Read this before downloading documents:

Personal use of the documents made available for download on this site is encouraged.  However, no document or any portion thereof may be used for commercial purposes, nor may they be published in any medium or format without prior written permission from the State of California.  All commercial rights to use materials made available on this site are reserved by the State of California unless expressly granted otherwise in writing.  For commercial use, contact the Interpretation and Education Division at (916) 654-2249 or

Aiming for Excellence: An Evaluation Handbook for Interpretive Services in California State Parks (2000, rev. 2009)

This handbook provides measures and measurement tools for assessing the quality of educational and interpretive services. It can help parks professionals facilitate qualitative improvements in interpretive services for the benefit of all visitors.

Basic Interpretation Learning System--Making Connections: The Essence of Interpretation (2012)

This publication represents a major milestone in interpretive training. It provides our Department's first-ever comprehensive, standardized resource for introductory interpretation training. It is a valuable guide for any interpreter who provides programs and services directly to the public. BILS serves as both a stand-alone resource and as part of a training package that includes student workbooks. It is made up of a series of modules covering a variety of subjects. You can print any or all of them as needed. For your convenience the publication as a single document is also available below. For more information on this publication please email the Interpretation and Education Division at .

BILS Table of Contents
Module 1 - Introduction
Module 2 - Purpose and Vision
Module 3 - Communication
Module 4 - Planning
Module 5 - Programs
Module 6 - Talks
Module 7 - Walks
Module 8 - Campfire
Module 9 - Kids
Module 10 - Roving
Module 11 - Audiovisual
Module 12 - Evaluation
Module 13 - Professionalism

Complete handbook:
BILS complete publication

Integrating Academic Content Standards into Interpretive Programs Online Training

Academic content standards are an integral part of public education in California. This online training is a tool that will walk interpreters and volunteers through how to integrate academic content standards into school group interpretive programs to make them more relevant to today’s classroom curriculum. The three modules are designed to be completed independently or as part of an larger interpretive training for park staff or volunteers.

The Catalyst: The Newsletter for Interpretation in California State Parks

The Catalyst, a newsletter published two to four times per year, provides useful and entertaining information, with everything from news stories to reflections from interpreters, from ideas for programs to guidance and advice on issues related to interpretation. Back issues of the Catalyst are available at this site.

School Group Program Evaluation Results

Each year from 1998 through 2002, California State Parks undertook a statewide survey of teachers bringing school groups to our parks. In 2002 a report entitled Making the Grade: An Analysis of California State Parks' School Group Program Evaluation, 1998-2002 was issued that reviewed survey results from this program over all the years it had been conducted. In 2004 a brief update was produced that analyzed the data collected in 2003. 
    Even in years when the statewide survey isn't conducted, staff and volunteers leading school group programs at parks are encouraged to seek feedback from teachers using the School Group Program Evaluation form. Two Word format versions of the form can be downloaded here for use in such circumstances.  Each version has an identical front page.  One has questions on the back of the form that address reservations and pre-trip information.  The other has questions on the back that address pre-trip information, logistical arrangements, accommodations, and safety issues.  The questions on the back of either form may also be changed to suit the circumstances of the particular park where it is being used.  The return address area on the bottom of the back of each version of the evaluation form should be filled in with the park, sector, or district office address.  If you are unable to work with the Word documents, each version of the form is also available below as a PDF document, but be aware that with the PDF documents you will not be able to change the questions on the forms and will have to fill in the return address by hand.  If you have any questions about the School Group Program Evaluation program, please contact Heather Holm at (916) 651-8451 or
          School Group Program Evaluation Form - Version 1 (Reservations and Pre-Trip Info)
               Word Format      PDF Format
          School Group Program Evaluation Form - Version 2 (Pre-Trip Info, Logistics, Safety)
               Word Format    PDF Format

Guidance on Grants

In 2004 California State Parks produced two publications dealing with grants for park and recreation providers.  Getting a Grip on Grants: A How To Guide for Park and Recreation Providers assists service providers with practical tips on researching and preparing winning grant proposals.  The companion Directory of Grant Funding Sources for California Park and Recreation Providers is a good reference resource for identifying grant programs that might fund specific projects being considered by park and recreation agencies.