Visitor Services Webinar Series

This webinar series covers a wide variety of topics involving Visitor Services topics. These webinars will share cutting edge topics, tools and resources in Visitor Services. This series targets USFWS employees interested in staying informed about the most up-to-date Visitor Services topics by engaging with experts in the field.

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Disclaimer: This webinar series is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent FWS policy or constitute endorsement by FWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use. Mention of any product names, companies, web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.


Webinar Descriptions

USFWS Sense of Wonder Awards

  • Each region annually nominates an employee for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sense of Wonder recognition program. This award program showcases outstanding achievements in interpretation and environmental education. Watch, listen and learn from their achievements to advance your own visitor services program.

2015 Awards

2016 Awards

2017 Awards

2018 Awards

Graphic Design for Non Designers

  • Details: You may not be a trained graphic designer, but if you find yourself in a position of designing for your site this webinar will get you familiar with the fundamentals of design. Whether you’re a content creator who can’t afford a professional designer,or you're a non-designer on a team where the designers are always too busy to help, you need to sign up for Graphic Design Basics for Non-Designers, It will provide you with a working knowledge of practical design tips that will go a long way to making anything you create visually appealing and more likely to achieve results.

  • Presenters: Mesha Wood (USFWS)

  • Recorded: May 15, 2020

  • Duration: 80 Minutes

Interpretation is Not Dumbing It Down!

  • Details: The number one rule of interpretation is “know your audience.” The interpreter must be able to translate methodologies when the scientist is the audience.

  • Presenters: Julia Pinnix

  • Recorded: May 27, 2020

  • Duration: 51 Minutes

Introduction to Volunteer.gov

  • Details: We provide an in-depth overview of the website so that volunteers and managers can get the most out of the newly redesigned platform.

  • Presenters: DC Carr (USFWS)

  • Recorded: August 25, 2020

  • Duration: 78 Minutes

Special Use Permits

  • Details: An overview presentation on Special Use Permits and field questions.

  • Presenters: Maggie O’Connell and Ashleyann Perez-Rivera (USFWS)

  • Recorded: November 5, 2020

  • Duration: 58 Minutes

Universal Design Doing Mini-reviews

  • Details: Dive-in the awesome-sauce and learn more about mini-review design.

  • Presenters: D.C. Carr (USFWS)

  • Recorded: October 29, 2019

  • Duration: 63 Minutes

Using Good Graphics to Tell Your Story

  • Details: Human beings have been doing it forever. Cavemen used pictures painted on walls of caves to tell stories. European painters used multiple canvases to advance a story. Even today, comic books and graphic novels combine words and graphics to tell a story. Each site has its own unique story. Using good graphics in your publications, signs and other media can help tell the story to the visitors and provide them connections to the site.

  • Presenters: Mesha Wood (Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge)

  • Recorded: March 15, 2017

  • Duration: 58 Minutes

Virtual Bird Festival

  • Details: Join Environment for the Americas (EFTA), home of World Migratory Bird Day, and learn about some of the tools you can use to host a virtual festival and other activities that will reach your community. During this webinar, we’ll explore online tools and show some examples of virtual activities.

  • Presenters: Susan Bonfield and Allyssa Morris (Environment for the Americas)

  • Recorded: April 27, 2020

  • Duration: 58 Minutes

Virtual Interpretation and Outreach Tools

  • Details: With the current situation affecting public lands and the FWS, many Visitor Service professionals are wondering how they can still connect and communicate with their audiences, each other, and the broader population. And for many, that answer is the web. Whether you’re a park ranger, social media manager, or just looking for a way to leverage a web presence for your site, this webinar will provide you with ideas and tools.

  • Join us as we look at what to consider when planning virtual outreach, including 508 compliance, what platforms are available to use, where to post resources and also where to find them. We will also discuss how to use virtual tools and grow as a community.

  • Presenters: Maggie O’Connell, Kristen Gilbert and Toni Westland

  • Recorded: April 27, 2020

  • Duration: 85 Minutes

Virtual Learning: Part 2

  • Details: Lessons learned from Visitor Services. Real programs and grassroots tools that were successfully developed to engage their audiences. Real stories and real advice. What more could you want in a webinar!

