Category Archives: Conference

UPDATE: AMI Conference 2020

After a lengthy discussion, surveying our AMI members, and working with the executive board, the AMI 2020 Conference Committee has decided to postpone this year’s conference. The committee would like to express our sincere gratitude to the northwest Missouri committee in allowing us to move our conference to 2021. Please SAVE THE DATE for the 2021 AMI Conference to be held at Lake of the Ozarks September 19th – September 23rd, 2021! We cannot wait to see all of your smiling faces when we can meet again!

Although a conference will not be held in 2020, AMI does plan to continue with awards and scholarships. If you or someone you know is deserving of an award or scholarship, please visit our webpage to find the scholarship and award forms. We are working on ways to virtually honor award and scholarship recipients this year as well as other opportunities for AMI members to socialize and gain continuing education, so please stay tuned for more information.

POSTPONED: AMI Conference 2020


Good Afternoon,

At our committee meeting this afternoon, the members were all in consensus to postpone the AMI Conference that was to be held at Lake of the Ozarks this coming September 2020.  The committee has made the decision after discussing survey results, personal thoughts, and reviewing the AMI Board’s e-mails from last week. The committee also decided to maintain the same committee and job duties and we will meet this September to discuss next year and rearrange as needed.

I will contact Lodge at Port Arrowhead and let them know our decision and see if we can get dates secured for next September 2021.

We did brainstorm ideas for virtual webinars through the year and Kendra will be bringing ideas to the board for discussion.  Amber will be scheduling and hosting social hours as well through a web platform.

Thank you for your support and please pass on to those who need to be aware of the change.

AMI 2019 Conference Awards

Congratulations to all of the 2019 AMI award winners!

Outstanding Interpretive Volunteer

Barney Combs, Historic Daniel Boone Home Award accepted by Amber Edwards (left). Lee Wilbeck (right)

Interpretive Giant

Janet Price, Moon Shadow Moments

Best Workshop Presentation

Jo Schaper, Geo Communications Services Jo Schaper(left), Lee Wilbeck (right)

George Kastler/Aubree Schmid Student Scholarships

Marissa Ginger, University of Central Missouri
& Anna Skalicky , Macalester College, MN Marissa Ginger. Anna Skalicky, not pictured.

Outstanding Interpretive Media

David Spear, Susie Wachowski, Lisa May
Missouri Department of Conservation- Outreach and Education

Outstanding Service

Steve Jacobsen, Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center Lee Wilbeck (L), Steve Jacobsen (center), Adam Brandsgaard (R)

AMI Interpreter Quiz

Adam Brandsgaard, Shelly Colastkie, Connie Weber, Cyndi Cogbill, Mike Duane

AMI Interpreter Quiz Champion

Jordi Raos, Springfield Conservation Nature Center John Miller (left), Jordi Raos (right)

Click Here to Learn More About Awards and Scholarships

2019 AMI Conference Program

This PDF will function as a paperless Conference Program that allows attendees to bounce between schedules, session descriptions, maps, and keynote.


“Let your Resources Roar!” Keynote Speaker: John Cunning

John says his work in parks started when he was four years old when his family visited the Grand Canyon.  He picked up litter in the picnic area and could trade a bag of litter for ice-cream. Throughout his 34-year career with Missouri State Parks, he worked as a historic site manager, a museum director, and as director for the Resource Management and Interpretation Program.  In 2013, John was awarded AMI’s Outstanding Professional Interpreter in and NAI Region 6’s Distinguished Professional Interpreter. John has helped plan and has been a trainer at the annual Spring Interpreter School for many years.  He has presented living history programs as a snake oil salesman in a 1870s medicine show, guided countless historic building tours, interpreted Tom Benton’s capitol mural to Chinese diplomats, and interpreted interpretation to elected and appointed officials.  And he loved just about every minute of it.

Now retired, John started a consulting business (Heritage Interpretation Services LLC), works part-time with an estate sale management company, and is planning a few motorcycle trips.

2019 AMI Conference Registration

September 15-17, 2019
AMI Conference Registration has been extended to August 31st!

See the updated registration packet for conference details.

Full Registration:

Pre-registration deadline is August 22, 2019–after that, you must register at the Workshop ($10 higher fee))

(includes membership renewal for the upcoming year, banquet & some meals)

A 2019 Registration Packet, with a paper registration form, is available for download below. To register online, please fill out the linked form on SurveyMonkey.

