2015 and Beyond!

Message from the Director

Greetings and Happy 2015, Region 7!

I hope the New Year is off to a great start for each and every one of you.

2015 marks an election year for Region 7, and I’m pleased to introduce three new officers to the team! Our new Deputy Director is Kimberly Fraser, CIG, who comes to us from the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in Northern Colorado. Many of you no doubt have already met Kim and her bandit-faced furry friends at the 2014 NAI National Workshop in Denver. Taking over our financials as Treasurer is Kate German, CIG. Kate is Park Manager at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire, New Mexico. Our new Secretary is Rebekah McDonald, CIG. A recent graduate of the University of Montana with BA in Photojournalism and Environmental Studies, Rebekah is now looking ahead to pursuing her Masters and doing contract interpretive work (so keep her in mind if you need a talented person for your team!).

And, lastly, there’s me. Yep, you’re stuck with me for another 3 years. I warned you that if no one challenged my nomination, this would happen! Seriously though, I’m honored to serve as Regional Director for a second term, and looking forward to continuing to build and improve our organizational unit. I also want to extend a sincere thank you to our outgoing and new officers—and our larger team—for raising their hand and volunteering. What you guys do means so much to me both as an NAI member and as Regional Director.

Speaking of November’s national workshop in Denver, it was terrific to meet so many of you in person at the event. We had about 75 folks attend our annual business meeting, and our new officers were just a few of the many that signed-up to get more involved.   There were also a lot of fresh faces in the crowd for whom NAI is a very new thing. Aaron Roger, one of the winners of the Dick Taylor Scholarship Fund for 2014, shares his impressions of the event through the eyes of a NIW first-timer later in our next newsletter.

There’s always a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and new ideas circulating at professional conferences like this. Personally, it feels like real ‘shot in the arm’ for me. I get such a kick out of spending time with you guys, being an “interpretation geek” and talking about this stuff.   (Who else is going to talk at length with me such things?) I take that energy back to my work, and what a difference it makes!

So…how do we hang on to that buzz all year long? Well, for one, let’s get together more often! One of the key messages we’re hearing is that our members want to meet up for professional development, networking and socializing – both at the local level and in the form of a larger regional workshop. Mentoring programs (currently in the works at both the national and regional levels) are a great way to connect and share your knowledge and experience with others. Local training events and certification courses—many of which are already in the works across the Region by various groups—present terrific opportunities to meet and engage with your peers.

So, with this in mind, we’re placing renewed emphasis on this aspect for 2015. We’re forming a regional workshop committee, and will be encouraging our State and local chapter reps to organize more local get-togethers for their members. If you’re interested in hosting something at your institution or area, or getting involved with the workshop team, get in touch! Once something is in the works, we can use tools like Region 7’s Facebook page to get the word out.

On that note, I want to present three important goals set for Region 7 in the coming year, and we need your help and participation to make them possible!

  • Organize and host a successful Regional Workshop. Let’s make it as accessible as possible for all of our members to experience and participate in. You can help by being on the organizing committee, presenting a session or just attending the event.
  • Fundraising!   One of the most important and noble things the Region does is provide professional development scholarships for those in financial need. But they don’t pay for themselves. Want to help?   We need a Fundraising Committee Chairperson to organize this effort—and it could be you. For those in their mid/late careers, one could argue this should be you! Consider this a call to “give something back” to our profession and interpretive community.
  • Recognize the creative and dedicated accomplishments of interpreters across the Rocky Mountains with Regional Awards program! There’s some really great work and talent out there, and it’s high time we did a little bragging about it. Wouldn’t you like to be the one to hand out a shiny Golden Moose award? Let’s put together a regional awards committee to make this happen!

I’ve said it before and will likely continue to say it for the next three years (sorry!): NAI is your organization. Step up! Great things will happen, and as a bonus you’ll make some new geeky interpreter friends in the process. Have an idea, want to get involved, or just have a gripe? Contact me at wjbevil(at)gmail(dot)com

I look forward to hearing from you!

William Bevil

Director, NAI Region 7

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