Call for Nominations!

NAI Sierra Pacific Awards Program Call for Nominations

Let’s celebrate our profession and recognize those making a difference in interpretation!  Please consider nominating someone (including yourself) whose work stands out. Do you know a colleague whose leadership, innovation, experimentation, or passion for social equity has inspired you? Please nominate them for one of the seven Region award categories. Head here for details on how to write and submit nominations. 

The Sierra Pacific Region offers one of each of the following professional awards per year: 

  1. Outstanding Interpretive Manager (formerly Master Interpretive Manager)
  2. Outstanding Public-Facing Interpreter (formerly Master Frontline Interpreter)
  3. Outstanding New Interpreter
  4. Outstanding Interpretive Volunteer
  5. Outstanding Retired Interpreter
  6. Excellence in Interpretive Support
  7. Meritorious Service (up to two per year)

Nominations must be completed and received by midnight on December 31, 2022, PST. Send nominations to

Cleveland Rocks – YOU Rock

Join your colleagues for some much-needed collaboration, inspiration, and networking at the 2022 NAI National Conference in Cleveland with support from a Sierra Pacific Region scholarship. The Region is providing two $1500 scholarships to cover registration and travel expenses; you do not need to be a member to apply but, if selected, must become a member in order to receive the funds. Applications are due by Friday, August 19th! Learn how to apply here.

Nominations sought for 2022 Awards

Now more than ever, let’s celebrate our profession by nominating someone whose work has blazed ‘The Path Forward’ in interpretation and education. Do you know someone whose leadership, innovation, experimentation, and passion for social justice have inspired you to do your best? See attached for details and requirements for submitting nominations.

Nominations have been extended to February 9th at 5 PM.

The awards will be presented at the Virtual Sierra Pacific Region 9 Workshop on March 12th.  For more information about the workshop and nomination details, head here.

NAI members and non-members may nominate candidates for Master Interpretive Manager, Outstanding Retired Interpreter, Master Front Line Interpreter, Outstanding New Interpreter, Outstanding Interpretive Volunteer, Excellence in Interpretive Support, and Meritorious Service. 

To learn more about the categories and how to nominate head to our Awards page here.

For more information, contact Co-Chairs Lou Salas Sian and Ashley Adams at

2022 Regional Workshop Scholarships

The 2022 Workshop is happening IN-PERSON this year! Check out scholarship opportunities here.

Nai National Conference Scholarship opportunity!

The NAI National Conference is coming back to California! Join your colleagues for some MUCH needed inspiration, collaboration, networking and professional growth with support from a Sierra Pacific Region scholarship. NAI 2021’s theme, “The Shifting Sands of Interpretation,” addresses not just the distinct, beautiful landscape of Palm Springs, but the many changes happening in our profession and the world at large. Sessions will highlight how interpreters are navigating the shifting sands, and what the future holds on the other side.

The Region is providing two $1500 scholarships to cover registration and travel expenses; you do not need to be a member to apply but, if selected, must become a member in order to receive the funds. Applications are due by Friday, August 20th—apply today!

Announcing The 2021 Awards Recipients!

A big thank you to everyone who nominated the deserving folks for this year’s NAI Sierra Pacific 2021 Professional Awards! Awards given this year include Outstanding New Interpreter, Meritorious Service, Outstanding Senior/Retired Interpreter, Master Frontline Interpreter, and Master Interpretive Manager. Check out all of the winners here! CONGRATS TO OUR 2021 AWARD RECIPIENTS!

Keynote Speaker Ranger Shelton Johnson

We are very pleased to announce that Shelton Johnson will be the Keynote Speaker for the upcoming Virtual Workshop!  

Mr. Johnson is a Yosemite National Park Ranger and known to many as the interpreter who brought stories of Buffalo Soldiers in the National Parks back from obscurity. He is an author, the star of Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Ideaand a tireless advocate for diversity and inclusion in parks and outdoor spaces.

Shelton  Johnson will speak on Monday, March 1 beginning at 6:00 PM. This keynote presentation is included with Workshop registration

For more about Shelton Johnson, continue reading the PBS biography of him below:

