue the conversation during the workshop, e.g., in a concurrent session or during our College & University Academics (CUA) Section meeting. And CUA will keep these efforts moving forward during the intervening months. 

Presenters: Dr. Chay Runnels, Associate Professor, Hospitality Administration; Philip Smartt, Brian Forist, Tom Mullin, Brenda Lackey, Jay Miller, Theresa Coble, Timothy Makubuya, Phyllis Balcerzak
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm
Cost: $98
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Meals: Coffee break and lunch included
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Improve Understanding, Build Hope and Empower Visitors to Act on Climate! 
A NNOCCI Introductory Workshop 

Tuesday, November 27

The public trusts informal science centers and so the desire to use our positions to help the country move forward with productive climate solutions is high. But it can be nerve-wracking to engage the public and many institutions aren’t sure where to start. With a team of social scientists, communications strategists, climate scientists, and nonformal educators, we’ve designed an evidence-based approach to climate change communication that empowers educators and visitors as active citizens. Our workshop will teach the basics of our methods, give you examples from peer institutions, and help you practice your new skills.

At the end of the one-day workshop, participants will understand why we need to change the ways we talk about climate change and how to “frame” a climate change story with values, explanatory metaphors and solutions, while maintaining a neutral tone. They will also understand the shared mission of the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change interpretation or NNOCCI. Participants will also learn or review basic climate science principles as outlined in the latest US climate assessment. 

Presenters: Julian Chavez, Director of Science Labs, Discovery Place; Steve Gerkin, Programs Coordinator, North Carolina Zoo
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm
Cost: $98
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Meals: Coffee breaks and lunch included 
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Planning the Future: Visitor Experience Mapping

Tuesday, November 27

Taking a modern technique from user experience design (technology), this workshop will introduce participants to visitor experience mapping—what it is, why engaging in it is valuable to garden settings, its applications, and how results can be used to drive visitor outcomes and accomplish a site mission. 

In the experience business, there are many different ways to evaluate a program or product, typically involving a survey instrument, specialized knowledge, and often a lot of time before analysis, results, and recommendations. Evaluation has value, especially in demonstrating growth from a benchmark or in providing feedback around a specific issue.

Visitor experience mapping takes a different approach to evaluation in part because it’s introspective and provides the opportunity to engage all staff and visitors resulting in multiple points of view and a unique perspective to build from. Visitor experience mapping can be used at an entire site or for a single exhibit and has the potential to bring increased value to ensuring a well-thought-out and reviewed experience from entry to exit and beyond.

Have you ever wondered how you might better define and refine the visitor experience at your site? Or wanted a tool that engages your entire team and visitors to allow them to work together effectively to identify opportunities for improvement? Come and join us for an interactive presentation of visitor experience mapping—a tool adapted from the consumer business industry to provide benefit and insights for visitor-driven sites.

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, participate in a hands-on activity, and discuss using visitor experience mapping tools, and will be given access to an e-toolkit to take back to their sites.

Presenter: Chuck Lennox, Owner, Lennox Insites, LLC
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm
Cost: $100
Maximum Number of Participants: 20
Meals: Coffee break and lunch included
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Evaluation for Results

Tuesday, November 27

We gather data and evaluate programs and exhibits, but frequently we are frustrated by what we do not learn. What happened with our good intentions? This session will help you clearly identify what you really want to know and then develop questions to gather that information. Compare different types of instrument to collect data and different types of questions for different purposes. Experiment with your ability to measure soft skills in hard data. This is not designed to be a statistical course in evaluation, but rather a way of doing beyond “yes,” “no,” and “liked” to getting meaningful information that can inform program practices. 

At the end of the course participants will walk away feeling confident in verbalizing what they really want to evaluate, learn how to write evaluation questions that gather the information they really want to know, and create evaluating data for meaningful results. 

Presenter: Karin Hostetter, Writer/Trainer, Interpret This
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm
Cost: $110
Maximum Number of Participants: 30
Meals: Coffee break and lunch included
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Coaching Interpreters Refresher Workshop

Tuesday, November 27

Are you interested in learning more about how to coach your volunteers and staff? Have you attended NAI’s Coaching Interpreters Workshop? Do you want advice and inspiration of how a coaching program might be developed site-wide? Now that you’ve returned to your workplace and tried it, do you find yourself wishing you could spend more time practicing and learning from others? If so, this workshop is for you!

Come join us for a session that will reengage and further refine your skills in coaching interpreters. Learn from other sites how they are implementing this program. Share successes and hurdles. Brainstorm with your peers. Observe a coaching demonstration. Practice your coaching skills in a supportive environment in a coach-the-coach activity.

Individuals who have not attended the NAI workshop are welcome to attend by participating in a Coaching 101 Basics during the first part of day.
 
Presenters: Margaret Styles, Repath Coaching; Emily Jacobs, NAI Certification and Training Program Manager
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm 
Cost: $108
Maximum Number of Participants: 20
Meals: Coffee break and lunch included
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Keep that Cutting Edge: Illuminating Interpretive Facilitation 

Tuesday, November 27

The Cutting Edge pre-conference workshop is designed to provide interpretive trainers a venue for new ideas, best practices, methods, and techniques used in the Certified Interpretive Guide course. Whether you are a new trainer looking to help illuminate interpretation for students or an experienced trainer seeking fresh ways to enhance and brighten up your course design, we’ve got the sparks for you! Join this workshop and together we will highlight activities and lesson plans/course agendas. Open to all CIG instructors.

Facilitators: Sarah Keating and Robin Gabe, Arkansas State Parks
Time: 8:30am–4:00pm 
Cost: $55
Maximum Number of Participants: 20
Meals: Coffee break and lunch included
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2018 NAI National Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana

November 27 – December 1

Lodging

New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street
Book a room in NAI's room block.

Single/Double $149 (plus taxes)
Triple – add $25
Quad – add $50

Interested in Sponsorships or Advertising?

Contact NAI Events Manager Michele Farmer at mfarmer@interpnet.com or 970-484-8283 x805.

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