Make a Difference — Run for Office!

AMI offices for President and Secretary are open for 2016. This is a great opportunity to develop strong professional relationships, to enhance your leadership skills, as well as to enrich AMI with your creativity, experience and knowledge. Please email an electronic “head shot” photograph and your “campaign” write-up on or before August 21. Please consider giving back to this excellent organization by running for office. We need you!

If you are interested in running for either office please contact Elections Chair, Lisa LaCombe at or (816) 228-3766.


(Taken from the AMI By-laws)

Section 1. The officers of the Association shall be President, Vice-president, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Chair and the Elections Chair.

Section 2. The 5 elected officers, the Elections Chair and the immediate past president (if available and willing to serve) shall constitute the Executive Committee. In the case of the immediate past president being unable to fill this position, a member at large will be appointed by the officers to fill the opening.

AMI President 2 year term

Section 3. The President shall be the presiding officer at all meetings of the Association and at all meetings of the Executive Committee.

AMI Secretary 2 year term

Section 5. The Secretary shall keep a record of all meetings of the Association and its Executive Committee in a suitable book. They shall also submit reports at the annual business meeting and shall publish a membership directory yearly.

Important 2015 Workshop Information

JCNicholsFtThis year’s workshop in Kansas City promises to be another great one, and we hope to have as many AMI members there as we can get.   Not only because we love gathering with fellow interpreters, but also because there is a very important vote coming up at this year’s business meeting.   For those that cannot attend, there will be a chance for you to cast your vote after the workshop.    But we would rather see you at the conference!   You can register online at or download the paper registration form.  The deadline for registration is Friday, August 14.

It is also very important for you to book your hotel room by Monday, August 17.  AMI will suffer serious financial penalties if rooms are not booked by then.  The conference hotel is the Holiday Inn Kansas City Downtown – Aladdin at 1215 Wyandotte Street, Kansas City, MO 64105.  To receive the group rate of $109 per room, you will need to call the hotel at 877-224-2870 and tell them you are with the Association of Missouri Interpreters Conference.

Breakfast is not included at this hotel. One valet parking voucher, which is valid for the whole conference, will be included with your room. The hotel reservation staff may not know this because it is a central reservation system, but the Aladdin hotel will have the voucher when you arrive.

Finally, please remember to bring items to donate for the AMI auction. This auction benefits AMI scholarships for students to attend future conferences.  Thank you on behalf of the 2015 AMI Conference Committee.  See you in Kansas City!

AMI Workshop 2015 – Call for Papers

kc logoThe 2015 conference committee is looking for dynamic presenters for the 2015 workshop.  In other words, we need YOU! The state of Missouri is rich in talented, professional interpreters whose role it is to help Missourians make connections to our natural, cultural, and historical resources.

With focus on our title: The Art of Interpretation in the City and Theme: Embrace your niche as you interpret nature and culture in the city, please share your creativity and talents with fellow interpreters by presenting a session at the conference.

There is a short turnaround time on the call for papers. The deadline is August 7.

Download the workshop proposal form for more details!

Runge Nature Center Seeks Naturalist Assistant

mdclogoRunge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City, Mo. is seeking a part-time naturalist assistant.

The Naturalist Assistant’s main duties are to feed, water, and care for all of the nature center’s captive animals on display or used in interpretive programs. In addition, this person may conduct interpretive presentations and hikes both on-site and off-site on a wide range of natural history and conservation topics.

This position is intended for individuals interested in the pursuing a career and/or gaining further experience in the field of natural history interpretation. Any person 18 years of age or older may apply.  This position has a salary of $10.83 per hour.

Please contact Robin Grumm, Assistant Nature Center Manager (  for a complete job description and application or go online at  The application deadline is May 22, 2015.

Award-Winning Ornithologist Visits Springfield


johncrobinsonAward-winning ornithologist, two-time #1 best-selling author, and wildlife biologist John C. Robinson has introduced hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to the joys of bird watching for over thirty-five years. In his latest title, Birding for Everyone: Encouraging People of Color to Become Birdwatchers, he encourages the appreciation of nature through birding. John also explores the curious lack of a minority presence in the birding community and offers new solutions for changing the face of conservation through birding.  You can learn more about John at his website,, or by watching this short video about him.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is bringing Robinson to the Springfield Conservation Nature Center for two talks and a free workshop in February:


Missouri Birds–Identifying Birds of Western Missouri

February 19 • Thursday • 7–8 pm

John will share his experiences as a beginning birder in northwest Missouri, discuss his current work that helps connect minority and inner city youth and young adults with nature, and review key techniques for identifying the birds of western Missouri by sight and by sound. This program is cosponsored by the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society. Call 417-888-4237 beginning January 15 to register for this program for ages 7–adult.


Birds–Wonders of the Natural World

February 20 • Friday • 7–8:45 pm

John’s unique combination of breath-taking photographs, fun biology lessons, personal stories, and humor has helped hundreds of thousands of birders worldwide to improve their bird identification skills. Be sure to bring your most burning bird questions so you can participate in the popular “Ask the Bird Man!” session that is part of this special presentation for ages 12-adult. Call 417-888-4237 beginning January 15 to register for this program for ages 10–adult.


