“The chief aim of Interpretation is not instruction, but provocation.” – Freeman Tilden
How did Mount Rainier come to be? How did the rocks get here? Why are there ridges in seemingly random areas?
These are some questions a park ranger seeks to answer, without listing off hard facts. My job this summer as a park interpreter is to be an artist and an educator. There’s a certain finesse required to inspire a sense of wonder and awe among park visitors, to instill stewardship among visitors to uphold the National Park Service’s mission:
“The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”
After two weeks of training, I will develop my own programs to present to the public. As a geology major, these programs will be centered on the geology of Mount Rainier and designed to compel park visitors to the history of the region. I aim to capture the young spirit within all of us. I aim to have visitors leaving with more than knowledge, but an experience that will further reach those they come in contact with.
Wherever you may be, I hope my message, and the message of the National Park Service, spreads to you like wildfire. Mount Rainier is a beautiful sight, but it’s origins are even more rich and beautiful.