Writing a Better Story

How to Create Panel Copy that Entices and Intrigues

Strategies for captivating your trail audience.

by Jennifer Rigby, Director, The Acorn Group


Too many facts. Too many words. We’ve all encountered signs along trails that are cumbersome in appearance and challenging to read. “Writing a Better Story” focuses on proven strategies for captivating your trail audience with well-written copy that entices readers to pay attention and intrigues them with a story. Learn about the three Bs: brevity, boldness, and big ideas, and get practical advice for creating an active voice, a powerful title, and provocative questions.

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About the Author

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.

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