The SurveyMonkey registration form will give the workshop committee a means of tracking registrations electronically, but you will NOT be able to pay for your registration form here.  Your confirmation email will include instructions on how to send payment to AMI treasurer Phillip Brinkley via mail, email, or fax.  We realize many of you will use your agency’s purchasing cards for payment, so AMI obtained the ability to accept credit card payments.  To save service charges, you will be asked to fill out a form and mail or fax the information to Phillip, or call him and give him your credit card number.  We hope to have online payment capability in the future without the use of third-party processors, but we are still looking for a safe and affordable option.


CLICK HERE for more information on the 2019 AMI Conference.

2019 AMI Conference: Call for Papers

If you are interested in presenting at the 2019 AMI Conference, please complete the attached form and send it to Janice Schnake Greene at Missouri State University. The 2019 AMI Conference will be held at Roaring River State Park, near Cassville MO, September 15-18, 2019. Roaring River State Park is one of Missouri’s crown jewels and one of the most attended state parks.

Save the Date for the 2019 AMI Conference!

Save the date for the next AMI conference “Let your Resources Roar!” at Roaring River State Park, near Cassville MO, September 15-18, 2019. Roaring River State Park is one of Missouri’s crown jewels and one of the most attended state parks. Key features include the Roaring River Spring and trout hatchery, Emory Melton Inn and Conference Center, hiking, camping, Roaring River Hills Wild Area, and Hardwood Cove Natural Area. Please make plans to join us for a wonderful conference where we will find techniques and ideas to help you “Let Your Resources Roar!”

2018 AMI Awards

Congratulations to all of the 2018 AMI award winners!

Scholarship Winners

Left to Right: Lee Wilbeck – AMI Award Chair, Emily Deeba (Saint Louis University), Jacob Lutes (Missouri Western University), Melissa Nyga (SE Missouri State University).
Not present:  Cole Hoover, University of Central Missouri.

Outstanding Volunteer

Dennis Burd (Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, Branson)

Outstanding New Interpreter

Karen Seward (Mark Twain State Park) (left to right: Karen Seward, Amber Edwards (awards committee), right: (sorry, I forgot the nominator)

Outstanding Interpretive Effort

Discovery Day Camp: Libby Sanders (Bonebrake Center of Nature and History – Salem)

Outstanding Interpretive Media

 Jamin Bray (Oak Hill R-1 School, Salem) (left to right: Libby Sanders (nominator), Jamin Bray (middle), Rebecca Rodriguez (right – awards committee member)

AMI Giant Award

George Kastler (retired DNR Chief Park Naturalist) (back row left to right: Alan Kastler (son), Neil Kastler (son), Bill Kastler (half-brother)) (front row left to right: George Kastler, Elizabeth Kastler (wife)).

2018 Best Workshop Presentation

Phillip Brinkley (Burr Oak Woods NC) (left to right: Lee Wilbeck, Phillip Brinkley)

Photos courtesy of John Miller.

2018 Conference Registration Information

We invite you to “Cross the Streams: Bring Interpretation and Education Together to Achieve Shared Goals.”
Join us for the 2018 Association of Missouri Interpreters Workshop September 10th – 13th, 2018, at Echo Bluff State Park in Eminence, MO. Echo Bluff State Park, opened in mid-2016, is a 476-acre park featuring Sinking Creek and the former home of Camp Zoe, a summer youth camp that provided outdoor experiences to young people. Now the park is a destination for visitors exploring the fantastic natural resources and local communities in the Ozarks!

At this year’s workshop, both educators and interpreters will find techniques and ideas for engaging with a variety of
audiences, all while having a grand time with a group of wonderful, passionate people!

Workshop Registration:
Full Registration: $90                                     Lifetime Member Registration: $75
Student Registration: $45                                               One-Day Registration: $25

Workshop Location & Accommodations: Echo Bluff State Park

Echo Bluff features the picturesque bluff, playground and splash pad, picnic shelter, and amphitheater. Lodging at Echo Bluff includes:

  • The Lodge – 16 traditional full-service guest rooms and 4 suites (no pets permitted in The Lodge)
  • Park Cabins – fully equipped stacked cabin first-floor units (4), stacked cabin second-floor loft units (4), 2- bedroom cabins (4), and a 4-bedroom cabin
  • Timbuktu Campground – 62 full-service sites as well as walk-in camping

More information about the lodge and its amenities can be found at

GPS Address:
Echo Bluff State Park – 34489 Echo Bluff Drive, Eminence, MO 65466 Coordinates: 37.313515, -91.411840

Because of the smaller number of rooms at this facility, please consider having a roommate. This will help ensure our attendees can all stay at the same location. When you place your reservation, please note with hotel staff you are part of the Association of Missouri Interpreters Workshop to get the group rates.

