Our capabilities

Our capabilities include interpretive master planning for both interior and exterior facilities, visitor studies, and planning of 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, incorporated in in California in 1995 and is certified as both a Small Business and Women’s Business Enterprise. The director, Jennifer Rigby is certified by the National Association for Interpretation as an interpretive planner and is passionate about her work. Seeing plans and drawings become reality, and watching visitors take delight in new experiences, is always rewarding for everyone.

© 2015 Tarlton Studios

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. The Acorn Group brings extensive knowledge of interpretive planning and frequently works with clients who need to balance the needs of visitors with 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.

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, 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. Since every project is different, teams of specialized independent contractors are asembled to meet the needs of each client.

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.