Presenter Schedule

Check out this year’s presenter schedule for the 2019 Spring Workshop below!


Session #1: Saturday April 6th 10:00AM – 10:50AM


Coming to Terms with the Uneasy Stories of Your Park

Presenter: Rosanna Petralia, California State parks – Mt. Tamalpais State Park

Location: Angelo Room

 Tilden emphasized the importance of telling the WHOLE story, yet we often select the parts of our history that are pleasant or of interest to us, giving our visitors an inaccurate view of the park.This interactive session is for those who would like deeper on how we can work with partners and cooperating associations to ensure the ENTIRE story of our park is being told. We will begin by examine the story of an iconic figure responsible for the conservation of Mt Tamalpais. We will explore how aspects of the story have been omitted from the interpretive narrative and ponder future solutions.


Water – California’s Liquid Gold

Presenter: Mike McGraw, Park Ranger U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Location: Eagle Room

 Water is California’s liquid gold, a magical substance that propelled the States early fortunes and its continual prosperity. From placer mining to almond ranching, water is intricately woven into the livelihood of the State’s residence. Join U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Park Ranger Mike McGraw for an interactive tale of water and life in California.


Venturing Into the Inaccessible

Presenter: JR Earnest, Park Ranger National Park Service – San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Location: Store Room

 In partnership with Virtual Photo Walks, rangers from San Francisco Maritime NHP will talk about their use of the zoom app to help bring their park to people who are isolated due to illness or disability. Using smartphones and video conferencing we are able to give immersive tours of our park’s resources. This presentation will focus on both the challenges and success we have had and will give you the tools necessary to bring this platform to your site. Feel free to join us in person or download the zoom app and join us virtually. (Link to come when date and time are confirmed.)


Session #2: Saturday April 6th 11:05AM – 11:55AM


Sea Fever: Women Sail Trainees and the Sunset of the Age of Sail

Presenter: Erin R. Conner, Park Guide National Park Service – San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Location: Angelo Room

 The 1930s were the last years of the Age of Sail. The tall ships that had carried the cargoes of the world were slowly being scrapped. Their beauty, and the adventures they promised beckoned young men—and a few women—to go to sea. Women faced unique obstacles in entering this essentially male world. I have assembled six case histories of women who managed to make a voyage using memoirs and newspaper articles, and have illustrated them with period photographs.


Your Park’s Story is Woven into the Stars; You only need to find the threads

Presenter: Marni Berendsen, Retired Astronomy Outdoor Educator – Mount Diablo Astronomical Society

Location: Store Room

 Is your park’s night sky graced with a tapestry of stars? With so many people in our region living in cities where they might only see a small handful of stars, your park can reveal the beauty and richness of the nighttime sky to them.

But do you wonder how to link your park’s story to the stars? This workshop gives you some tools and ideas to successfully collect the threads to weave your park’s story into that tapestry of stars.


Fishing Programs: A Tool to Develop Stewardship in Your Community

Presenter: Ethan Rotman

Location: Eagle Room

Fishing can be a fun filled activity that develop a sense of stewardship in the heart of participant’s. Fishing programs can also be used to gain wider community support (financial, political and volunteer) for your organization. Fishing is a popular activity with people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and cultures.

This session will explore the traditional origins of fishing as a recreational activity taught along patriarchal lines in rural settings to a popular, multigenerational, multicultural activity in high demand in urban areas. Fishing is an excellent tool for exploring a wide range of environmental and social concepts.


Session #3: Saturday April 6th 2:30PM – 3:50PM


Charting a Musical Course Through Interpretive Programming

Presenter: Kathryn Daskal, East Bay Regional Park District

Location: Store Room

 Music is a universal that can provoke emotion and common understanding, and songs can be a musical porthole or conduit to other cultures, peoples, and places, as primary historical records. Learn how you can use music and song to explore history, enrich your programming, and transport your audience.


 Mining the Gold of Your Volunteers

Presenter: Simone Mortan, Manager of Guide Programs – Monterey Bay Aquarium

Location: Eagle Room

 In this session you will learn how to motivate your volunteers and keep them growing towards self-actualization. Looking through lens of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs you can mine the wealth of experience and knowledge that is in your volunteer corps. By tapping into this gold mine of experience you can have your volunteers continue to grow while adding to your capacity to train your new volunteers. If you’ve ever struggled with not having enough training staff to lead your volunteer interpretive training then this session will help you mine the resources of your existing volunteers to expand your capacity.


 Interview Skills: Putting Your Best Foot Forward to Demonstrate You Are the Best Person for the Job!

