On Nov. 17 the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) named East Bay Regional Park District Naturalist Virginia Delgado as the 2017 Outstanding New Interpreter. Ms. Delgado was honored for her accomplishment by the EBRPD Board of Directors at their Nov. 21 meeting.
“The Park District serves thousands of schoolchildren – and the wider community - through our network of interpretive visitor centers,” said EBRPD Board President Beverly Lane. “Ms. Delgado is a rising leader in the field and we are proud to have her at the District.”
As a naturalist at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch, Ms. Delgado leads many school field trips, especially for young children in grades 2 – 4. She is known to colleagues for her skillful and engaging tours that captivate youthful attention. In addition to her regular duties providing guided programs for all ages, Ms. Delgado created a Junior Ranger Activity Book for children to use at the park, and designed and led an internship program for local high school students. She also co-led an award-winning teen summer program at the District. The activity book won the 2nd place award from NAI for site publications.
“Virginia brings extraordinary skill, dedication and leadership to her work connecting young people from all walks of life, to nature, parks, and careers in conservation and interpretation,” noted EBRPD Interpretive & Recreation Manager Ira Bletz.
Ms. Delgado was born in San Jose, and grew up in San Diego, American Canyon and Vallejo. As a high school student at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School (Vallejo), she participated in a year-long mentorship and leadership program offered by Nature Bridge at Marin Headlands. This program had a significant impact on her life, and she sought to share similar opportunities with others. Since her first encounter with environmental careers, Ms. Delgado sought out diverse opportunities to develop her skills in interpretation and allied fields, working or volunteering with the Equity Institute, Nature Bridge, Outdoor Afro, Outdoor Latino and other local organizations.
Ms. Delgado graduated from San Francisco State University in 2014 with a degree in environmental studies with a concentration in social justice and sustainability. She was hired by the Park District later that year as a temporary interpreter. She began working full-time as a naturalist aide at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch in 2015 and was promoted to naturalist the following year. She is also a NAI Certified Interpretive Guide.
The Outstanding New Interpreter Award is presented to an NAI member who has worked fewer than five years in the profession, and who demonstrated a recognized potential in interpretation, assumption of leadership roles, creativity in programming or facility development, and a commitment to the profession.
The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 121,000 acres in 73 parks including over1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.
The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing the profession of heritage interpretation, currently serving about 5,000 members in the United States, Canada, and over thirty other nations.
Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor