Our capabilities

Our capabilities include interpretive master planning, panel and exhibit design, visitor studies, and management of large scale environmental education projects. Our clients are diverse, ranging from governmental agencies to private and non-profit institutions. Project sites include interpretive centers, ecological reserves, museums, botanical gardens, zoos, parklands, and educational institutions.

Our Background

The Acorn Group was established in 1990 and incorporated in in California in 1995. We’re certified as both a Small Business and Women’s Business Enterprise. Team members are certified by the National Association for Interpretation as interpretive planners and our projects are award-winning. We’re passionate about our work. We love seeing our plans and drawings become reality and watching visitors take delight in new experiences.

Our Team

Jenny Rigby
Jennifer Rigby
Director of The Acorn Group

Director of The Acorn Group, Jennifer Rigby’s training and experience have earned her a reputation for creating effective, dynamic

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James Freed
Exhibit Designer

James Freed is a gifted exhibit designer with 15 years in the industry. His specialty is conceptual design and three-dimensional

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Kris Whipple
Interpretive Planner

Kris Whipple began teaming with The Acorn Group as an interpretive planner in 2006, lending assistance with the interpretive

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Laura Stahlberg
Creative Director

Laura Stahlberg has been creative director with The Acorn Group since 1996, bringing both expertise and over a quarter century of

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Brian Burton
Graphic Designer

Brian Burton is a graphic designer for The Acorn Group. His areas of expertise include interpretive panel design and production

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Jennifer Chapman
Interpretive Planner

Throughout her 25 years in the interpretive field, she has contributed to dozens of exhibitions across the country.

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Tony Ignacio
Landscape Architect

Tony Ignacio is a landscape architect with 12 years of experience in the landscape architecture profession

Company Philosophy

The Acorn Group is committed to delivering the finest services and products related to environmental interpretation and education. We enjoy the challenge of fulfilling the interpretive and educational needs of diverse populations while promoting stewardship of natural and cultural resources. We bring extensive knowledge of interpretive planning and frequently work with clients who need to balance the needs of visitors and sensitive resource management issues. We also bring extensive knowledge of environmental education, both in theory and practice, and exercise care in the development of programs and policies that enlighten without advocacy.

The Acorn Group is well known for its professionalism and capabilities. The company was founded on the tenets of integrity, innovation, and responsibility, and we consistently reflect these values in every project we undertake, regardless of scope or size. Our goal is to advance environmental literacy through inspiration and knowledge.

Our Approach to Interpretive Planning

Interpretation is a communication strategy used to help visitors form meaningful connections with extraordinary places. Effective interpretive experiences provoke visitor interest, relate the significance of the message to the visitor’s everyday life, and provide a genuinely enjoyable encounter.

Interpretation moves beyond the presentation of factual information to reveal larger messages through thematic communication. Themes—key messages that resonate with visitors, spark connections, and inspire supportive behaviors—ensure that visitor experiences at a particular site are both memorable and meaningful. Themes take the tangible, physical qualities of a site’s resources and transform them into portals to their intangible meanings—and, over time, build understanding, appreciation, and support for the land’s unique story among visitors as well as the community at large.

At The Acorn Group, we believe that interpretive master planning, by its very nature, should ensure that designs, products, and services are cost-effective, seamlessly integrated with site design, and able to evolve over time and generate the goodwill and material support vital to an institution’s long-term success. A quality interpretive planning process creatively addresses the management objectives of the client, other relevant planning efforts, the needs and interests of visitors, input from the surrounding community, and the long-term needs of the site itself. Our planning process bears this in mind. We analyze the physical conditions. We capitalize on the opportunities and we transform the challenges. In client meetings, charrettes, and front-end evaluation work, we strive to create forums for open, honest discussions. Last, we create thoughtful, comprehensive, and creative planning tools that support the visitor’s experiences over long-term implementation.

We believe the outcome of this planning effort should be memorable and satisfying recreational experiences that exceed visitor expectations, cultivate stewardship values, and help fulfill an institution’s vision.