Impacts of COVID-19 on interpretive programming in Alberta’s provincial parks
Keywords:COVID-19, Interpretation, parks, Alberta, impacts, programs
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people visit parks and protected areas, including participation in interpretive programs. This project investigated the impacts of COVID-19 on the number of programs offered, visitor attendance, staff workloads, safety precautions, and program goals. In the fall of 2020, we interviewed Alberta Parks’ visitor services coordinators and environmental education managers. Thematic analyses and descriptive statistics revealed that, because of COVID-19, fewer programs were offered, program attendance decreased, safety measures were implemented for visitors and staff, workload increased for interpretive staff and supervisors, and interpretive goals changed slightly. These results will help park interpreters, environmental educators, and park managers plan for and manage interpretive programs in order to make the programs safe.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Glen T. Hvenegaard