Jenn L. Tarlton, M.S

Lecturer - Environmental Education and Interpretation

Jenn L. Tarlton, M.S
(707) 826-5639
Natural Resources (NR) Building, Rm. 212

I didn’t realize I wanted to be an interpreter until I lived outdoors in the national forest for six months. I had been on a path of working with social issues, but realized during those months of being in the woods that I would like nothing more than to combine this passion with working towards human understanding and appreciation of the natural environment. With a background in psychology and teaching, I began to study the human side of natural resources and how to successfully inspire and educate others through various communication strategies. With my experience in environmental education, service learning, state parks, museums, and non-profit agencies, I bring to Cal Poly Humboldt a varied perspective of how best to convey scientific knowledge and concepts to different audiences in different settings about natural and cultural resources.

I approach teaching in the same way I approach interpreting: the main goal is to inspire others to continue a life-long process of exploring, discovering, and learning. I also believe that students need practical experiences to balance their theoretical knowledge. Cal Poly Humboldt is ideally situated with local, state, and national parks nearby as well as museums, cultural sites, and other non-profit organizations. These places serve as a laboratory in which students apply what they learn in community based projects that prepare them with skills they need to be successful in the profession.


B.A.: 1997, Psychology, Humboldt State University
M.S.: 2004, Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation, Humboldt State University

Courses Taught

ESM 309B – Environmental Communication
ESM 350 – Fundamentals of Environmental Education and Interpretation
ESM 351 – Environmental Interpretation Field Trip
ESM 353 – Environmental Education and Interpretive Graphics
ESM 450 – Applied Environmental Education and Interpretation
ESM 453 – Environmental Education and Interpretation Practicum


Tarlton, J. (2008). YouthServe AmerCorps Evaluation Report. McKinleyville, CA, YouthServe AmeriCorps Program.

Tarlton, J. (2008). Jacoby Creek Charter School: A Service Learning Program Evaluation. Bayside, CA. California Department of Education, CalServe.

Ward, C.J., Taylor, J., Moore, D., Tarlton, J., (2007). The Salmon Source: An Educators Guide. California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, CA.

Tarlton, J.L. and Ward, C.J (2006). The Effect of Thematic Interpretation on a child’s knowledge of an interpretive program. Journal of Interpretive Research. Vol. 11 (1).

Ward, C.J., Martin, S., Absher, J., Newman, D. and Tarlton, J (2003). Interpretation effectiveness at Taylor Creek Visitor Center. USDA Forest Service Technical Report RWU 4902