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NP QUARTERLY

December 2018

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Interpret the Book Called National Parks - Talking about Interpretation with Narrators

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Event of Langjiao Eagle Season: performance of Manchu Folk Songs Association with Chiong- Yao Lin's interpretation / Chung- Neng Chen
Event of Langjiao Eagle Season: performance of Manchu Folk Songs
Association with Chiong- Yao Lin's interpretation / Chung- Neng Chen

Narrators and visitors getting to know national parks together

Chiong-Yao Lin joined Taiwan’s first national park in 1986. The park is the first government agency to have narrators. So far, she has worked for 33 years. “At that time, there were around a dozen narrators in Kenting National Park, stationed in various positions, in facing the people who just began to learn about the "national park" at that time. It was a great responsibility for the narrators.”

At that time, in order to attract people to participate in the tour, the narrators must take the initiative. “We had a small booth with a big "free participation" sign on.” Chiong-Yao Lin smiled and recalled how those passionate faces broke the ice and conveyed the essence of the national parks to the hearts of tourists through each guide tours. “I think the function of the narrators is “to show people everything beyond what their eyes can see.” Despite of animals and plants, history and humanities, how to turn all these precious things in the national parks into touching stories, to let people understand the importance of national parks and be more willing to get close to the national park, it is our important mission.”

However, it might be a narrator’s vocation to introduce the animals and plants or histories but the names and characteristics of the flowers, birds and beasts do not come automatically to their heads. “In fact, at the beginning of my career,when tourists asked us ten questions, we might be able to answer only two of them.” But the narrators didn’t have time to be frustrated, they tried to absorb relevant knowledge as fast as possible. “At that time, Taiwan had almost no animal and plant illustrations of its own, so I went to buy Japanese bird illustrations to research and study.” Exchange of information between narrators was also an important source of knowledge.

“ In addition to narrators encouraging each other, the interaction between different classrooms also greatly increase their skill.” At that time, Chiong- Yao Lin took the opportunity of preparing an annual report to access the operation of classrooms such as conservation classes, which opened another channel for absorbing knowledge. But as the frequency of interaction with tourists increased, she became more aware that if knowledge was not transformed, it would be as difficult to swallow as hard biscuits. “The more you receive tourists, the more you know not to rush to put knowledge into the heads of others.” Senior narrator of Taroko National Park Headquarters, Mao-Yao Lin, shares the same feeling.

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