Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BNHP- Week 2

The second week at Boston's Navy Yard has been filled with learning new tasks and responsibilities. We spent our days with various Park Rangers as well as some Supervisors within the Law Enforcement division.

This past week, a marijuana joint was confiscated at the security gate for the USS Constitution. We then conducted a field test on it. It was really cool to see how easy it is to test drugs on site in a matter of minutes. It is a very simple process of putting a sample of the substance into the package with three vials of chemicals. You break the first tube and then agitate the package for a minute. Once you break the second tube, if the chemicals change color, the substance tests positive for the drug. The last tube separates the chemicals into two different colors proving a second time that the substance contains the drug.

Jeff and I also spent some time with one of the Supervisors, Dan Baker, to talk with him and see what daily tasks he performs. We both got the chance to make some keys to doors as well as drive the electric car around the yard. Another task we performed throughout the day was standing by the one entrance gate talking with visitors. We were there to help answer any questions visitors may have as well as to give simple directions to other parts of the park. We feel that this is an important aspect of a Park Ranger's duties. It is important to be helpful in many different ways besides crime related incidents. We also feel that having a Park Ranger's presence throughout the park helps make people feel safe and allows them to feel free to ask any questions.

On several of our various patrols throughout the week we were able to see many parts of buildings that are not open to the public. For instance we got our own special tour of the Commandant's House, the Monument at Dorchester Heights, as well as access to various roof tops. It is interesting to see these buildings beyond what you would see as just the general public.
The view of the USS Constitution from the roof of an old unused warehouse building within the Navy Yard.

Jeff and I had the great opportunity of doing a ride along with a Minute Man Park Ranger, Kevin Kavanagh. Minute Man National Park is located in Concord, Massachusetts about half an hour from Boston. The majority of their patrol focus within the park is making traffic stops on the main highway that cuts through the park. We were able to witness Kavanagh pull over several cars, issuing several warnings as well as give out a few tickets. It was a great experience for us to see another style of patrol and focus within a park that differs greatly from the urban setting within the Navy Yard.

We look forward to what we will be experiencing next week!

ProRangers Erin Langeheine and Jeff Parente

My 2nd Week at Colonial

Hey everybody!!! My second week at Colonial was a very eventful one, which consisted of another week of interpretation. During my week I had the opportunity to spend the day with the Cultural Resource Specialist at the park whose name is Jonathan Connolly. In our day together, we embarked on a trip to the Jamestown hiking trail area in search of historic artifacts. In our search I happened to uncover a prehistoric knife according to Jonathan. Additionally we also found  a nail from the 1800s. This day was a very interesting one for an interpretation day, because Jonathan informed me greatly about the importance of the preservation of the historical artifacts in the National Parks. Furthermore, he reminded me of how these Parks are the places where the history happened, and these artifacts being kept in their place is extremely essential to maintaining the visual history of our national parks. More importantly, these artifacts work in conjunction with the historical interpreters who work for the park with the job to educate and show guests what their park represents.

Close up of Prehistoric Knife

Me and the Prehistoric Knife

In addition to a day of finding artifacts, I also had the chance to take part in a range artillery program given by the park. During the day, various interpretations were done by workers at the interpretation department while the artillery group fired the cannon. Though these events were fun, there are two things which made my week phenomenal. The first brings me back to my travels with Jonathan Connolly and our trip out in Jamestown. We drove the Jamestown tour road, stopped at a pullout, and took a trip to another site where he felt he could find historical artifacts. And this is what I saw when we arrived at our destination.
A place of peace

This view, which is of the Jamestown River, struck me very deeply and reminded me of back when I was interviewed to enter into the Proranger program and was asked whether it mattered where I traveled. I remember my answer, which was "I'm willing to go wherever I am needed", having no idea that I'd end of up in a fantastic place such as this. The serenity, area, workers, and experience here have been nothing short of amazing, and this is only week 2. The second thing which still sticks in my mind is my reception of my second challenge coin by one of coworkers in the interpretation department.

My 2nd week was a great one, and I hope all of my other Prorangers 2nd week was a good one as well. I look forward to reading more of your blogs, and seeing you all when we meet up in about a month or so. Until my next blog post ladies and gentlemen and fellow Prorangers!

