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Advancing Integral Heritage Management

This issue: The Interpretive Training Program Grows, we highlight the contributions of Art Peterson, the Fire Island Project sets a precedent of the National Parks Service Planing, and many more PUPdates!

Inaugural Membership Issue - February 2017


PUP has begun an exciting new phase of engagement. We are now incorporated as a non-profit organization with bylaws, a Board of Directors, Officers, a Coordinator, Advisors, and various kinds of Members – Yeah! These formal structures reflect our deep resolve to pursue our Mission and our practical need to be well organized for action. As our first Board Chair I feel a bit like a young lad walking amidst some very tall trees, amazed by the scope and depth of the PUP colleagues around the world. We are a passionate, diverse group of talented individuals who comprise a rising network of planners, interpreters, researchers, educators and conservators. Together we are making progress and we are poised for significant global impact in natural settings, national parks, historic sites. 

I wish to extend my personal appreciation to Jon Kohl and Stephen McCool as we all celebrate the release of their new book The Future Has Other Plans: Planning Holistically to Conserve Natural and Cultural Heritage (see below for more on the book)This landmark publication captures both the foundational values of our Consortium and the practical PUP approaches to Public Use Planning and Implementation. Please buy two copies – one to read and one to give away!  

Please visit us at; become a member of the PUP Consortium and help shape the movement of holistic conservation across our precious planet. We still have time - Act now. 

Be well, do good work and stay in touch…we are just a key stroke away! 

Best Regards,


Chair of the Board


The Interpretive Training Program Grows

Ivonne Oviedo

Representante Nacional, Honduras

Consorcio PUP

Translated by Gabriela Hernandez

Our interpretation trainings for guides and supervisors began with the RARE Center for Tropical Conservation in 1997 and have evolved ever since. The most recent version took place over a period of eight months between September 2015 and May 2016, when the PUP Consortium contributed to the strengthening of interpretative capacities in at least 4 of Honduras's main national parks.

The main objective of the training was to complement local capacities, to follow up with the public use plans and activities in the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge and in the Jeannette Kawas, Azul Meámbar, Celaque and La Tigra National Parks. Within this context, the proposal proposed the generation of interpretative products and programs, by 20 people directly related to ICF's public use programs, several NGOs and local tourism operators.

This experience was financially supported by USAID ProParque, a project that previously accompanied some of these areas in the elaboration of their public use plans in which the current director of the PUP Consortium participated.

The program was developed in the following phases:

I.               Workshop on basic interpretation, consisting of 12 days of intensive training focused on developing skills such as participation techniques, storytelling, presentation structure, use of objects and group management.

II.             Practical Phase I, in which the working groups (one per protected area) were supported in their elaboration of an interpretative script and in the preparation to participate in the workshop on advanced interpretation.

III.           Workshop on advanced interpretation, which was a six-day course on interpretative planning oriented to the different types of programming, non-personal means, interpretative frameworks, suitability of products to different audiences, graphic design and assembly of interpretation exhibits.

IV.           Practical Phase II, during which the team continued to support the groups in every protected area in the elaboration of the interpretative script.

Prior to each workshop participants were assigned readings and analysis of materials on interpretation. One of the fundamental aspects of this process was the "paradigm shift" generated in the mind of each participant in the program and the "paradigm shift" that engages the audience of an interpretative program.

We learned a lot about the evaluation process. In addition to evaluating the technical competences throughout the process, there was opportunity to recognize the participants' emotional condition at individual and group levels, which was very helpful in understanding their performance and identifying their suggestions to improve or enhance the evaluation system.

As the PUP Consortium we hope to follow up on this process with technical assistance. Although this ProParque seems new, it reflects a relationship established in the 1990s between RARE and bilingual nature guides in Honduras.

Please visit our website to read the article in Spanish.


PUP Profile: Art Peterson

Art Pedersen’s involvement in PUP reaches back almost to the beginning. The PUP Process was born in Honduras in 1998 within the conservation NGO, RARE Center for Tropical Conservation.  Art also has links with RARE beginning in the 1990s when he evaluated their guides training program. 

Landing at UNESCO World Heritage Center in 1999, an opportunity opened up to design a conservation project that dealt with processes to use tourism to strengthen biodiversity conservation.   Art grabbed the opportunity, and in 2000 facilitated RARE’s involvement into the four-year project with along with UNEP and the UN Foundation. PUP was an integral component of the project.  

At that time, Art founded the World Heritage Tourism Programme within the World Heritage Center. For ten years Art led the program, deepening his experience in World Heritage and tourism/visitor management. He wrote the first publication of UNESCO’s technical Paper series, Sustainable Tourism Management in World Heritage; it's been translated into Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese.

