In 2010, the park’s Interpretive Specialist was lost due to State Parks budget cuts. This left the park without any staff dedicated to educational work. The Foundation believes that interpretation and environmental education are among the most important functions of any park. Hundreds of school children visit Deception Pass on field trips each year, and the park’s annual visitation rate is nearly two million. Education and interpretation allow the natural and cultural wonders of this unique and special place to be shared with park visitors.
In order to ensure that these activities continue at Deception Pass, the Foundation hired an Interpretive Intern for the summer of 2011. In the fall of 2011, the Foundation provided matching funds to the Washington Service Corps to bring in an AmeriCorps member to perform interpretive duties at the park for the next 10 and a half months. This position has been renewed every since then.
The AmeriCorp Program at Deception Pass has become one of the Foundation’s most successful investments yet. Each new AmeriCorp member brings a unique skill set with them, whether it is a passion to restore historic buildings, educate children at the tide pools, or a background in environmental interpretation. These members have helped build our website, opened new interpretive centers, sworn in thousands of Junior Rangers, and produced a quality interpretive program for the Summer season. The educational program at Deception Pass would be nearly nonexistent without these AmeriCorp members and we are utterly grateful for their service. We hope they leave after their term with new skills, an impressive resume, and a continued love for resource protection through education.