Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NAI Certified Interpretive Guides
Last month, eleven intrepid interpreter trainees embarked on a week of intense instruction, practice and evaluation.  Their goal was to become Certified Interpretive Guides.  The training toward certification was provided by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) under contract with Normandeau Associates out of Gainesville.  The Florida Public Archaeology Network - Northeast Regional Center (FPAN-NE) and the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM-NERR) helped with training logistics and provided the Guana Reserve training facility.

NAI is a 25 year old international professional association of about 5000 members in 30 countries.  It's mission is to inspire "leadership and excellence to advance natural and cultural interpretation as a profession".  It does this by providing training and networking opportunities for heritage interpreters.  Its certification program is one of its services designed to advance the work of the profession.  More than 9000 people have been certified to date.  NAI offers certification is a number of professional categories including Certified Interpretive Guides and Hosts, Certified Heritage Interpreters, and Certified Interpretive Planners, Trainers and Managers.   (Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workbook by Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman Ph.D. NAI, 2010).  It's certifications are respected worldwide giving professional credentials to those who meet its standards.

Our eleven student interpreters were mostly folks from around Florida although one student traveled all the way from the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.  We had FPAN staff from four centers; Lighthouse, County, State Park and GTM-NERR staff; as well as one South Florida teacher.  We were a diverse and talented group with each individual contributing from his/her creative perspective.  Our coach/trainer, Pete Colverson from Normandeau Associates, an engaging man with a British accent, was an inspiring teacher and supportive coach. 

Classroom instruction


We had a wonderful mix of classroom instruction, collaborative study, and practical exercises. 

Test taking
We took a test, developed and gave a presentation and received a critique from students and our instructor.  The week was intense and a bit stressful.  Although we all had had some prior experience as interpreters, preparing and presenting in front of the instructor and a group of peers, was a bit daunting.  The presentations were fabulous with all of us entertained and learning something we didn't know before.  We made good friends, learned much and are all now, prospective Certified Interpretive Guides. Watch out heritage world, here we come! 

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Interpretive Guide, check out the NAI website at:

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