Interpretation and Education Mission Statements

California State Parks' Interpretive Mission Statement

Interpretation is a special form of communication that helps people understand, appreciate, and emotionally connect with the rich natural and cultural heritage preserved in parks.  It is the mission of interpretation in California State Parks to convey messages that initially will help visitors value their experience, and that ultimately will foster a conservation ethic and promote a dedicated park constituency.

California State Parks' Educational Mission Statement

The most powerful forms of education are meaningful, involve the student, promote critical thinking, and appeal to different learning styles.  Our mission is to provide educational experiences both in California State Parks and in the classroom, assisting educators with curriculum needs and offering activities that enable students to investigate, research, and participate in interactive learning.

Interpretation and Education Division's Mission Statement

Our mission is to inspire and promote excellence in interpretation and education for California State Parks.  We fulfill our mission by providing leadership, coordination and support for interpretive services statewide.   We offer training, resources, input, and advocacy in our program areas.

What Is Interpretation?

Interpretation of natural and cultural heritage must be as old as humans. The shaman, storytellers, and elders of tribal groups carried the oral history of their people forward from generation to generation. Before books and modern methods of recording stories, these oral traditions were key to the survival and evolution of cultures.

In the modern context, interpretation is the term used to describe communication activities designed to improve understanding at parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, historic sites, cruise companies, tour companies and aquariums. The definition provided by the National Association for Interpretation is: "Interpretation is a communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the inherent meanings in the resource."

(Reprinted from the National Association for Interpretation Web site.)