A Match of Minds, Medium and Messages

Synchronicity is surprising. Last week in my electronic files I happened upon a pdf of El Yunque National Forest’s 2009 Interpretive and Conservation Education Master Plan. It is a very impressive document that enhanced my desire to update the interpretive plan for my site. Since my heart is with my Sunny Southeast tribe of interpreters in Puerto Rico, I checked out the El Yunque National Forest (EYNF) public website (www.fs.usda.gov/elyunque) and stumbled upon another excellent document called Tradewinds Talk. This e-newsletter, targeting outfitters and guides permitted to operate on the EYNF, is an example of an effort to implement the plan.  What awesome interpretive thinkers the El Yunque has!

The Forest’s Visitor Services and Enjoyment Management Team wrote and published Tradewinds Talk. What a wonderful name for a recreation oriented work group! The team created the newsletter to strengthen two-way communication between the Forest Service and its commercial recreation partners. It is a platform to communicate Forest happenings and news and for sharing within the outfitter-guide community. The attractive design includes lovely photographs and inspiring quotes. The content conveys interpretive messages identified in the Interpretive and Conservation Education Master Plan.

Written and released in 2014, the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, it includes an article by a frontline interpreter and CIT about Wilderness in general and the unique and diverse El Toro Wilderness on the El Yunque. A law enforcement officer provides safety tips. The association that manages gift shops on the Forest and a food service concessionaire wrote about new items the outfitter-guide companies’ clients may be interested in. Leave-No-Trace is emphasized. The companies are encouraged to attend public meetings on the EYNF’s forest land management plan revision. There is even a section on recommended reading resources for interpretation, fitting for a Forest that values CIG certification and recognizes that commercial tour leaders are potential extensions of their small interpretive staff.

I look forward to learning how Tradewinds Talk was received and if there will be future issues. The newsletter is in perfect sync with needs and goals identified in the interpretive plan with the desired outcomes of enjoyment, appreciation and stewardship of the amazing El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. I trust that the Forest will not mind me providing the link: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3804405.pdf. Maybe this team-oriented outreach effort will synchronize with yours.


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