Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
NATURAL HISTORY LEAFLETS, POPULAR BULLETINS, AND TECHNICAL BULLETINS
By Edwin D. McKee
The publications of this group are all important means of presenting natural history subjects to the park visitors, yet they differ from one another greatly in both the manner of presentation and in the subject matter included. The Natural History Leaflets and the Popular Bulletins are made to reach the average visitor — the person who for one reason or another “must be given science in small doses.” The Technical Bulletins on the ether hand are means of presenting newly found facts or, indeed, any interesting scientific data, to the visiting scientist or naturalist, or any other person interested.
Natural History Leaflets should be prepared for the purpose of explaining certain especially fine or worthwhile features along various trails or roads which are frequented by park visitors. These leaflets should carefully discriminate between the major features and those of lesser importance, and they should be worded briefly and concisely. Illustrations by both pictures and diagrams are excellent additions wherever possible. In brief, a series of publications covering the principal natural history exhibits along every advertised bus route, horseback, or foot trail in the various parks should be worked up and made available to the public. Neat printed leaflets are naturally the most preferable type, however it is probable that in most places the first step must be the distribution of mimeographed sheets. It is conceivable that in many parks, the operators will be willing to get out such leaflets for distribution in connection with their bus trips and saddle parties. This will, of course, partly do away with poor information by untrained drivers or guides.
Popular bulletins should deal with the various fields of Natural History in an elementary, interesting and instructive way. There should be one for mammals, one for birds, trees, flowers, and for any of several other subjects which might be present. Only the most obvious or the most significant features should be presented and these with careful omission of technical detail. Their purpose is to point out certain fundamental truths and to stimulate interest. The publications should be printed and illustrated, but in most cases they will probably have to be mimeographed under present conditions. They should be easily available, well advertised, and either free or for a small sum.
Technical Bulletins, while they will undoubtedly have a far smaller circulation than will the popular ones, are nevertheless, extremely important as the basis for all other publications. They are also an outlet for interesting and new scientific data discovered, and a means of giving the visiting scientist the type of material which he usually desires. Some of these bulletins might be in the form of check-lists with bibliographies, others as more complete papers. Their importance in either case is essential to real scientific progress.
It was brought out that natural history leaflets should be short, preferably a single page; that they are most valuable when used along nature trails or at points of special interest; that they should be dated and signed by the author.