Telling a Better Story

Focuses on strategies for captivating your trail audience with provocative, well designed interpretive panels.

by Jennifer Rigby, Director, The Acorn Group, Kristin Lundstrom, Environmental Educator/Volunteer Coordinator, City of Boise Parks and Recreation, Erica Fielder, Owner and artist, Erica Fielder Studio


“Telling a Better Story” focuses on strategies for captivating your trail audience with provocative, well designed interpretive panels. Get practical advice for developing theme-based messages, establishing budgets, selecting images and design elements, understanding how visitors learn, writing interpretive text, and preparing files for production. Join us for discussions and case studies, and take away valuable tips and techniques to turn ordinary panels into extraordinary experiences. The Foothills Learning Center in Boise, Idaho developed a permanent interactive self-guided accessible “Story” trail for children and adults. Ten reading platforms feature different nature related stories that change monthly throughout the year.

View Jennifer Rigby and Erica Fielder's Presentation Online

View Kristin Lundstrom's Presentation Online

About the Authors

Jennifer Rigby is a board member of American Trails and director of The Acorn Group, an award-winning interpretive planning and design firm. For over 25 years she has created interpretive master plans and media for trail systems in a variety of settings: windswept dunes, ancient redwood groves, arid deserts, cypress swamps, and hardwood forests. Regardless of where a project takes her, her focus is on creating meaningful experiences for visitors with a variety of media including wayfinding systems and interpretive panels. See her previous American Trails webinar on interpretation titled “Telling a Better Story: Best practices for developing interpretive panels for trails.”

Jenny’s background includes interpretive master planning; teaching in formal and non-formal institutions, including zoos and aquaria; interpretive writing; exhibit and graphic design; and visitor studies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social ecology, master’s degree in education, and two California teaching credentials. Certified by the National Association for Interpretation as an interpretive planner, Jenny has been working in the field of interpretation since 1982.

Kristin Lundstrom has been an Environmental Educator and Volunteer Coordinator at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center in Boise, Idaho since 2008. She has worked as an educator/naturalist, program coordinator, and manager in residential, school, nature, and museum-based environmental education programs in the northeast and west including the University of Rhode Island, San Francisco Unified School District, and the California Academy of Sciences. After working in the field of alternative transportation for rideshare programs and as a pedestrian & bicycle coordinator, she returned to her passion, environmental education landing at the FLC. Her bachelors and masters degrees are both the field of Environmental Studies (Environmental Education) from Sonoma State University and Antioch University New
England.

Kristin is a 2010 recipient of the American Trails State Trail Worker Award for the State of Idaho for the Story Trail project. She is in the process of wrapping up a collaborative place-based natural history book project with photos, student poetry, and art for the Story Trail.

Erica Fielder developed a unique blend of skills she uses to create interpretive displays for trails and visitor centers. She has an MFA in Visual Art and has taken numerous college courses in natural sciences to inform her 40 years experience as a field interpreter. As an interpreter, she led both cultural and natural history field trips for all ages. Such excursions included California transects from the Pacific to the Sierra Crest, and nature/culture walks through San Francisco’s Financial District, to 20 years as resident naturalist at Jug Handle Nature Center in Caspar, CA. Erica illustrated and co-wrote two books, Ecology for City Kids and City Safaris (Sierra Club), on nature/culture adventures for urban children.

Erica Fielder Studio: Interpretive Panels Start to Finish brings this wealth of experience to planning and designing your interpretive displays and trailside panels. Erica’s displays skillfully convey facts and anchor them through engaging original artwork, and references to memory, sensory and metaphor. Erica is passionate about improving the quality of interpretation everywhere so visitors have rich trail experiences, fall in love with a site, and care about it over time. Erica Fielder Studio has been making displays since 1983.

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