To Make A Reservation:

  • Call Echo Bluff State Park at (844) 322-3246 for the discounted rate.
  • Mention you are attending the Association of Missouri Interpreters Workshop to receive our group rate. Rooms are available Sunday, September 9th – Wednesday, September 12th for our workshop.
  • Indicate which room type you would like to reserve. Guest services will help pair you with a roommate if requested.

Other lodging is available in Eminence and Salem. Check out “Stay Here” on the Eminence community website: or find Salem accommodations at under the business directory “lodging.”

Workshop Agenda

Our agenda for this workshop is full of fantastic learning experiences! Find everything you need to know about the workshop below. An At-A-Glance agenda can be found at

Monday, September 10th: Pre-Workshop Sessions:

Join us early to add tools to your toolbox whether you are an educator or interpreter! All sessions will leave from Echo Bluff State Park. Dinner is on your own after the trips conclude, but the hospitality room will be open in the evening.

Hike and Float     9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.    ($10 box lunch) Hike from Echo Bluff State Park to Current River State Park, then float (kayaks and instruction provided for this 5-mile float!) to Round Spring.

The hike is relatively strenuous (~5 miles) so wear appropriate shoes and bring a water bottle and sunscreen. Along the way, discover springs, river wildlife and maybe some wild horses!

Ozark Mills: Heritage and Hydrology         9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.    (lunch on own in Licking) $5 donation suggested at each of the two private mills

Tour area grist mills (Alley,  Summersville, Licking, and Montauk) with a focus on the power of water to attract human settlement. Discuss and experience principles of milling that can be incorporated into interpretive programs and teaching curriculum.

Making Pleasant and Productive PowerPoints Afternoon and evening sessions (dinner on your own) 

PowerPoint has an undeserved negative reputation. It can be a powerful tool for communicating information, but many people do not know how to use it. This workshop will explore the theory behind producing an engaging program and then explore some of the useful features of PowerPoint that make production and presentation easier and more aesthetically pleasing (master slides, photo albums, transparent colors, etc.). Features such as animations, embedded media, and hyperlinks, which can make the presentation more enjoyable and interactive, will be discussed.

The workshop will begin at noon on Monday, Sept. 10. The formal presentation will go until 5:00 pm. Bring your personal projects and laptops. (We might have some loaners available.) There will be an after-dinner session in which we will tackle any particular problems you may have with formatting and presenting.

Tuesday, September 11th: Registration Opens at 10:00 a.m.

Workshop Kick-Off begins at 1:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker – Dr. Ted Cable, Kansas State University

Ted Cable is Professor of Park Management and Conservation in the Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources at Kansas State University. He has authored 15 books, book chapters, scenic byway video scripts, and more than 200 articles, reports, and presentations dealing with human – nature interactions, avian ecology, and environmental interpretation. Three of his books deal specifically with interpretation and in his other books, Dr. Cable uses the written word to interpret birds, landscapes, and the work of conservationists. He has served as Visiting Professor all around the world and has received teaching awards from many agencies such as U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Kansas Wildlife Federation. He has been recognized with the William C. Everhart Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Missouri Interpreters. NAI also awarded him the Master of Interpretation Award and named Dr. Cable a Fellow of the National Association for Interpretation, NAI’s highest honor.

Concurrent Sessions – Detailed agenda will be provided in your packet at registration.

How do you cross the streams for interpretation and education? If you have techniques, strategies, tried and true ways of getting your theme across, share them with your colleagues in education and interpretation by presenting a session. Concurrent sessions will run from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 11th and from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on Thursday, September 13th. Session times vary from one to two-hour blocks and we welcome any topics related to natural and cultural resources, outdoor skills, environmental education, interpretive administration and MORE! To find the session proposal form, please visit or check your email inbox.

Banquet & Awards

A fine sit-down dinner will be provided by the chefs of Echo Bluff State Park. The annual awards ceremony will follow the meal. The theme for this year’s banquet is Ozark Shindig, so wear your finest overalls and prairie dresses! Afterwards “kick up your heels and rosin up your bow” for the traditional AMI jam session. (Don’t forget to bring your instruments and your dancing shoes!)