Diversity in the Outdoors–Connecting Youth to Nature

February 20 • Friday • 10 am–12 noon

In this interactive workshop, you can join John as he shares recent data collected from environmental educators across the globe that pinpoint the top 10 challenges and opportunities to connect our youth to nature and the outdoors. Special focus will be given to the concept of making our environmental message relevant to an increasingly diverse audience, including inner city youth. Bring a sack lunch for additional networking opportunities from 12 noon–1 pm. (Drinks and dessert provided.) There is no charge for this workshop for adults only, but registration is required by calling 417-888-4237 today.


John’s visit is cosponsored by Missouri State University-Bull Shoals Field Station, City of Springfield-Department of Environmental Services, Springfield-Greene County Library, and Greater Ozarks Audubon Society.

The KC Connection

kc logoGreetings AMI members! Below you will find links to the latest issues of the KC Connection. This newsletter will take you on a journey through the history of Kansas City. You will receive one issue per month from now through August 2015, leading us right to the 2015 AMI conference in Kansas City. Along the way you may see some familiar faces and have some fun as well. Enjoy!

Resources for “Alternate Reality Gaming at Interpretive Sites”

Art-Hunters-LogoAt the recent Association of Missouri Interpreters’ workshop in Sedalia, I spoke on Art Hunters, the interpretive alternate reality game I created with Red40 Entertainment for the Springfield Art Museum.  Those interested in learning more about the project might enjoy the links below:

ARGNet Article — An excellent article describing the project and its mission, by Michael Andersen of the Alternate Reality Gaming Network.

The Art Hunters YouTube Playlist — Watch episodes, promos, and the “Hunter Safety” video we created here.

The Art Hunters Facebook Page — Scroll through to see how our social media challenges for each week challenged players to demonstrate the themes they learned in each episode.

Final Report — Our summary and evaluation of the game, prepared for the Springfield Art Museum.

Ozarks Live! Story — To see what the game looks like from a player perspective, watch this story and interview with one of our youngest participants.

Interpreting in Alternate Realities — An article on interpretive ARGs that I wrote for Legacy, the magazine of the National Association for Interpretation.

The Scurry Squirrel Show — A demo version of a nature-based interpretive ARG that could be staged on a shoestring budget.

RevQuest Website — This annual alternate reality game at Colonial Williamsburg served as the jumping-off point for Art Hunters.

Talk by Jane McGonigal — Designer Jane McGonigal’s ideas about gaming were another inspiration for the project.

If you have any questions about the Art Hunters project, contact me at  Thanks for all the great feedback on the session!

Our "living statue" distributes promotional flyers in the run-up to the game.

Our “living statue” distributes promotional flyers in the run-up to the game.

AMI Workshop 2014

2014logoThis year’s AMI Workshop will take place from September 14-16 in Sedalia, Mo.  This year’s theme, “Finding Your Interpretive Center in the Heart of Missouri”, is about connecting with why you do what you do, and using that why to help carry your message to all your audiences.

For details on this year’s workshop, download the Registration Packet (pdf).  The workshop committee is currently seeking presentations related to this year’s theme.  Please send your abstract (100 words or less) and a short biography of yourself to  Proposals are due by August 15.

The workshop is also where we recognize our colleagues with the annual AMI awards, and support the future of the field by awarding the George Kastler Interpreter Scholarships.  Awards Nominations and Scholarship Applications are due by July 15.

Need a little help attending this year’s workshop?  Apply for one of AMI’s Professional Development Stipends.  Stipend applications are due one month before the event applied for.

We hope to see you in Sedalia!

Missouri DNR is Seeking a Natural Resource Education Coordinator

dnrThe Missouri Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for protecting, preserving and enhancing Missouri’s natural, cultural and energy resources.  An important part of that responsibility is educating Missourians about those resources.

The department has been working to reinvigorate their department-wide education strategy.  The person hired to the Natural Resource Education Coordinator position will have the opportunity to assist in that process.  The Department’s education strategy provides information and tools to teachers, youth leaders and students statewide, promoting the department’s mission, stewardship of Missouri’s natural resources, and encouraging a healthy and enjoyable outdoor lifestyle.

For more information on this job opening, see full job description.

Interpretive Writing Workshop

leftridgeThe Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center in Kansas City will be hosting “The Art of Interpretive Writing” on Friday, October 25.  The workshop will be led by Alan Leftridge, author of Interpretive Writing.  See below for more details:

Write compelling interpretive messages! This workshop offers you the basics of interpretive writing that apply to signage, exhibit labels, brochures, websites, public service announcements, books, and magazines. You will understand how to create clear, dynamic, and concise interpretive texts, reveal meanings, and ways to excite visitors about your site, whether it is a museum, park, zoo, nature center, or aquarium.

Topics include:

  • The Interpretive Writing Process
  • Concept Mapping 
  • Universal Concepts
  • The Five Elements of Interpretive Writing
  • Meeting Your Audience’s Needs
  • Concise Wording
  • Keeping Your Reader’s Attention
  • The Importance of Fluency
  • Redundant Wording
  • Understanding Readability Indexes
  • Using a Human Interest Scale
  • Capturing Your Reader’s Attention
  • What to Avoid
  • Connecting with a Narrative
  • The Editing Process
  • Evaluation

The fee is $275 and includes instruction, refreshments, handouts, and a copy of the Interpretive Writing textbook.

Contact Alan Leftridge,, 406.754.2940 to register.

“The Art of Interpretive Writing” flyer (pdf)