Introduction to Visitor Services


Target Audience:

Anyone involved with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visitor services or public use programs, including project leaders, natural resource managers, environmental educators, interpretive staff, outreach specialists, outdoor recreation planners, park rangers, and volunteers.

Summary and Objectives:

Visitor services professionals today are facing the challenges of an increasingly sophisticated public, increasing visitation, and shrinking budgets while maintaining the biological integrity of refuge resources. This course will familiarize participants with the history, regulations, and policies that guide our work to connect the American public to the nature of the Service's mission. Topics covered will include: understanding visitor services standards; defining and determining the differences between and use of interpretation, environmental education, and outreach programs; and an overview of emerging technologies and techniques to help participants enhance the quality of refuge visitor services programs.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the visitor services standards and how to apply them to their field station's programs and facilities.
  • Define and determine the mix of interpretive, environmental education, and outreach programs at their field station to effectively communicate with visitors.
  • Identify emerging technologies and communications techniques applicable to Service programs.
  • Identify ways to engage new and non-traditional partners in the work of the Service.

Competency Addressed: 

Customer Service - Basic, Planning and Evaluating - Basic, Interpersonal Skills - Basic, Strategic Thinking - Basic, Outdoor Recreation Management - Basic

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