Kris Whipple began teaming with The Acorn Group as an interpretive planner in 2006, lending assistance with an interpretive master plan for Oregon State Parks, a statewide assessment of interpretive programs for Pennsylvania State Parks, and later, the interpretive master plan for Garvan Woodland Gardens. Kris has also collaborated on the interpretive master plans for the Alameda Creek Watershed Center, Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, Red Butte Garden, and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park.
Currently, Kris is involved in the exhibit planning and design work at Myakka River and Collier-Seminole State Parks, as well as panel development for Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park. She is also conducting NAI’s Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) courses throughout Florida for Florida State Parks.
Her diverse background includes over 35 years as a field naturalist, park ranger, education specialist, interpretive planner, trainer and curator for parks, museums, botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums. Most recently, Kris served 14 years as the education curator for Group Programs for Walt Disney World Animal Programs. In this capacity, she was responsible for leading the education teams at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, The Living Seas, Discovery Island, and Wilderness Adventures, developing and facilitating interpretive training programs for Walt Disney World Animal Programs and designing visitor programs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Vacation Club, Disney Cruise Lines, and The Disney Institute.
Before joining the Disney Company, Kris was responsible for environmental outreach programs for the Orange County Department of Education in California. In prior years, she worked closely with Jenny in this capacity at the Santa Ana Zoo. Kris holds a bachelor’s degree in parks and natural resource management from California State University, Chico. She is certified by the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) as an Interpretive Planner, Interpretive Trainer, and Certified Interpretive Guide Trainer. In addition, Kris is a graduate of the American Zoological Association’s School for Conservation Education Development and Management.
In her free time, Kris enjoys running, cycling, kayaking, paddleboarding, and tending her yard, a National Wildlife Federation-certified habitat. She also serves as a volunteer trainer for local animal shelters and as a responder for the ASPCA and Florida State Animal Response Coalition.