Author Archives: admin

Big News from Dakota


Still adorable, and still unrelated

Apologies for commandeering the official AMI website, but I have news to spread, and this is the easiest way to do it. At the end of this month, I’ll be moving to Wyoming.  My wife Greta has accepted an awesome position with the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, and we’re very excited.  You should be excited, too.  Here’s why:

First, AMI is going to need a new webmaster, and that could be you! It’s a great way to serve the organization, it doesn’t take up much time, and you can do it in your underwear. I’ll even train you. Contact President Steve Jacobsen if you’re interested.

Second, Missouri’s best interpretive site is going to be hiring a new interpreter. I helped build Nathan Boone Homestead State Historic Site, and I’m a little emotional about handing over the reins. I need you to come here and be outstanding, because this place deserves it. If you have any questions about the job, Kim Todey with Missouri State Parks can fill you in.

I feel so fortunate to have learned at the feet of some of the world’s greatest interpreters here in Missouri. I’m going to miss AMI, and I’m going to miss all of you and the amazing work you do.  Thanks for the past 15 years.


Important Info for Job Seekers from Missouri State Parks

UPDATE: The Interpretive Resource Specialist II register is now open, as well.  It will remain open until April 22.

The Interpretive Resource Specialist III (IRS III) register is now open for application. The register will close April 20, 2016. Anyone interested in working for Missouri State Parks as an IRS III MUST be on this register to be considered for future vacancies! This is also a good time to update your information if you are already on this register.

Open Merit Registers can be viewed at

Should you wish to add your name to the merit registers for the classes listed above, please complete the EASE application at

While these classes have been opened for recruitment, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a corresponding vacancy. Please view the vacancy announcements at to determine classes that have a current vacancy.

NAI Region 6 Workshop Seeking Vendors

r6wkshp2016Region 6 of the National Association for Interpretation is having its annual workshop in Springfield, Missouri in February 2016.  They are currently filling out their vendor area, and seeking groups or business that would like to be part of it.  Vendor spaces are open to both private sellers and government/non-profit organizations that just want a showcase for what they do.  At the workshop, vendors will be able to talk with interpreters from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri,  Oklahoma, and Texas.  You can find out more details in this vendor letter.

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.

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!