Submission Date


Document Type



Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Patrick Hurley


Presented during the 21st Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 19, 2019 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

In the fall Ursinus will begin planting the initial species of its food forest on two acres at the Whittaker Environmental Research Station (WERS), an agricultural field currently characterized by livestock forage species, just off campus. By increasing biodiversity at the site and implementing a design that mimics the structure of a healthy forest ecosystem, this food forest intends to improve the wider ecosystem’s health and resilience, while also providing the local community with a source of harvestable food and craft materials. As the system matures and becomes available to the public, interpretive materials will become imperative to ensuring visitors interact with the site in a safe, appropriate, and meaningful manner. Successful interpretation should see visitors come away from the site with a deeper understanding of the system’s functioning, direct and indirect benefits to humans and wildlife, and ideally a greater appreciation for and willingness to care for the surrounding ecosystem. This project develops an interpretive signage protocol that includes a) a conceptual framework for understanding the food forest and its multiple goals, b) an inventory of specific signage topics (i.e. interpretable elements) and their placement within the site’s current layout, and c) the design parameters that should govern the textual clarity and visual appearance of these signs. The protocol is accompanied by finished signage models that illustrate these goals.

Open Access

Available to all.