Our capabilities include the development of interpretive master plans, exhibits, interpretive panels and other print media, curriculum projects, visitor studies, and professional development in the fields of environmental education and environmental interpretation.
Our clients are diverse, ranging from governmental agencies to private and non-profit institutions. Project sites include interpretive centers, ecological reserves, museums, botanical gardens, zoos, parklands, and educational institutions.
The Acorn Group was established in 1990 and incorporated in California in 1995. It is certified as both a Small Business and Women’s Business Enterprise. Certified by the National Association for Interpretation, our interpretive planners are passionate about their work. They take delight in seeing plans and drawings become reality and watching visitors engage in new experiences.
The Acorn Group is committed to delivering the finest services and products related to environmental interpretation and education. We enjoy the challenge of fulfilling the interpretive and educational needs of diverse populations while promoting stewardship of natural and cultural resources.
The Acorn Group brings extensive knowledge of interpretive planning and frequently works with clients who need to balance the needs of visitors with sensitive resource management issues. We also bring extensive knowledge of environmental education, both in theory and practice, and exercise care in the development of programs and policies that enlighten without advocacy.
The Acorn Group is well known for its professionalism and capabilities. The company was founded on the tenets of integrity, innovation, and responsibility, and we consistently reflect these values in every project, regardless of scope or size. Our goal is to advance environmental literacy through inspiration and knowledge.
OUR APPROACH TO INTERPRETIVE PLANNING
Interpretation is a communication strategy used to help visitors form meaningful connections with extraordinary places. Effective interpretive experiences provoke visitor interest, relate the significance of the message to the visitor’s everyday life, and provide a genuinely enjoyable encounter.
Interpretation moves beyond the presentation of factual information to reveal larger messages through thematic communication. Themes—key messages that resonate with visitors, spark connections, and inspire supportive behaviors—ensure that visitor experiences at a particular site are both memorable and meaningful. Themes take the tangible, physical qualities of a site’s resources and transform them into portals to their intangible meanings. This link between the tangibles and intangibles helps build understanding, appreciation, and support for the land’s unique story among visitors as well as the community at large.
At The Acorn Group, we believe that interpretive master planning, by its very nature, should ensure that designs, products, and services are cost-effective, seamlessly integrated with site design, able to evolve over time, and capable of generating the goodwill and material support vital to an institution’s long-term success. A quality interpretive planning process creatively addresses the management objectives of the client, other relevant planning efforts, the needs and interests of visitors, input from the surrounding community, and the long-term needs of the site itself.
Our planning process bears this in mind. We analyze the physical conditions. We capitalize on the opportunities and we transform the challenges. In client meetings, charrettes, and front-end evaluation work, we strive to create forums for open, honest discussions. Last, we create thoughtful, comprehensive, and creative planning tools that support the visitor’s experiences over long-term implementation. Since every project is different, teams of specialized independent contractors are assembled to meet the needs of each client.
We believe the outcome of this planning effort should be memorable and satisfying recreational experiences that exceed visitor expectations, cultivate stewardship values, and help fulfill an institution’s vision.