That’s a Wrap on the 2017 NAI Sunny Southeast Conference

By Whitney Wurzel

What a week it was! Thanks to all who participated in the 2017 National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Sunny Southeast Regional Workshop: Rooted in the Land. Hosted by Bernheim’s education team, the workshop highlighted Bullitt County and our surrounding region, and extended Bernheim’s actions beyond our borders and contributions to thought leadership in the field of interpretation.

Bernheim has long practiced meaningful interpretation, the art of forging emotional and intellectual connections between people and a place, in our mission of connecting people with nature. You might have experienced interpretation during a guided hike or interacting with a Volunteer Naturalist at an event.

Attendees included outdoor educators, naturalists, historians, writers and planners, employees and volunteers of nature centers, aquariums and zoos, public land management agencies, historic sites, museums, and more.  At the workshop, they participated in engaging sessions, lively discussions, and meaningful networking opportunities – including visits to natural and cultural attractions distinctive to the Bluegrass State.

Workshop sessions ranged in topic from learning additional methods for interpretation (like using sign language, using Facebook, two-way interpretation, interpretation for people with developmental disabilities and many more) to birds and trees to climate change. Presenters came from a variety of backgrounds and locations throughout the Southeast and beyond. Many of Bernheim’s Volunteer Naturalists presented some of the great topics you have experienced through our public programs here at Bernheim.  Keynote speaker, Martha Barnette, was a highlight. The Louisville native, who now calls San Diego home, is a noted linguist and host of the NPR show, A Way with Words. Her enthusiastic discussion of words, and their meanings and origins, encouraged interpreters to reconsider the power of language and how to hone it as a tool in making positive changes.  . . . . .

Participants were also able to get out and experience the beauty of Kentucky, through tours in Bourbon Country, a visit to Mammoth Cave and more. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to show off Bernheim, Bullitt County, and Kentucky for these enthusiastic workshop attendees. We look forward to seeing our friends – new and old – again soon.

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