  • Presenters: Becky Larkins, Leah Eskelin, Rebecca Lewis, Courtney Celley and Logan Sauer

  • Recorded: May 19, 2020

  • Duration: 75 Minutes

Virtual Storytelling

  • Details: Connecting Children to Nature from a Distance. Parents and their children are looking for new ways to connect to nature, to learn about their area, and to explore the arrival of spring and summer during COVID19. You can help by introducing topics of local interest to early learners and providing parents with some structured activities that are fun and educational.

  • Presenters: Susan Bonfield and Genie Moore (San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex)

  • Recorded: May 7, 2020

  • Duration: 43 Minutes

Virtual Volunteers

  • Details: Virtual volunteering, e-volunteering, micro volunteering, digital volunteering - it goes by many names, but it all means the same: people volunteering remotely via a computer or handheld device, including a smartphone. It’s a practice that’s been around for more than 30 years, and it presents terrific opportunities for volunteers to donate time and expertise as a part of your site’s volunteer program. Yet, many sites aren’t utilizing this great opportunity to engage even more volunteers in their programs. Why is it worth encouraging at your site? What policies do you need in place? How can you support volunteers as online volunteers? How can you track and celebrate their accomplishments

  • Presenters: Derec Carr (USFWS)

  • Recorded: April 15, 2020

  • Duration: 79 Minutes

Visitor Estimation: Current Practices, Barriers, and Opportunities to Accurately Counting Your Visitors Broadcast

  • Details: Accurately estimating the number of visitors to National Wildlife Refuges is important to the NWRS, yet a number of factors can make accurate and reliable estimation a challenge. Regions 2, 4 and 8, the Human Dimensions Branch, and the Division of Visitor Services and Communications, have partnered with Clemson University and the University of Washington on a study that examines both existing visitor estimation practices and innovative new approaches. This broadcast will feature findings from the first phase of the study, which included a literature review and interviews with visitor services staff. Researchers and Service staff will present key insights and discuss recommendations, which include a working list of different estimation methods and key attributes for FWS staff to consider in choosing between them. Presenters will also preview future research efforts and field questions from the audience.

  • Presenters: Michelle Reilly, Chantel Jimenez and Kevin Lowry (USFWS), Matthew Brown and Danielle Dagan (Clemson University) and Spencer Wood and Sama Winder (University of Washington)

  • Recorded: December 9, 2020

  • Duration: 62 Minutes

Water Connections: Creating and Managing a Paddling Program at Your Site

  • Details: Learn how to create and manage a paddling (canoeing and kayaking) program that will connect visitors to a site’s waterways in a fun and safe manner. During this presentation, Chelsea Utter discusses the Kids in Kayaks Program at Wallkill River NWR and shares tips on how to set-up and manage a staff-led paddling program. Blaine Eckberg explains how NCTC operates their staff-assisted paddling trips and how you can do the same at your site. Gracie Gooch explains how Okefenokee NWR operates their concession, lease, and special use permit program in which private outfitters provide trips. Tips on program safety and accessibility are also be covered.

  • Presenters: Blaine Eckberg (NCTC), Gracie Gooch (Okefenokee NWR) and Chelsea Utter (Walkill NWR)

  • Recorded: July 17, 2020

  • Duration: 76 Minutes

World Migratory Bird Day 2021 Workshop Cohorts Presentation

  • Details: Join us for this webinar to kickoff the Service’s on-site and virtual programs celebrating World Migratory Bird Day 2021 with the theme, Sing, Fly, Soar — Like a Bird! The NWRS and Migratory Bird programs are hosting this webinar to support field stations in offering a variety of onsite self-guided/masked and virtual activities and events. During the month of May 2021, we will highlight national wildlife refuges as the best places where birds and people thrive. We will focus on engaging young adults, 18 to 34 years of age, who are already passionate about birds or ignite their curiosity to learn. Integral to the celebration is showcasing cultural ties to the places where birds migrate and NWRS Bird Ambassador artwork. This webinar will review educational and promotional products you can use for events at your station. Using these products, combined with items from previous years, will put your team and community in the spirit of migration!

  • Presenters: WMBD 2021 Workshop Team

  • Recorded: April 18, 2021

  • Duration: 65 Minutes