Presenter: Anne Kassebaum, Chief of Interpretive and Recreation Services – East Bay Regional Park District

Location: Angelo Room

 A good interview isn’t impossible! Learn how to put your best foot forward to highlight your skills, answer questions clearly, calm your fears and think on your feet! You will also get tips on how best to complete a job application and write a resume.


Session #4: Saturday April 6th 4:05PM – 4:55PM


Mining for Meaning: Helping Your Audience Discover Gems of Relevance

Presenter: Jim Covel, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Location: Eagle Room

 Interpreters strive to make history, culture, nature–even contemporary events–meaningful for our audiences. We’ll dig into the process of shared meaning-making, how it works, and relate it to commonly used interpretive methods. Equipped with this new understanding, you can help your audience extract the gold to be found in your interpretive programs.


What’s In a Name

Presenter: Amber Rack, California Naturalist – California State Parks

Location: Store Room

 Words that we commonly use on an everyday basis are easy to take for granted. Until someone asks, “What does that mean?” This presentation originated as part of a series of short PowerPoint talks offered at Calaveras Big Trees. It consists of a 20-minute informational video about the origin and meaning of names frequently used in our area.


The Power of Partnerships: Building a Global Audience for K-12 Virtual Learning Adventures

Presenter: Jenny Comperda, Park Interpretive Specialist – California State Parks

Location: Store Room

 Embrace technology and take an innovative and inclusive approach to distance learning by bringing your resource to the classroom through online collaboration. Through virtual field trips, geographic and social barriers to participate in programs are essentially removed so students are able to interact directly with a knowledgeable guide and access your resource in a fun and real way. Learn how to find funding and pilot a successful program at your site, through a case study done at California State Parks in partnership with Save the Redwoods League that brought the giant sequoia into the hearts of 7500 students.


Session #5: Sunday April 7th 9:40AM – 11:00AM


 The Value of Photography in Preservation

Presenter: Amber Rack, California Naturalist – California State Parks

Location: Angelo Room

 Early photographers played an important role in preservation, and photographers today can do the same. Today, photographic technology is accessible to everyone. Preservation begins with appreciation; and a photography program was created at Calaveras Big Trees to help foster appreciation of the park. This presentation begins by highlighting the contributions to preservation by a few notable photographers in history, followed by a brief discussion of the photography program created at Big Trees. The second half of this program will take participants outside to practice with their phone cameras (or other camera), with tips for creating effective images.


Life as Leanna Donner and Other Strong Women

Presenter: Marie Malo, National Park Service

Location: Eagle Room

 The Mother Lode is filled with little known stories that can come to life for your visitors through Living History. Walk back in time to meet Leanna Donner App (of the Donner Party) and then learn the basics and fine points of doing exciting, challenging, and intimate Living History. Take a chance to try something new by looking into the past.


 Cross-Cutting with Culture: The intertwined relationships between cultural and natural history

Presenter: Sonja Gomez, Supervising Naturalist – East Bay Regional Park District

Location: Store Room

 The First Peoples shaped and nurtured the landscapes we now think of as wilderness. Their stories, traditional practices, and land management techniques teach us valuable lessons about the connection between people and place. This session will examine a case study in which a cultural revitalization project highlighted natural resource stewardship. From there, we’ll delve into considerations, tips, and ideas for bringing programs about Native cultures to your natural history site. Arguments will be made for how leading with cultural messaging will create more relevant programs, show respect to indigenous communities, and better meet conservation objectives.


Session #6: Sunday April 7th 11:15PM – 12:05PM


Volunteer Engagement vs. Management: A new approach to working with volunteers

Presenter: Jim Covel, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Location: Store Room

 We’ll look at emerging demographic trends in volunteers and characteristics of these new demographics. Then we’ll explore the new approach of volunteer engagement as opposed to traditional management and look at how that can be operationalized with our various volunteer programs. Engagement may well be the key to successful recruitment, retention and motivation for volunteer programs going into the future.


Opportunities for Behavioral Change

Presenter: Kevin Wright, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Location: Eagle Room

 During this session we will discuss how the Monterey Bay Aquarium security department uses an interpretive approach to dealing with each of their daily interactions. In doing so, officers feel more attached to the Aquarium mission and don’t feel burned out and frustrated in common calls for service.


Developing a Character Using Historical Facts

Presenter: Hazel Overturf

Location: Angelo Room

 We will explore ways to develop a well-rounded historical character for re-enactment presentations. The workshop presenter will use personal experience and storytelling from her own characters to illustrate techniques for making an engaging program.






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