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IGA Interpretive Hiking Guide



The Apprentice Interpreter course is designed to introduce you to effective interpretation skills, local natural history, cultural history and park management. It is a great place to start your journey of discovery as an interpretive guide working in the Canadian Rockies.


  1. To become an Apprentice Interpreter you must take the Apprentice Interpreter Course.

This course is intended to train guides to work at an apprentice level while they gain the experience and knowledge to move on to the Professional Interpretive Hiking Guide Accreditation.

2. To become an Apprentice Hiking Guide you must take both the Apprentice Interpreter Course and Group Management Course



Apprentice Interpreter Course Content

Day 1 Natural History We will cover: -The basics of Canadian Rockies Geology (sedimentation, mountain building, erosion, rock types) – An introduction to glaciers and mountain weather – An introduction to mountain ecosystems (Typical mountain habitats, species interactions and ecosystem connections)

History and Park Management We will cover: – Eras of human presence from aboriginal to park creation – Evolution of concept of park- from playground to goal of ecological integrity – Current park management issues & initiatives

Day 2 Introduction to Interpretation We will cover: – An overview of interpretation and how interpretation is different from information – The basics of effective communication – How to build a thematic interpretive program

You must receive 70% or more on all 5 sections of the test to become accredited


IGA standards

Group Management Course

Day One

Morning:  Classroom Instruction


  •  legal responsibilities of the guide
  •  trip planning
  •  risk management
  •  group management skills.

Afternoon: Instructional Hike

We will spend the afternoon on a local, recognized trail where the course instructor will demonstrate and give instruction to reinforce the skills covered in the morning. We will also look at on trail group management skills and best practices for day hiking guides. This day is a chance for the Instructor to assess, through questioning.

Day Two – Full day hike, Student Assessment & Evaluation

Course participants will be expected to lead the group for a minimum of 30 minutes (total time will depend on group size). The focus on this day is assessment and evaluation, but instructors will also take advantage of opportunities to teach additional skills. More details on assessment and evaluation will be emailed to you prior to taking the course.

Note: All students taking this course must meet the course prerequisites, send in a copy of a valid standard first aid certificate and a hiking resume as soon as you register

Handbook Preview

We have great stories to tell you.

Effectively communicating the unique heritage of the mountain parks requires knowledge and fact, but it also requires an in-depth understanding of effective interpretation techniques. The Handbook for Interpretive Guides is filled with information that will help ensure your guests have an outstanding experience when they are travelling with you. It contains skills, strategies, examples and scripts that transform facts, figures and information associated with the natural and cultural heritage of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks into usable interpretive narratives.

The Handbook for Interpretive Guides was originally published in August, 2006 and is now on its sixth printing (over 1000 copies sold!). By request, the Handbook has been shipped to interpreters and park services throughout Canada. It has also been shipped to the Netherlands, Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom. It is praised for being an example of how local information can be transformed into usable interpretive stories.

Dates 2022
April 15-16  Apprentice Interpretive Guide
Location: Voshaar Outdoor & Education, Eibergen, Netherlands


Dates 2023
April 7-8