Jonathon Spring (picture left) is a PhD candidate and combines his part-time study with full time work as a lecturer at AIS St Helens. His PhD topic is ‘Making Ecotourism work: Exploring the “teachable moment” on guided tours in wildlife tourism settings’. His research is on the learning that occurs through the interaction of wildlife, visitors and a guide. Guiding is regarded as being the most effective form of interpretation to facilitate informal education. However the empirical knowledge base to support this intuitive belief is still in its infancy.
Jonathon’s interest in interpretation stems from his past work as a tour guide and voluntary work in community conservation projects. With ecological restoration playing a role in restricting recreational activities in our parks, Jonathon is concerned with finding ways to get people to appreciate and value these conservation efforts. Interpretation can ignite our imagination about the hidden gems that exist in the realms of Tane Mahuta and Tangaroa (our natural environment).
As well as guiding on Tiritiri Matangi Open Scientific Reserve, Jonathon is involved in the ‘Ark in the Park’ restoration project in the Waitakere Ranges.