Unlike most interpretive training programs, ours focuses on the development of management performance, so we do not view interpretive training as either isolated or stand-alone. We work with organizations more than individuals to help them build their ability to use interpretation as a management strategy. Like the rest of the PUP Consortium, we adhere to the PUP Training Principles (link to principles) that focus on development more than just trainings. Here are specific ways we differ from other programs.
Born in the 1990s with RARE Center for Tropical Conservation’s Nature Guide Training Program throughout Mesoamerica (Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico), it has evolved to a multi-stage process in 2006 with Fermata Inc. in south Texas, Costa Rica with the Costa Rican Bird Route, Bolivia with the US Department of State, and Colombia’s Otún Quimbaya Sanctuary with USAID and Colombian National Parks. Successive versions have become more holistic and integrated such as its work in El Cocuy National Park in Colombia in 2012 (USAID, OpEPA, SENA) and with Rios Tropicales rafting company in 2013. In late 2013 Jon Kohl integrated his work into the PUP Consortium’s Heritage Interpretive Development Program and began with participatory interpretive planning in Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Additional projects are being developed in Mexico, Colombia, and the United States (Fire Island National Seashore, New York).
Our expert team is bilingual in Spanish and English, all experienced in international development as well as interpretation, and work from a variety of countries.
For over 30 years Duane, a Canadian, has led Artcraft Display Graphics Inc. Under his tenure it became an internationally known designer and fabricator of interpretive exhibits and graphics. As an industry leading expert, Duane is contributing editor to Digital Graphics Magazine. Part of Duane’s commitment to social justice involves donating time and expertise to many non-profit causes including President of the Themed Attraction Association Canada, Founding Director of NAI International Interpretation, Associate of TEAM Tourism Consulting, Executive Member of the IGU Commission on UNESCO Geoparks, and advisor to the PUP Consortium.
For over 30 years Sam Ham, American, has been the leading scholar in heritage interpretation, integrating the fields of communications, psychology, and interpretation into what we now know today as thematic interpretation, popularized by his classic book, Environmental Interpretation, first published in 1992. The sequel, Interpretation — Making a Difference on Purpose came out in 2013. Ham is professor emeritus at the University of Idaho and works and consults throughout the world promoting interpretation and its application to protected area management.
Although Jon, an American and Costa Rican binational, practices interpretation principally within public use or tourism planning in heritage areas, he draws on a variety of experiences. He has worked as an interpretive writer, planner, guide trainer, educator, blogger (see below), and orator. He gives university courses and researches interpretation including participatory interpretive frameworks, role of interpretation in community development, and authenticity’s participation in shaping visitor experiences. He has practiced interpretation with the Smithsonian Institution Office of Environmental Awareness, National Museum of Natural History, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Costa Rican National Zoo (US Peace Corps), UNESCO World Heritage Center, University of Costa Rica/CATIE/ELAP, Legacy Magazine, Fermata, Inc., World Birding Center, US State Department, Ríos Tropicales, Costa Rican Bird Route, and INBio/ACROPOT national guide certification. He has led or participated in interpretive guide training in English and Spanish in Texas, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. He received his Masters in Environmental Management from Yale University and Bachelor’s from Dartmouth College.
Carlos, a Colombian, studied industrial design at the Javeriana University, but was certified as a professional tourism guide specialized in ecotourism, nature interpretation, and now has more than 18 years in outdoor education, operations, and delivery of educational and touristic excursions, as well as development of touristic products for educational, recreational, and school-based goals. Since 2008 he works as instructor in Corporation Clorofila Urbana’s Training Program for Guides and Environmental Educators. He also works with the Organization for Education and Environmental Protection as instructor in Outdoor Education and Community Strengthening Programs. With PUP, he participated in an interpretive guide training in Colombia 2010 and in 2012.
Ivonne is Honduran and has wide experience in protected areas management as area manager, government protected areas regional director, and non-profit advocate. Her deep interest in interpretation highlights her experience in public use management. She also led PUP’s most innovative interpretation training program to date, an eight-month, two-workshop approach to developing interpretation in national park personnel.
Marisol, a Costa Rican, combined biology and environmental education to specialize in curriculum materials development. She holds a Master’s in environmental education and interpretation from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and coordinated the University of Costa Rica Environmental Interpretation Program for six years. Now she pursues her doctorate at Kansas State University with Dr. Ted Cable, focusing on perception and authenticity.