Environmental Interpretation

Date:16 Nov, 2014

Environmental Interpretation

Stories are the tie that binds people to place and creates memorable experiences. The field of environmental Interpretation is all about the story–communicating facts and information in a way that is purposeful and engaging.

Through the Caribbean Birding Trail and through trained guides we interpret the Caribbean for both residents and travelers and use the region’s cultural and natural resources as our storylines.

Interpretation is formally defined as a “mission-based approach to communication that forges an intellectual and emotional connection between an audience and a resource.”

Interpretation is the space between the resource (in our case, birds) and the visitor. Either we leave filling that space to chance, or we purposefully help the visitor experience the Caribbean and its birds. As Freeman Tilden wrote, the job of the interpretive guide is “to reveal the beautiful truths that lie behind the appearances.”

Ted Eubanks and Fermata have written an interpretive strategy for the CBT and key KBAs (Key Biodiversity Areas) in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Grenada. In addition, Ted has developed an avitourism strategy for Antigua and Barbuda, a plan that includes the interpretive component. As the CBT project progresses, interpretive strategies will be developed for all of the Caribbean islands.

Use the links below to access the Interpretive Plan developed by Fermata. The Plan also includes a thorough market analysis of the Caribbean tourism industry, as well as recommendations for improving the capacity of select sites. The CBT is focusing on seven specific sites in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Grenada to pilot the CBT project, and will be incorporating new sites and new countries in the coming months.

High resolution Interpretive Plan [PDF 24 MB]
Low resolution Interpretive Plan [PDF 3 MB]

The basic structure of the Interpretive Framework is as follows. Click here to see how it is applied to a specific country like Antigua and Barbuda.


Theme (Central Theme)

Bird by bird I’ve come to know the earth…Pablo Neruda

  • Know the Caribbean, bird by bird.

The focus on the central theme is birds, even if metaphorically. At one level we have every expectation that people will use the CBT to watch birds. Certainly this strategy will address their needs. But at another level birds provide a perspective of Caribbean patrimony as a whole. Given the audiences that we have identified for this strategy, this metaphorical use of birds is critical. Bird by bird we come to know the Caribbean.

Storylines (Subthemes)

  • One of a Kind

The Caribbean islands have given rise to an astonishing number of endemic species.

  • Out of One, Many

Each Caribbean Island hosts a number of species that have radiated from a single ancestor (or a limited number of ancestors) that found its way across the water to Caribbean lands.

  • The Poetry of Motion

The Caribbean islands offer critical habitat and species sites for migratory birds that otherwise have little to depend on other than instinct and these small islands in the vast open waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • At the Edge

The Caribbean islands are aligned along a political, social, cultural, geographical, and ecological divide. This is the Caribbean patrimony.




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