Category Archives: News

AMI Membership

A Message from the Membership Chair:

I hope this message finds all of you healthy and safe. I know this has been an interesting year for everyone and I am looking forward to a better 2021. I hope that in the past you have found your membership within this organization useful and enjoyable.

This letter is a reminder that your membership within AMI is up for renewal. Each year’s membership begins the first day of that year’s conference and expires the day before the start of the following year’s conference. The sooner you renew the sooner you will start getting the AMIgo newsletter. Please also remember if you are serving in ANY capacity for the organization (board member, member at large, committee member, etc) you are required to be an active member of the organization.

If you would like to renew your membership, please complete the form on the following page, along with your minimal dues which can be sent to AMI Treasurer Phillip Brinkley (see address following form).

Thank you for your continued interest in the Association of Missouri Interpreters. I look forward to seeing you at the next AMI conference in 2021 in Central Region. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me.


Stephanie Kemp Membership Chair

Following the Rivers: AMI 2012

The theme for this year’s AMI workshop is “Rivers connect us to life-sustaining resources through time.”  We will be exploring how our cultural and natural heritage has shaped the state, with a spotlight on the deep Missouri Ozarks and the stories we tell to interpret our resources. Pre-conference activities start August 20 in Van Buren, Mo. The workshop is Aug. 21-23, so mark your calendars.  

Of course we can’t have a workshop without you! We need presenters for sessions and as field trip leaders (either preconference or on Wednesday, Aug. 22).   We are especially looking for presentations on the Civil War in south central Missouri, Ozark grist mills, and storytelling. 

E-mail your program proposals to Matt Kantola or mail to:

Matt Kantola
Grand Gulf State Park
Route 3, Box 3554
Thayer, Missouri   65791-9305

Storytelling Workshop Offered in KC Area

The Greater Kansas City Interpretive Sites Coalition will be hosting a storytelling workshop on February 2. 

This three-hour workshop will open the world of storytelling possibilities to you.  Tap into the amazing power of storytelling to educate, entertain, enlighten, and empower.  Discover how to reach out through the magic of stories and explore the use of stories to enhance your interpretive programs. Storytelling helps your programs come to life, cost nothing and can be taken with you anywhere! Learn about stories for nature walks, wildlife presentations, history and more.  Folklore, personal memories, multicultural stories, and myths all can be used to spice up your presentations.  Anyone can become a storyteller!  Instructor Molly Postlewait has been telling stories for over 20 years and is an award-winning storyteller.

Participants will receive a professionally-produced CD, Whisper in the Wind, created by the National Association for Interpretation.  The stories are told by interpreters from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas display a variety of story styles.  This CD was awarded the National Association for Interpretation Outstanding Product for 2011.

Proceeds from the workshop will go to the Greater Kansas City Interpretive Site Coalition and to the NAI Region 6 for the production of the CD.

Download the registration form (Microsoft Word Document) for additional details.

Constitution & Bylaws Update

In March of 2011, Eugene Vale and John Miller undertook the task of revising and “cleaning” the Association of Missouri Interpreters’ constitution and bylaws.  No significant changes were made for the “cleaned” AMI bylaws.   This version simply removes duplications, places items in the proper headings, and posts the bylaw changes approved over the last 9 years.  A huge THANK YOU to Eugene Vale for his hard work in cleaning up these bylaws.  The bylaw committee will begin work in the coming year to identify areas where the bylaws need to be updated or amended before the next AMI business meeting at the 2012 conference.

The original 2004 bylaws and the revised 2011 version are available for your review on the Members Only page of the website.  You will need to log in to view the bylaws.

Fred Christian – Gentleman Mentor

by John Miller, Region 6 Director

NAI and the interpretive community mourned the loss of a true master interpreter, Fred Christian, on September 2nd of this year.  His Marilyn postponed the Memorial service to allow family, friends, and fellow interpreters to share the amazing life of this outstanding man.  Specifics of the memorial are attached.

I am not alone in knowing that Fred Christian had many positive influences on the profession of interpretation.  Although Fred had taken a less active role in NAI over the past couple of years, he still commanded a magnetic personality that enlightened everyone.  There were several ways to describe Fred: friend, husband, father, Naturalist, Historian, photographer, interpreter, elder statesman.  However, my best description of Fred was as a “gentleman mentor”.  Like Bob Jennings, Fred Christian was always available to listen, show interest, and give sound advice to young and seasoned interpreters alike.  Fred’s passion for interpretation was always contagious.  His grace and warm personality gave you a better feeling than the warmest down-filled blanket.  Fred’s presence, whether as a presenter, State Coordinator, Awards Chair, committee member, or attendee completed the interpretive experience for many of us at our conferences.  

