Outside Perspectives

Outside Perspectives by Cindy Carpenter

In April, after months of sporadic communication, a production crew from Mexico came to my site, the Cradle of Forestry in America, to interview me and film for a documentary. I had carefully prepared answers to questions sent to me a week ahead and had them approved by my agency. I had reminded their contact in the United States to apply for a permit to film on the Pisgah National Forest several times since the first communication the previous October.  I had altered my schedule, including vacation time, around filming dates that kept changing. But I had not prepared myself for how their project, The American Miracle, would enrich my perspective on the Cradle of Forestry’s significance.

The film crew consisted of five talented professionals who travel the world documenting stories for Televisa’s Por el Planeta. They are passionate about their work, bringing to the masses special places and cultures and issues affecting them. The American Miracle project traces our nation’s conservation story that led to the establishment of our National Park and National Forest systems and the preservation of species and ecosystems through the will of its citizens and government. They hope the documentary will be an object lesson for places and natural resources around the world they have seen degraded over the years through lack of management and provision for people who are often just trying to survive.

As interpreters we are always learning from our audiences. This experience energized in my mind the relevance of my site and its mission. I don’t know how many seconds of my interview will make the final cut. I was disappointed in my performance despite preparation, experiencing a sudden nervousness while being filmed and uncomfortable in bright, hot sunshine. The American Miracle is expected to be broadcast on Univision in late summer. I hope it accomplishes what the writers intend. For me, it gave me a patriotic feeling, as well as an enhanced perspective of the Cradle of Forestry’s conservation story. It also reminded me that in addition to reviewing the facts relevant to a place, valuing and pondering the perspectives of minds other than my own will make me a better interpreter.

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