Though the RARE project ended in 2004, Art was a firm believer that there had to be a better way to plan that avoided plans ending on the shelf. So in 2006 he invited Jon Kohl and Steve McCool to a UNESCO conference in El Alhambra, Spain. Art stayed close to PUP and brought it around the world to Vietnam, Montenegro, Macedonia, Belize, and Portugal.

After Art left UNESCO and PUP became its own organization at the beginning of 2013, he became one of its advisors. Though originally from the United States, he now lives in Helsinki, Finland with his Finnish wife and daughter where he works as a consultant in heritage issues and teaches protected area management at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg in Germany. 

More recently his interests have been shifting toward outdoor recreation and education for young people. “If kids don't get outside who’s going to support the parks and protected areas?” He continues to sail and climb “before they put me in a wheelchair.” PUP thanks Art for all he has done… so far.


Fire Island Sets a Precedent for Greater Participation within National Park Service Planning

Jon Kohl

Coordinator, PUP Consortium

Costa Rica

Like all protected area agencies, the US National Park Service (NPS) produces many plans. Government regulations require that each national park produce many different kinds of plans. Fire Island National Seashore, a national park on a 26-mile-long barrier island off the southern coast of Long Island, New York is no exception.

In fact, in 2016, the park finished a ten-year process to develop its new management plan. Part of the long time required to finish was because it involved most its stakeholders in a dialogue about plan contents, for which the park enjoys considerable pride. After approval, the first plan to follow this participatory precedent was the Long Range Interpretive Plan (LRIP), a plan once again required of all NPS units to define interpretive themes, recommendations, and media.

Often parks hire outside or inside consultants to do plans for them, but those can result in plans with minimal implementation and ownership precisely because those consultants follow a strict technical and frequently routinized approach to generating them. In this case, the staff of Fire Island wanted a more participatory process, one that would bring its major stakeholders closer together.

The Consensus Building Institute, a nonprofit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA is a founding member of the PUP Consortium and a world renown expert in dispute resolution. PUP’s liaison there, Stacie Smith, had already been working on contentious issues in a couple of NPS units in the northeast, including one LRIP.

Smith joined with PUP’s coordinator, Jon Kohl, an expert in heritage interpretation to form a team with experience in both public engagement and technical aspects of interpretation. Their initial bid involved requesting a longer scoping trip and more participation than the terms of reference actually called for, and as such, surpassed the amount of money the park had for this project. Nonetheless, the staff very much liked this combination so they found additional funds to hire the PUP/CBI team.

At the time of this writing, the project is on-going, but has followed the participatory precedent set in the management plan:

1.     Initial discussions between PUP/CBI and NPS established principles of participation and involvement including that not we would not facilitate in person all aspects of the planning process. Our job was to guide NPS staff as it engaged stakeholders. In fact, the core planning staff has facilitated at least two internal workshops based on guidance by PUP/CBI.

2.     PUP/CBI helped to reach out to Spanish-speaking Ecuador immigrant community because one of us is fluent in Spanish.

3.     Further, PUP/CBI has become minimally involved in the community by offering a school program in a local school (to occur in mid-February) as well as a couple of presentations to local organizations.

4.     Park stakeholders may write some pieces of the plan.

5.     Park staff reports that their meetings are bringing major stakeholders closer together, giving them pretext to have conversations perhaps overdue. They recognize that the process itself is part of the development of park community capacity and community cohesion.

In summary, if all goes well, PUP/CBI and park staff hope that this experience serves as an example to emulate among other park units, at least in the Northeast, and another example of how PUP focuses on the public engagement and community building process as essential ingredients for plan implementation.

Overview of PUP’s Seminal Book:
The Future Has Other Plans: Planning Holistically to Conserve Natural and Cultural Heritage

Steve McCool

University of Montana

PUP Consortium Board Director

How do we build plans that effectively preserve the heritage values located within our various systems of national parks and other similar areas? This question confronts every park manager and planner, every student of heritage management, every academic doing research in these settings and most likely every environmental activist who has considered protection as a long term strategy. And the answer to this question is in some senses simple, and in others as complex as the world within which we live.

This is the topic of the new book by PUP Consortium members Jon Kohl and Steve McCool. The book, The Future has Other Plans, published by Fulcrum in cooperation with PUP is the newest addition to the Consortium’s growing research library. Kohl and McCool provide a detailed description in the first few chapters of the book of why many plans fail to be implemented and how this failure costs the world in terms of lost heritage and lost opportunity for those who come after us.They argue that when we dive deeper, it is our very outlook on the world, the most fundamental assumptions we make about that world that are ultimately the cause. By changing these assumptions and adopting a more integrated approach as to what is actually involved in planning, we not only build plans that can be implemented, we build better plans.

