Feedback Appreciated…

Imagine that you have a hankering to become a Trail Guide volunteer, perhaps at Jamestown Audubon…  What would you think if we sent you to an on-line training manual like this:

It’s still a work in progress – more content and more pictures to be added.  But I think I’m set on the number of pages / major categories…  Unless…

If you have time, I would love to know what your fresh eyes see and what you think.  Too much info?  What should I eliminate?  Not enough?   What’s missing?

Once I work out the details online using your feedback, I could make it into a printed manual…

Thanks in advance…  I appreciate your honesty!

7 thoughts on “Feedback Appreciated…

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    I did read over this manual. Last year, I revised and edited similar manuals for Mountain Lake Conservancy (Virginia). Here are my recommendations:

    With all the bullets–put bold simple headings (similar to Logistics) that summarize the paragraph. On Discovery Walk, better to have the “schedule” maybe with times. Those paragraphs really are describing the schedule but it’s unclear.

    On Logistics “The Walk” really isn’t the walk yet. The guide has to explain the rules/guidelines at the beginning so that should renamed such as The Rules.

    You seem to try to caution about every possible contingency or problem. Not only could this deter volunteers but it makes it difficult to read. Maybe you could have a part in the end about troubleshooting, first aid, liability etc. which would address these issues.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Hello Jennifer,

    We were looking into volunteering for our local DNR a few weeks ago, and found that the info we could access was rather . . . clinical. It didn’t do anything to generate excitement, and actually it just sounded like a big headache. It sort of took the helium out of our balloon, so to speak =)

    What we liked about the manual is that it covered all the bases, and did so while holding our interest. If we were in the area and were potential volunteers, the manual would have encouraged us and left us feeling like we really know what we’re getting into. Because volunteering is a big commitment, it’s probably okay to have such an in-depth manual — it could also be a screening method to make sure that volunteers will take the time to inform themselves and be prepared.

    We say all this while assuming that this isn’t the first contact a potential volunteer would have — that they have already expressed interest and actively want to learn what they are going to be getting themselves into =)

  3. I glanced over it but won’t give suggestions because I have no experience of such things (it looks totally great to me! ) I just want to give you support because you are doing such a great job getting kids involved. I know it all takes a lot of work.

  4. Hi Jennifer,

    You’re doing a great job with the manual! I like that you included so much information, so people can make an informed decision on if they would be suitable as a guide, if they would like it, and what to expect. I found it very interesting and easy to read and I especially appreciated the next and previous links at the bottom.

  5. Hi Jennifer,
    I have a small amount of experience leading nature walks with school groups and I sure could have used your Trail Guide to save learning the hard way! I think it looks great and would be of use to volunteers everywhere, although I understand it is meant for use at your Center. I especially liked the mention of out-of-control groups because I had one of these and it was a traumatic experience. The problem was compounded by the fact that while the boys (Grade 3) were wild, the girls were fine and couldn’t learn because of the over-the-top behaviour of the y group. The parent helper was with a shy little girl and no help whatsoever. I also did Pond Studies with Gr. 10 students and a fair bit of talk (introduction, instructions) was required. I found having the group sit (I brought a plastic sheet when it was damp) made it easier to keep everyone’s attention for a longer period. I don’t think there is too much cautionary information in the mix. Great job!

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