Interpreting Nature’s Stories: Falcons at Acadia National Park

While working as the Raptor Interpretation Intern at Acadia National Park in Maine, I had the great opportunity to receive training and mentoring on interpretive writing.  In the environmental education profession, interpretive writing’s goal is to facilitate emotional and intellectual connections to the subject, or, to put it simply, to help the reader to not only learn, but also feel something about a topic.  For example, a nature story about a hike in the woods is interpretive writing:  it aims not just to teach you something about the animals or plants seen on the walk, but also tries to convey feelings of what it is like to spend time in nature.

My writings focused on migrating birds of prey seen from the Cadillac Mountain hawk watch site.  These writings were published on Acadia National Park’s website to keeping regular hawk watchers up-to-date on what had been happening at Acadia and informing other US hawk watch sites how many hawks we had seen.  Every year hundreds of places around the country count migrating hawks, turning hawk watching into an effective scientific tool for estimating raptor populations.

Another great aspect of the Acadia National Park internship was the yearly Peregrine Falcon chick banding.  The rocky cliffs of Acadia are famous for their nesting Peregrine Falcons, and in 2012, we were lucky to have two successful nests.  During the day, I presented interpretive programs for visitors to the park, helping them to see and learn about the falcons.  When the birds finally had chicks, I tagged along with the Park’s biologist to photograph the event!

For questions or comments on hawk migration, interpretive writing, Peregrine Falcons, or Acadia National Park, feel free to contact me.

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