This integral world leads to the notion of explicitly considering internally held values, building, if necessary, as a sense of shared values among a site’s constituencies, redesigning institutions when they don’t fit the planning issue and being not just more competent technically, but confident as well. Kohl and McCool argue that planning more holistically results in plans that are not only better (in a technical sense as well as in the sense of more likely being implemented), but more adaptive and response to the uncertainties and changes of  the 21st century.

The book uses many different examples and case studies from throughout the world to illustrate not just problems, but how they can be addressed more effectively, efficiently and equitably. The Future has Other Plans serves as a “handbook” for the PUP Consortium and members would want to read it to better understand the philosophical foundation for the organization. For more information and to purchase at Amazon click on the following link, which also provides a bit of revenue for PUP.

For downloadable e-versions visit the publisher’s website.

To review the first 100 pages, see Google Play.

The Future Has Other Plans: Planning Holistically to Conserve Natural and Cultural Heritage

Crisis has enveloped the more than 200,000 nationally and regionally protected natural and cultural heritage sites around the world. Heritage managers - those who manage natural sites such as national parks, wilderness areas, and biosphere reserves, as well as those who manage cultural sites including historic monuments, battlefields, heritage cities, and ancient rock art sites - face an urgent need to confront this crisis, and each day that they don't, more of our planet's common heritage disappears. Although heritage management and implementation suffer from a lack of money, time, personnel, information, and political will, The Future Has Other Plans argues that deeper causes to current problems lurk in the discipline itself. Drawing on decades of practical experience in global heritage management and case studies from around the world, Jon Kohl and Steve McCool provide an innovative solution for conserving these valuable protected areas. Merging interdisciplinary and evolving management paradigms, the authors introduce a new kind of holistic planning approach that integrates the practice of heritage management and conservation with operational realities. 

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Press Release 1/29: HESNAC in Mexico Becomes the First PUP Country Office

10 January. The PUP Global Heritage Consortium and HESNAC, A.C. signed an MOU making the latter organization PUP’s first country office in representation of Mexico. This agreement means that HESNAC is duly authorized to manage and facilitate all PUP projects appropriate to its means in the country of Mexico. A country office is an agreement of mutual benefit as it not only allows PUP to maintain its decentralized network character but also increases its reach overseas and ensures proper administrative and diplomatic knowledge and management in the host country. For the country office, membership opens access to entities and personnel throughout the Consortium as well as leverages its international nature to promote projects and the PUP mission.

Liz Infante, PUP’s country representative and director of HESNAC, created the organization in 2016 expressly to promote PUP in Mexico. Its office is based in Mexico City.

HESNAC’s first project with PUP was to sponsor a six-site, four-state exploratory trip last May. Two of those sites have since begun working with PUP in the states of Campeche and Guanajuato. HESNAC in fact signed a two-year cooperative agreement with the Municipality of Calakmul to promote the destination and build its tourism capacity. The tourism division convened a multi-sectorial ecotourism committee to work with PUP/HESNAC. The largest municipality in Campeche, Calakmul is home to the Mixed World Heritage Calakmul Biosphere Reserve that consists of massive Mayan temples and a large surrounding forest.

More country offices to come soon.

Two New Projects in Mexico: Calakmul and Mineral de Pozos

Calakmul Biosphere Reserve

As a result of our six-site, four-state exploratory trip in May (Guanajuato, Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo), the project that first emerged is in the Municipality of Calakmul, Campeche, home of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, mixed World Heritage of Mayan city and forest. There during our trip, we visited a variety of stakeholders and sites and found that the tourism department of the municipality convened a whole range of stakeholders who together have formed a tourism committee. Thus we have agreed to collaborate with the will of this tourism committee to help them do what they want within the boundaries of our objectives. The committee wants to do destination marketing of the entire municipality which has not done any marketing. So part of the project would involve the marketing component and will include the Integrated Situation Analysis (see below). Once this occurs, the project may include different kinds of trainings, plannings, and implementation accompaniment. Whatever the actual portfolio that results, HESNAC has already signed a letter of collaboration with the municipality, a required formality. It has signed on our behalf although legally does not yet represent us. For now the only connection with have with HESNAC is that it is an institutional TSM member with us. Nonetheless this project is exciting because it represents very much of what we advocate: starting a cocreated project through an exploratory trip that starts without money and together we will build this project. Obviously our role is in large part finding money, collaborators, providing methodology, some training, and accompaniment.