Wednesday, September 12th: Workshop Field Trips

Field trips are designed with both interpreters and educators in mind. Your host will focus on incorporating interpretive and educational goals (including Missouri Learning Standards) with an emphasis on authentic, hands-on activities. All trips will leave from Echo Bluff State Park.

After the field trips, two choices for Wednesday night dinner are being offered. You can eat on your own at the Echo Bluff Lodge restaurant or choose to go to the Ozark Cookout, catered by Shannon County Extension Council, 6:00– 7:30 p.m. at the Bluff Top Pavilion. The meal will please meat lovers and vegetarians alike with a combination of Dutch Oven, grilled and other goodies. Cost of the Extension dinner is $10 (sign up for ticket(s) when you register). As an extra treat during that time, there will be a Pie and Cake Walk at the pavilion to raise money for scholarships and stipends (open to all even if you don’t choose to do the Extension supper). Then at 8:00 p.m. let’s all meet back at the Lodge for the always entertaining Scholarship Auction!

Upon This Rock: Ozark Geology and Culture – 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Immerse yourself in geology by spending a day visiting native stone buildings, including Zoe Lodge, Current River Lodge, Shannondale CommunityCenter, Akers Zion Church and more. Explore how the Ozark people used native materials to learn to live on the land they chose. We will explain how similar vernacular architecture examples can be used to teach local geology and the history/culture of any area. Some walking, no extensive hiking. Hosted by Jo Schaper.

Birds, Blooms and more! – 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Identify diverse birds and fall flowers at Echo Bluff and continue to Current River State Park. Participants will get an up-close view of glade habitats and the role they play in the Missouri Ozarks ecosystems. Some binoculars available, or bring your own!

Wildlife Management – 5:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Visit Peck Ranch to learn more about cooperative wildlife management strategies for invasive, reintroduced and endangered species. Elk and Feral Hogs will be the primary topics discussed by MDC wildlife biologists. Be advised, possible graphic content. Lunch will be at 1342 ft. on top of Stegall Mountain.

Salem History Tour – 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (lunch on your own in Salem): Visit the Ozark Natural & Cultural Resource Center in Salem to see how the community, organizations, and agencies are sharing the heritage, natural resources, and culture of this region through partnerships and programs. View the quilt exhibit hosted by the Current River Scrappers Quilt Guild. Then explore Salem’s history and historic buildings during a leisurely walking tour through town.

Stream Ecology Float – 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ($10 box lunch): Water quality is a cornerstone for multiple agency management practices in the Missouri Ozarks. Float the Upper Current River, performing stream team cleanup and water quality analyses as used with school groups, such as macroinvertebrate collection and water chemistry. Kayaks and instruction provided.

Community Partners in Education: Oak Hill School & Bonebrake Center
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

($1 donation suggested at the Bonebrake Center, lunch on your own in Salem)

Teachers and interpreters will visit two sites where they can see “crossing the streams” in action! Oak Hill R-1 School District (a K-8 public school in southern Dent County) has developed partnerships with government agencies and non-profit groups to interpret nature and culture while meeting curriculum standards. Middle school students will show us the school’s outdoor classroom and Monarch Butterfly project site and lead their own interpretive program for younger students. Then travel to the Bonebrake Center of Nature and History to participate in several hands-on outreach programs.

AMI Scholarship and Professional Development Auction begins at 8:00 p.m.

Looking for Stuff! The annual AMI auction raises funds to provide student scholarships and professional development stipends. YOU CAN HELP — Talk to your neighborhood businesses; check your closets; bring items to donate to the registration table. Your generosity makes this happen every year!

Thursday, September 13th

 Concurrent Sessions continue 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Detailed agenda will be provided in your packet at registration.

 AMI Lunch and Business Meeting 12:00 -2:00 p.m.

To Register for the Workshop:

  • Go to to register for the workshop
  • Your registration confirmation email will provide details on how to proceed with payment via cash, check, or credit The registration survey does NOT include a payment option. Payment must be made with AMI treasurer Michelle Soenksen.
  • Registration & Payment Deadline: August 24, 2018

Workshop Registration:
Full Registration: $90                                     Lifetime Member Registration: $75
Student Registration: $45                                               One-Day Registration: $25