Director of The Acorn Group, Jennifer Rigby has been working in the fields of interpretation and education since 1981. First working in a nature center, followed by an aquarium and later a zoo, she founded The Acorn Group in 1990. Since then she has been directly involved in the development of hundreds of interpretive master plans, interpretive panels, and exhibit design packages. Projects have taken her to California’s coastal dunes, Oregon’s rugged coastline, New Mexico’s arid desert and steppe, and the hardwood forests of Ohio and Arkansas, to name a few. Regardless of setting, her focus is on creating sensory-rich experiences and helping visitors cultivate their own sense of place.
Jenny’s training and experience have earned her a reputation for creating effective, dynamic educational and interpretive experiences. Her projects and efforts are nationally recognized. She is the recipient of the 2002 California Project Learning Tree Award for Service to Environmental Education, the 2002 California Institute for Biodiversity Educator of the Year Award, and the 2005 Howard Bell Award for outstanding achievements and contributions as a leader in the field by the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. In 2012 the North American Association for Environment Education honored her with their Outstanding Service to Environmental Education Award. In 2020, Outward Bound Adventures honored her with their Champion of Change award.
A member of the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) since its inception in 1988, Jenny serves on NAI’s board certification team. In addition, she also serves on the executive board of American Trails, a national organization dedicated to the creation, conservation, and enjoyment of quality trails and greenways. Jenny also has been involved in the Environmental Literacy Initiative of the California Department of Education, having served as project manager of the State’s Environmental Education Master Plan, co-consultant of the Education and the Environment Initiative, and contributing author of the Blueprint for Environmental Literacy.
Her background includes interpretive master planning; teaching in formal and non-formal institutions, including zoos and aquaria; interpretive writing; exhibit and graphic design; and program evaluation, research and training. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social ecology, master’s degree in education, two California teaching credentials, and NAI certification as an interpretive planner.