Mineral de Pozos

In Guanajuato, there is an old gold and silver mining town with three main sets of ruins. The area has been declared “Pueblo Mágico” by the Ministry of Tourism. PUP and HESNAC met with various stakeholders during the exploratory trip. Since then a committee has formed with the goal of at least carrying out the public use planning for the ruins area so that it would turn into the main attraction for the town. Trainings and development of ancillary products would accompany the development process.

Process Note: In both cases, there is no initial funding which follows the PUP Process of initiating dialogues first, determining what all sides truly want to create, and then work together to see that it becomes reality. This avoids the traditional top-down approach often imposed upon local communities and driven by outside money, politics, and expertise which very often leads to plan and project failure. 

PUP Participation in the NAI International Interpretation Conference in Los Cabos, Mexico

PUP has some presence in the National Association for Interpretation international conference, this year in Los Cabos, Mexico, third week of March.

  • Sam Ham (advisor) will give the conference keynote
  • Jon Kohl (coordinator) will present about barriers to implementing interpretive plans
  • Marisol Mayorga (technical service member) will offer a poster about authenticity
  • Mariela García (PUP ally) and Marisol Mayorga will present interpretation in Mesoamerica
  • Liz Infante (Mexico country director), Jon Kohl, Marisol Mayorga, Sam Ham will participate in a panel discussion about interpretation in Latin America and PUP’s role
  • At the end of the first day, PUP will sponsor an informational and networking meeting for those interested in interpretation in Latin America
Latin American Conservation Think Tank
Some two years ago Dr. Jeremy Radachowsky, PUP advisor, and PUP coordinator Jon Kohl began a conversation about thinking outside of the box and how a think tank would serve to examine topics often ignored by conventional conservation (organized crime, cattle herding, and other possible avenues of conservation). Given that PUP aims to transform the global paradigm in heritage management and planning, a TT would be an additional mechanism to generate ideas and to implement these ideas. Since no one else in conservation seems to fill this niche, we figure it to be potentially attractive for donors. 

Spanish Interpretation Webinar Series to Launch

The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) has offered English webinars on interpretation for some years. PUP coordinator Jon Kohl as well Treasurer Clark Hancock have offered several. Since no such offering exists for the Spanish-speaking world and PUP is well positioned to recruit speakers, we proposed to NAI and also to CATIE (Latin American supranational natural resource post-graduate university in Costa Rica with variety of national technical offices in other countries) that we team up to launch a Spanish webinar series in interpretation. So we signed a tripartite MOU and then hired Adriana Zúñiga to coordinate it on a commission basis. We are currently recruiting speakers, setting up the reservation system, training Adriana, and preparing a promotional video based on words from our advisor, Sam Ham. Adriana fortunately has video production experience. 

Integrated Situation Analysis

In 2014 PUP and its member organization, theConsensus Building Institute, submitted an application to a grant competitionsponsored by the Meta-Integral Foundation in search of projects that useIntegral Theory. Because CBI member Merrick Hoben and PUP coordinator Jon Kohlwere already discussing the application of systems thinking and Integral Theoryto his work in Honduras and had even gone as far as offered a two-part webinarfor CBI employees on our approach, we were in a good position to compete. Infact, we teamed up with REHNAP (Honduran association mentioned above). The ideawas to develop a situation or site assessment process that was moreparticipatory, holistic, and Integral that either CBI’s approach or PUP’s exploratorytrip. We were selected among the finalists but to earn money we had to competeagain through a crowdsharing campaign. We raised the second highest amountwhich led to an initial disbursement of $2,500 with a commitment to raiseanother $1,000 in order to carry out our field project. We are currentlyexploring the possibility of doing the pilot run in Mexico.

Finishing Up Public Use Plan in Panama's Chagres National Park

As of this writing PUP hasn’t formally finished the project, but has invested nine months in developing the public use plan for the park that supplies 40% of the water to the Panama Canal (before expansion). It was the largest PUP team project involving Jon Kohl (coordinator), Allan Rhodes (advisor), Lucia Prinz (country representative for the Caribbean), and three additional Panamanians as well as in alliance with the Panama Technical Office of CATIE (a founding member of PUP). We learned quite a few lessons learned about favorable and unfavorable terms of reference for implementation possibility and will be writing up a document based on the experience that will serve as advice for those who want to create terms of reference for participatory planning in the future. 

Interpretation Corner:
Interpretive Ranger vs. Volunteer Guide at Chaco Culture National Historic Park

From Jon Kohl's Heritage/Patrimonio Interpretation International Blog

Today my family visited the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, World Heritage, in New Mexico. We attended two programs, one by a long-time seasoned National Park Service interpreter and one by a retired professor and volunteer guide. The differencewas as stark as interpretation and information.

Click here for the full story

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