East Bay Naturalist Honored

The National Association for Interpretation recently recognized  East Bay Regional Park District Naturalist Michael Moran as one of only two national 2012 Master Front-Line Interpreters.

Michael Moran

Moran was chosen for his leadership in developing community relationships in eastern Contra Costa County, California. As a naturalist at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, then at Big Break Regional Shoreline, Moran has developed and implemented programs with schools, non-profit organizations, and community groups throughout the area over many years.

The Master Front-Line Interpreter Award is presented to an NAI member who has worked for more than five years in the profession and whose current duties include at least 60 percent front-line interpretation.

Recipients must demonstrate a mastery of interpretive techniques, program development, and design of creative projects.

Over nearly two decades of work in eastern Contra Costa County, Moran has become the face of the East Bay Regional Park District by building strong partnerships with schools, non-profits, and community groups.

Moran has been a leader in developing curriculum and creating library talks, community science programs, children’s programs, and kayaking programs.

Much of his creative programming has highlighted the unique ecosystem of the California Delta, through programs such as the Children’s Wetland Storytime, Big Break Wetland Walks, Citizen Science Monitoring Program, and Delta Cruise interpretive programs.

Moran also developed the Vasco Caves Regional Preserve Interpretive Plan, authored 18 interpretive panels for the outdoor Delta Discovery Experience, and is currently developing the master plan for the brand new Big Break Visitor Center at the Delta, where he is the Acting Supervising Naturalist.

Michael Moran, doing what he does best!

Moran’s ability to train and mentor others is evidenced through his establishment of the Black Diamond Mines volunteer docent program, whose volunteers reach 14 parks across the region.

In addition to his frontline interpretive duties, he finds time to foster partnerships, conducting docent enrichment at Oakland Museum of California and teaching water quality monitoring for the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed.

Moran was nominated by fellow Park District naturalist and NAI Region 9 Director Kevin Damstra.

"Moran brings a passion and level of professionalism that is highly contagious, " wrote Damstra in his nomination. "He exemplifies excellence and helps all around him strive for the same."

The National Association for Interpretation is a professional organization for park historians and naturalists, heritage interpreters, zoo and museum educators, park managers, and others affiliated with interpreting the natural, historical and cultural environment to the public.

The East Bay Regional Park District, located in the San Francisco East Bay area, is the largest regional park agency in the nation, with 65 parks, 111,000+ acres, and over 1,150 miles of trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

The Interpretive Services Department provides environmental educational programs at ten visitor centers and on site at schools and community venues.  The Big Break Visitor Center at the Delta opened in October 2012.