Bernheim’s interpretive programs manager wins prestigious award

Wren Smith honored for her work in nature interpretation
Wren Smith (brown hat) led a lesson for interpreters for the CiG Certification in 2015.

CLERMONT, Ky. — The National Association for Interpretation recently named Wren Smith, interpretive programs manager at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, a recipient of the Shining Star Award for her work in nature interpretation.

NAI is a professional association for those involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources. In honor of NAI’s 30th Anniversary, this award is presented to 30 interpreters across the country for their outstanding achievements in interpretation through education, inspiration, storytelling and the ability to guide others to the beauty and majesty of nature.

NAI defines interpretation as “a mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in the resource.” With the use of nature interpretation, Smith helps Bernheim visitors develop a personal relationship with nature and the cultural landscape, making visits to the forest meaningful and magical.

“We are thankful to have Wren as a part of our team at Bernheim,” said Bernheim Executive Director Dr. Mark Wourms. “She brings an incredible level of excitement and fun to her programs, encouraging learning and respect of the wonderful world of nature.”

Wourms said Smith also shares her knowledge through an innovative and renowned Volunteer Naturalist program.

“Wren has cultivated a deep pool of well-informed and highly enthusiastic naturalists who are integral to the success of Bernheim’s mission to
connect people with nature,” said Wourms.

Smith has also advanced the lexicon of interpretation through published articles and professional lectures as well as her numerous Certified Interpretive Guide trainings that educate and inspire current and future interpreters.

“Wren is key to helping Bernheim succeed in its vision to inspire the exploration of our deep connections with nature,” said Bernheim Education Director Whitney Wurzel. “She is an inspiration to all, and it is an honor to call her our colleague.”

This isn’t Smith’s first recognition. She was also the 2010 Kentucky’s Naturalist of the Year.

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