Shelton Johnson dreamed of mountains as a boy, living in inner city Detroit. He had never been to a mountain range in the United States and his only experiences with nature and wildlife came through television and movie screens.Enrolled in an MFA program at the University of Michigan, Shelton applied to be a seasonal worker at Yellowstone, thinking the park would provide a quiet place to work on his writing. “I got off a bus in Gardiner, Montana,” Shelton remembers, “right outside the north entrance….And as I was stepping down onto the ground, there was a bison – a 2,000-pound animal – walking by. There was no one else around and the bison was just strolling by! I looked up at the driver and I said, ‘Does this happen all the time?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘All the time.’ And I said to myself, ‘I have arrived.'” Shelton has been working in national parks ever since, spending time in Yellowstone, Great Basin, and as an interpreter at Fort Dupont Park in the Anacostia section of Washington, DC. There, he met students like himself and his friends who had grown up in Detroit – tough inner-city black kids whose understanding of nature was about as distant as Mars. “That’s when I first made the resolution that I had to figure out how to connect these kids with nature, to get them to have a nature experience.”
Shelton found his key for connecting with audiences after being transferred to Yosemite. Deep in the archives of the park, he stumbled across a faded photo of buffalo soldiers who had patrolled Yosemite at the turn of the 20th century. Since 1998, Shelton has told the story of the Buffalo Soldiers in the national parks – in print, on camera, and in person. He has traveled to public schools and spoken with kids throughout America. He has tracked down descendents of the soldiers, authored an award-winning website, and been lauded by civic groups and governments for his work. During evening programs and daytime ranger walks in Yosemite, he tells the story through the dramatic portrayal of a character he’s developed: Sergeant Elizy Boman.
All the while, Shelton has remained true to the reason he started this work. “I can’t forget that little black kid in Detroit,” he says. “And I can’t not think of the other kids, just like me – in Detroit, Oakland, Watts, Anacostia – today. How do I get them here? How do I let them know about the buffalo soldier history, to let them know that we, too, have a place here? How do I make that bridge, and make it shorter and stronger? Every time I go to work and put the uniform on, I think about them.

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Article Source: A Film by Ken Burns, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. (2009). PBS. Retrieved 2/6/21 from

Early Bird Registration Ends Soon!

Early bird registration ends on January 29th for the Sierra Pacific Region 2021 Workshop! We’d love to see you there! The workshop will be from March 1-4, 2021.

To learn more and to register go here.

Sierra Pacific Merch!

Our merch online store is up and open for business. We are offering special reduced prices on our full line of Sierra Pacific Merch with secure online ordering. Head here to check it out!

2021 Virtual Workshop call for presenters

Call for Presenters!

Be a PRESENTER at the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Sierra Pacific Region (Region 9) Spring 2021 VIRTUAL Workshop, March 5-7, 2021, with Pre-Workshop Virtual Field Trips March 1-4. This year’s title is: “Resilient Interpretation: Adapting to Our New World.”

This year, there are TWO ways to share with your interpretation community: present a talk (Presentation Format) and/or produce a video (Field Trip Format). 

Virtual Presentations (talks) will be offered Friday and Saturday, March 5-6. 

Virtual Field Trips (videos) will be posted during the pre-Workshop, Monday, March 1 through Thursday, March 4. 

To learn more and to apply head here.

Sierra Pacific Region Awards Nominations Open Now!

Nominations Due January 1st

Your Sierra Pacific Region is here to help you recognize and honor outstanding achievements in interpretation. Don’t delay, act now to nominate inspiring, amazing, innovating colleagues for an award! Awards showcase achievements of Sierra Pacific members and others working to advance the profession of interpretation; awards will be presented during March’s regional workshop. See below for category qualifications and instructions. Due: January 8th, 2021. Submit nominations electronically to

Head here to see the different categories and qualifications!

NAI 2020 national Conference Scholarships!

This is your year to attend the NAI National Conference! With the Conference going virtual this fall, there are no travel costs or approvals to consider and registration is considerably lower than usual. We hope many of our members will take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the top-notch concurrent sessions, professional development, and networking opportunities the National Conference provides. Head here to learn more and apply!

SAVE THE DATE – 2023 Sierra Pacific Workshop!

March 10-12 at Monte Toyon in Aptos, CA

SAVE THE DATE! Our spring workshop for the Sierra Pacific Region will be held in Aptos, CA at Monte Toyon Camp & Retreat Center on March 10 – 12. Set amongst the towering redwoods & beautiful rhododendrons a short distance from Seacliff State Beach, it is a perfect location to resume our in-person workshop.

Our annual 3-day event will kick off with a day of field trips around the local area, evening festivities that will include campfires, socializing and of course, region awards to recognize the outstanding work our interpretive colleagues have done throughout the past year.

Invigorating, innovative & inspiring presentations revolving around the art of interpretation will be presented on Saturday & Sunday.

Although we hope to see all of you in person, we know that to reach as many of you as possible, virtual presentations are the new norm. All the presentations at the workshop will be live & in-person but this year we are also proposing to have the presentations recorded so that there will be a virtual component to this workshop for those of you to enjoy at home after the event. A new era of engaging interpretation has begun!

Be on the lookout for information about workshop scholarships, how to nominate fellow interpreters for our Sierra Pacific Awards Program, and when to submit an application to present at the workshop. Check here for more information!

We are very excited to welcome all of you back to this very beautiful location and to see all of your smiling faces – so set aside March 10 – 12, 2023 for a weekend of reconnecting with old friends and making new connections.

Your 2023 Workshop Co-Chairs,

Lisa Borok                                           Debi Espinoza-Bylin

Deputy Director                                Secretary

Sierra Pacific Region                       Sierra Pacific Region