Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
GUIDING IN THE NATIONAL PARKS
TRAINING THE GUIDE IN THE PARK
By C. Frank Brockman
Regardless of what technical training or experience a ranger naturalist may have before he begins his work in a given park a certain amount of instruction is necessary to orient him and to acquaint him with the purpose of the educational work. It should be our purpose to manage in every way possible to allow for individuality on the part of ranger naturalists in their handling of the public and in their dissemination of information; but there are, of course, limitations in the various parks that must be observed.
The first thing that a new ranger naturalist must do is to acquaint himself with the features of the park in general. To this aim the Information Manual is prepared, but perhaps another good idea would be to lean or present each new man with a set of the government “for sale” booklets. These he could keep and have for reference. This, as far as I know, is not the practice in the parks; certainly it is not in Mount Rainier, but I believe the two dollars or so per man that this would cost would be a good investment in making available to the public pertinent information.
Another feature of training is to detail a new man with one of those who have already had experience in the park, and if possible continue this sort of arrangement throughout the season. In this manner new men will be given the benefit of the past experience of others.
In the discussions following Mr. Brockman’s paper, the following suggestions were listed:
Newly appointed ranger naturalists may be prepared by,
(1) General reading of references before entering the service.
(2) Personal acquaintance with park by means of a tour guided by the park naturalist and other officers at the beginning of the field season.
(3) Reference to published data, information manual, manuscript material, etc., during the period of service in the park.
(4) Training under experienced guide and lecturer during period of service.
(5) Frequent staff meetings, during which methods of presentation and sources of information can be discussed.
(6) Ranger naturalists weekly news letter in larger parks such as Yellowstone, where educational centers are widely scattered.
(7) Oral examination of ranger naturalists after period of preliminary training in park.
Emphasis was placed upon the necessity of developing in ranger naturalists a perspective of the park as a whole, even in parks such as Yellowstone, where ranger naturalists must specialize in certain subjects depending upon their station.