Park Interpreter

Careers in the Redwoods

A park interpreters’ job is to create connections between parks and visitors to parks. Today, Erika Granadino is doing this by leading a virtual hike at Humboldt Redwoods State Park in southern Humboldt County. Erika’s job with California State Parks is reimagining how field trips happen through the passPORTS Project.  

Her programs use a combination of digital instructional materials and quality teaching practices to empower teachers and students to play, learn, serve, and share in California State Parks. She offers programs in English and Spanish on a variety of themes including the stories of influential women who worked to save our magnificent redwood forests. passPORTS Programs takes park interpreters into classrooms across the state.

What skills are important for park interpreters?

Being personable and able to relate stories to our visitors is a very important skill for us to be successful. When visitors arrive at our parks, we don’t know why they’ve come. It’s our job to figure that out and to provide a memorable experience, hoping that they enjoy it so much that they will care about the park and what it represents.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to become a park interpreter?

Hone your knowledge and skills with a connection to nature. A park interpreter’s job is a combination of science and art, refined by communication. Knowing what is in front of you is as important as finding ways for people to understand why they should care. The best park interpreters know a lot about nature but are also musicians, storytellers, and leaders.