Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
WRITING FOR PRIVATE PUBLICATIONS
By C. Frank Brockman
By private publications is meant all books, articles, fiction stories, etc., that may be undertaken by a park naturalist as a personal enterprise. This sort of thing, I believe, when tempered with an understanding of the importance of the job for which he is paid — that of park naturalist — should be encouraged; for under proper conditions such activities can do a lot of good for the Park Service, particularly if the writing is along the lines relating to the individual’s park. This is particularly true of the educational phases of the park activities and it is here that ability along journalistic lines might be encouraged. The general public has not been awakened to the fullest extent as yet to the educational and inspirational value of these regions. If this phase of the parks can be “sold” to the public through printer’s ink, then the work of this division will be greatly simplified.
There is a possibility and even a danger that such personal activities may be carried to extremes, but if the naturalist does this on his own time there should be no conflict of interests. The question is, what is his “own time?” The answer to that depends largely upon the progress of the nature work, for if it is making headway in conformance to the facilities provided (financial and otherwise) then whatever free lance work the naturalist does should not be questioned.
Within certain limits, then, free lance writing should be encouraged wherever there seems to be ability and talent; and the limits should be regulated by the progress of the nature work which the naturalist has undertaken, considering, of course, the facilities that are provided for the development of that work.
It was brought out that in searching through references in preparation for private writing, data is often found which is of great use in the educational activities of the park.
Chairman Hall pointed out the danger of letting private activities interfere with official work, and it was agreed that when writing is undertaken privately, great care must be exercised to avoid this interference.
Mr. Davis, (Manager of Stanford University Press) pointed out that sale publications must necessarily be more thorough than the Circulars distributed free in the parks. He stated that books are especially valuable as they are practically never thrown away and their effect is more lasting than that of lectures or guided trips. They should be supplementary to the educational work of the Park Service and should serve for reference after the individual’s experiences in the parks are practically forgotten.