My last conversation with Fred was at the 2009 Region 6 workshop in Shreveport, LA.  Fred offered me a seat on the tailgate of his truck prior to the scholarship auction.  Fred had seen me play shutterbug with my camera and wanted me to see his new camera and lens.  Fred quickly turned from giddy kid to gentleman mentor as he shared how he had used the new camera to take photos that he had always dreamed of taking.  He interpreted the feel of the lens, the look of the zoom, the sound of the shutter, the hunger to take better photos, and the smell of the upcoming BBQ.  What I thought was only the passing of a couple of minutes had actually been an imperceptible 30 minutes of some of the most valuable photo tips I had ever received. 

I treasure the time I spend with all interpreters at state, region, and national conferences, but mentors like Fred are truly the giants of our profession.  His influence on all interpreters, from students to old timers like me, is something that may never be equaled.  While I will miss my friend Fred, I am comforted to know that the legacy of this gentleman mentor will be strong for years to come. 

A Celebration to Honor the Life of Fred Christian will be held on Friday, November 4, 2011 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.  at the American Legion Post #14 at 5315 South Lakeshore Drive, Shreveport, LA. Region Sixers are invited to join Fred’s family and friends for food and drink.  Bring your pictures, funny stories, and memorabilia to share.  More details about the celebration and memorial service are available here (PDF).  Fred’s obituary from the Shreveport Times is available here (PDF).

2012 Awards Nominations

Each year, AMI recognizes outstanding interpreters and interpretation in the state of Missouri with a whole panel of awards.  We count on our membership to keep us updated on where and when great interpration is happening, and to nominate their peers.  Those of you that attended the 2011 conference know that we only received one award nomination this year.  The Awards Committee has challenged us to fill all the categories for 2012, so it’s time to start nominating!  Download the nomination application here (Microsoft Word Document), refresh yourself on the award categories and criteria, and nominate someone you know today.  Let’s make sure that the efforts of Missouri’s interpreters get recognized in 2012!  Contact Awards Chair Cyndi Cogbill if you have any questions.

Financial Assistance for CIT Training

The National Association for Interpretation will conduct a “Train the Trainers” workshop on August 22-26, 2011  at Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood, Missouri.  This workshop is the first step in becoming a Certified Interpretive Trainer (CIT).  Thanks to generous donors and funding from members of AMI, financial assistance is available for the workshop fee (travel and lodging costs are not covered).  These stipends are open to any AMI member demonstrating need.

Two levels of stipends are available: 1) 100% of the workshop fee or 2) 50% of the workshop registration fee.  There will be a one 100% stipend and two 50% stipends.  If you receive the 50% stipend, you (or your organization) are responsible for paying the remaining 50% fee.

Selections will be made by a board committee, and all applications will remain confidential.  Priority will be based on need, along with service to NAI and the profession, as well as following application instructions.  More information is included in the application, which can be downloaded here as a Microsoft Word Document or an Adobe PDF file.


Deadline is July 1.

2011 AMI Awards

Some news from your 2011 AMI Awards Committee:

AMI is a professional organization that assists and supports the work of individuals and groups engaged in resource interpretation.  A key word in that statement is “supports”.  How do you feel supported?  Is it through encouragement or a pat on the back?  The feeling of support from our colleagues and friends can spark creativity, be very motivating, and rewarding.

As a member of AMI, each one of us is given a chance to support a colleague annually.  This recognition of support happens by nominating an individual or group of people for an AMI award.   The AMI awards committee (Connie Grisler, Steve Jacobsen, Kevin McCarthy, Janet Price, Lee Wilbeck, Chanda Williams, and Cyndi Cogbill) developed five categories for our awards.  As a committee, we encourage you to read through these awards and consider a person or group that is deserving of recognition.  Missouri has top-notch interpreters who have done, or are doing programs that deserve our support.  This is your chance to recognize what your colleague in the interpretive field has accomplished.   

We have taken several new steps to make this process easier for you.   Read over the categories to see which best applies.  A numerical score will be given for each criterion within that category.  Instead of a list of things, consider the following questions:

  • What makes that person, group, program or media stand out? 
  • How have they affected you or others? 
  • How do they further the field of interpretation? 

Support AMI and your colleagues by nominating them for outstanding interpretation, today!

2011 Awards Nomination forms are available here as a Microsoft Word Document or an Adobe PDF file.  The deadline for nominations is July 15.