CIG Touch Of Nature Environmental Center November 2020

Certified Interpretive Guide Training Course

November 5-8, 2020
Touch of Nature Environmental Center
Southern Illinois University, 1206 Touch of Nature Road, Makanda, IL 62958
Instructor: Bob Carter
Registration Cost: $250 (Certification is an additional $150)

Touch of Nature Environmental Center and Southern Illinois University, in partnership with the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), is offering a training course for individuals in the field of Interpretation. It is designed for individuals who deliver interpretive programs or have contact with the public at interpretive sites.

Touch of Nature Environmental Center, one of the “crown jewels of the Southern Illinois University system” has been a leader in experience based Outdoor Education, Therapeutic Recreation (it spawned the Special Olympics), Environmental Education (it is a National Environmental Education Landmark), Adventure, Wilderness Therapy, Challenge programs and Conferencing for nearly 70 years.  Legends like L.B. Sharp, Cliff Knapp, Harold Hungerford, Trudy Volk, Bill Freeberg, Tim Merriman, Margo Carlock and many others worked and studied here, and/or at the University and the surrounding protected lands such as Giant City State Park, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, our wilderness areas and the Shawnee National Forest. The facility has been providing interpretive programs and interpretation training for facilitators on the lands and waterways of Southern Illinois and beyond throughout its existence. For further information regarding Touch of Nature Environmental Center visit, call (618) 453 -1121, or e-mail

Course Options

There are two options for this course.

Option one: take the course without obtaining certification.   Option two: take the course and add certification as a Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG). You will pay an additional fee for certification and you must complete an open book Core Literature Review exam. The CIG lasts four years and comes with a complimentary one year membership. If you are already a member of NAI we will add your complimentary membership onto the end of your current membership.

The CIG Program

The nationally recognized Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) program is designed for anyone in the interpretive field. Whether you’re a new hire, a professional looking to refresh your skills, or beginning a second career, this course will aid you in improving your presentation techniques. The course combines the theoretical foundations of the profession with practical strategies in delivering quality interpretive programming to visitors.

This 32-hour course includes:

  • The history, definition, and principles of interpretation.
  • Techniques on how to make your programs purposeful, enjoyable, relevant, organized, and thematic.
  • How to use tangible objects to connect your audience to intangible ideas and universal concepts.
  • The 3 certification requirements needed to obtain a CIG (open book CORE Literature Review exam, program outline, and 10 minute interpretive presentation).

Texts Used in the Workshop

During this course, the books on interpretation listed below will be mentioned and some of their ideas explored. They are what the open book Core Literature Review exam covers and are useful texts for any interpreter to read. You are not required to purchase these texts for the course and a loaner set of these books will be provided by your instructor during the class for those who choose to add certification. If you would like to buy your own set for use during the class or for your own library, you can order them from NAI’s online store as individual books or as a package and listed under “Core Review Library Package”.  Click here to go to the NAI Store. 

Member Discount: Those choosing to apply for certification will receive a complimentary one year membership to NAI. Memberships will become active within a couple of days of registration and will allow you to purchase course books and other registrations at the discounted member rate. Once memberships become active, you will receive a receipt via email letting you know that you are all setup. Current NAI members will receive a one year extension on their current membership. If you are registering for $0, your membership will become active when you are certified.

 The texts are:

  • Interpreting Our Heritage, by Freeman Tilden (4th Edition, U. of North Carolina Press, 2007)
  • The Gifts of Interpretation, by Larry Beck and Ted Cable (Sagamore Publishing, 2011)
  • Personal Interpretation: Connecting Your Audience to Heritage Resources, by Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman (National Association for Interpretation, 2015)
  • Interpretation: Making a Difference on Purpose, by Sam H. Ham (Fulcrum, 2013)


Participants in this CIG training have the option of staying on site for the duration of the workshop. For onsite lodging and meals pricing and information visit  For questions call (618) 453-1121 or e-mail


Bob Carter is a professional educator with 35 years of experience as a Heritage Interpreter and as an Outdoor and Environmental Educator.  He was on the faculty in the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology, and Foundations at Northern Illinois University for 22 years where he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in education, interpretation, and museum studies.

Further Information

For more information about the course, please contact Bob Cater at or call (815) 238-7930.

Special Terms and Cancellations

Cancellations and transfers must be made in writing and emailed, postmarked, or faxed by October 18, 2020. A nonrefundable processing fee of $50 will be assessed. Emailed cancellations and transfers should be sent to Cancellations and transfers cannot be made by phone.

No transfers or refunds will be given after October 18, 2020.

11/5/2020 - 11/8/2020
Touch Of Nature Environmental Center Southern Illinois University 1206 Touch Of Nature Road Makanda, IL 62958 UNITED STATES

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Thursday, 05 November 2020

Select this option to add an application for CIG certification. A one-year complimentary membership is included.
11/5/2020 - 11/8/2020