In September the Association of Missouri Interpreters will travel to Steelville, Missouri for the 2017 annual conference. The focus will be “Creating Your Own Path” to better interpretation through sessions, keynotes, and field trips. Those who call the Ozarks home, and those who called it home in the past, know exactly what it is like to create their own path. The rugged landscape of the Ozarks, along with the allure of its rivers and streams and mysterious caves, has drawn people to its beauty for centuries. The rich forests and rivers were paths to commerce and recreation; sustaining those who chose to stay and make a home there. For these reasons, the field trips offered this year will focus on our Missouri heritage in the Ozarks. We will visit places of splendor and history within each field trip because, let’s be honest, we cannot truly think about one without the other. These trips will emphasize the rock upon which the beauty of the Ozarks resides, the rock upon which the towns, homesteads, and industry grew. We will look at the natural, commercial, and recreational value of the area’s springs and streams. They are the veins pumping life into the communities and into the verdant landscape. We will visit towns and people who celebrate our natural and cultural heritage by protecting and displaying it for those who choose to visit. These people are the life blood of this part of the Ozarks. They celebrate the natural beauty through paths of preservation, conservation, and education. They display the heritage of their communities- from the Osage Indians who trekked the rugged terrain to the flashy “new” Route 66 that has brought travelers from distant places to experience our Midwest Americana. This conference’s field trips will not only lead you down the area’s natural and cultural paths, but also challenge you to create new paths of interpretation. Whether it is through reaching out to new or underserved groups or rethinking activities and partnerships to reach diverse audiences, there will be something for everyone at the 2017 Association of Missouri Interpreters conference. Make plans to join us September 11- 14 in Steelville, MO! Check out the Conference tab for more information, call for papers, and registration information!