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The National Association for Interpretation (NAI)
My hat is tipped to the widespread team(s) of nature educators and interpreters who work in clubs, parks, homes, schools...and wherever eager children and adults explore the wild world around them!
The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is a professional association dedicated to the advancement of the profession of interpretation with an emphasis on professional development and certification. The craft of interpretation is often characterized by on-site informal education programs at parks, monuments, zoos, nature centers, historic sites, museums and aquaria. Such programs and activities are often referred to as "natural interpretation", "cultural interpretation", "resource interpretation", or "heritage interpretation". Our mission is inspiring leadership and excellence to advance heritage interpretation as a profession.
What Is Interpretation?
Interpretation of natural and cultural heritage is probably as old as the human species. The shaman, storytellers, and elders of tribal groups carried the oral history of their people from generation to generation. Before books and modern methods of recording stories, these oral traditions were key to the survival and evolution of heritage and cultures.
In the modern context, interpretation is the term used to describe communication activities (such as environmental education) designed to improve understanding at parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, historic sites, cruise companies, tour companies and aquariums. The definition provided by the National Association for Interpretation is: "Interpretation is a communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in the resource."
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