Item: On-site interpretation-a tool for increasing avalanche awareness
Title: On-site interpretation-a tool for increasing avalanche awareness
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1998 International Snow Science Workshop, Sunriver, Oregon
Authors: Roland V. Emetaz
Abstract: On-site interpretation is recognized as a useful tool for increasing people's awareness of environmental processes. Interpretation of the 1995 avalanche event at Mt. Shasta, California, is being used to illustrate the powerful force of avalanches. In 1996,. members of the American Association of Avalanche Professionals seized the opportunity and formed a partnership with the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The goal of the partnership is to provide on-site interpretation of the 1995 event for thousands who visit the area each year, with hopes of increasing visitors' appreciation of the powerful forces of snow avalanches. The first step of the project involved recognizing the significance of the event and the unique opportunity that the site's accessibility provided for reaching visitors. The next step required finding someone willing to lead the project and steer it toward completion . Roland Emetaz, a retired Forest Service professional and associate of the Northwest Avalanche Center, rose to the challenge of leading the project. Interpretive methods were evaluated, and the team determined that an interpretive trail and viewpoint would be most effective in conveying the message. Visitors would learn about the awesome power of a snow avalanche event and gain understanding of its formation and movement through a forest landscape. The potential audience was considered and the site location was selected based on the observable changes in the landscape due to the avalanche. The interpretive mood, "being within or being part of the event," will provoke the visitors' thoughts toward the power of the event. The theme: "Forces of Nature," was identified, and finally the objective was articulated: visitors will leave the site with a new appreciation for the forces of a snow avalanche.
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Keywords: avalanche awareness, interpretation, avalanche interpretive writing, avalanche education
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