Harpers Ferry - Week 2

Another exciting and eventful week has passed here at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. During the past week, ProRanger Mark Clarke and I have experienced many different aspects of life in a National Park. On Tuesday and Wednesday we attended Operational Leadership training, facilitated by Ranger Melissa Boyce and Physical Security Specialist Scott Pike. This was ProRanger Clarke’s first week of work at the Park, so he missed out on the events that occurred last week. Operational Leadership is a new National Park Service initiative designed to improve safety and performance. The program originated in the military where it has been proven to reduce on duty accidents. Before reporting to training, ProRanger Clarke and I were responsible for opening the gates to the Murphy Farm, Jackson’s Right Flank, and Schoolhouse Ridge North areas on the park. This duty must be completed early each morning to allow access to the restrooms and parking lots for visitors and hikers. On Wednesday, following Operational Leadership, Ranger Mark Howard led a brief tour of the area and introduced ProRanger Clarke to the staff here at Harpers Ferry. During this time, we also received our gym memberships and received a tour of the workout facilities. Physical fitness is an extremely important element of the ProRanger program and is a vital tool for a Park Ranger. Access to exercise facilities will allow us to improve our fitness level and improve our performance on the Physical Efficiency Battery. On Thursday, we reported to the Archeology Division for an opportunity to experience digging for historic artifacts. After a quick training session, we were allowed to help excavate the Lower Armory area. Currently, there are two digs in progress at the Armory site. At area number 13, the first layer of soil had been removed while at area 12, four layers had been excavated. Our first job for the day was to scrape away the soil at the two areas while being careful to watch for artifacts or changes in soil color. A change in color means that you have entered a new stratum, therefore a new time period. The archeologists work in these strata and do not continue until the entire area is at the same level. Depending on the time period, the soil may require screening before being discarded. For example, at area 12 we screened the soil for artifacts before mixing it with soil from other areas. This process helps to find artifacts and insures that nothing is accidently missed. After reaching a new layer of soil, we returned to the office where ProRanger Clarke washed the items and I, ProRanger Copper, “quick bagged” the washed artifacts into separate categories. During our time at the site, we did uncover some small items that may help piece together life at the Armory. The highlight of the day was working around a brick pattern that was found at area 12 in previous digs. The pattern is near the once visible street and could provide details into the appearance of the Armory site. Throughout our day with Archeology, the entire staff was welcoming and informative. We really enjoyed the opportunity to search for artifacts and look forward to seeing future progress at the site. On Friday we returned to the Law Enforcement Division where we helped lead a hike with the students of Wildwood Middle School. The students were eager to explore Harpers Ferry and kept a remarkable pace throughout the entire trip. During the students lunch break, the ProRangers took the opportunity to explain the ProRanger program and encouraged the students to strive for success. Hopefully through school programs and activities, the National Park Service will continue to educate students and maybe even interest students in becoming Park Rangers. After the hike with the students, we returned to Grandview Station and were taught by Ranger Howard how to create Park identification cards for the employees. This coming week at Harpers Ferry we will be participating in park orientation as well as traveling to Prince William Forest where we will join other ProRangers in completing our S-130 and S-190 fire training field day. On Friday, fellow ProRangers will be traveling here to Harpers Ferry for driver training presented by Ranger Howard. Have a great week!

Monday, May 30, 2011

SHEN Week 2

If someone knows how to rotate pictures this one would make a lot more sense : ) John Eichelberger --Shenandoah National Park

Hello and greetings to everyone! The picture to the right above the text is just another breath taking vista that are up and down Skyline Drive.. Heather and i were lucky enough to see this as we were driving back to the HQ after a 12 to 8 shift.

Shenandoah National Park is such a great place to learn about what it takes to maintain such a beautiful place for future generations. The second week of work further demonstrated to me what a team effort it really takes to keep this park a fun and exciting place for the public as well as maintain all of the Resources in an sustainable manner so that future generations will be able to discover the beauty just as we have the opportunity now.

Week 2 was to me a better experience then week 1 simply because we began to see how our role in the park would progress. We started the week off with basic search and rescue training or SAR. This was exciting and we are now certified to assist in being part of the litter team in removing an injured visitor to safety. The training was unique and fun at the same time as we did litter carrying drills to kind of get an idea of what it will actually be like. I then had the opportunity to go with some of the folks in resources. I assisted Laura with getting some of the native plant species ranging from moss to grasses , that are going to be planted in a overlook parking area after maintenance fixes a damaged wall. I then went with Wendy and performed a check on a section of forest. This entailed tagging trees for future inspections and measuring growth among other environmental factors . It was a challenging and fun experience and Wendy was a blast to hike with because she is like a walking encyclopedia of the Parks plant species. We then had the awesome opportunity to spend the day with some of the veteran search and rescue rangers as they performed numerous tests showing how certain gear would hold up to a dead weight of 450 lbs being slammed against it from a 15 ft cliff. It was all very interesting and a tad over my head, but everyone involved was very

helpful in explaining things and reteaching us basic climbing knots and tie ins. They also allowed Heather and myself to repel a section of the cliff, known as Black Rock, and climb back up with is always a blast.

I finished the week up working Big Meadows campground and seeing how the people involved with Fee collection manage campground customers and do a wonderful job making sure the campers are happy and enjoy their experience. My work day of the week was working with the PSAR group, or preventative search and rescue, We basically hiked one of the most beautiful sections of the park knows as White Oak Canyon . I got paid to hike and make contact with visitors in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been!!! Not a bad day on the job if you ask me!!! : )

Finding my way through the Wilderness,

John Eichelberger

Shenandoah National Park: Week 2

Wow! Here I am, already at the end of my second week in Shenandoah, and I'm having more fun than ever. This week has provided me with the opportunity to grow closer with my roommates, get to know the others in the housing circle better, and learn more about my co-workers. Each day was a new and different adventure and I honestly wouldn't trade it for anything!

My week started on Tuesday with SAR (search and rescue) training which I wrote about in my last post. On Wednesday I drove up to the North District of the park to work with one of the LE rangers there named Jim. It was really great to have the opportunity to ride along with him and talk with him about his experiences both at Shenandoah and all the other parks he has worked at. It was a slow day for the most part but we did make a traffic stop and we also stopped to help some visitors who were changing a tire on their camper. Thursday John, Pete, and I, along with several other park employees met at Black Mountain for tactical search and rescue training. Basically, we were dropping a 450 lb weight (simulating a patient, a rescuer, and a litter) off the side of the mountain to test the equipment to see how it would hold up in a real rescue situation. John and I helped out wherever we could and at the end of the day we rappelled off the side of Black Mountain! Friday provided me with the opportunity to see a whole other side of the search and rescue operation. I worked with PSAR (preventative search and rescue). The people who work in this division are educators for the most part. They either hike trails or stand at trail heads and advise park visitors about the proper footwear for hiking, how much water to drink and how to be safe while enjoying nature. The day I was with them we hung signs along the Appalachian Trail warning visitors that part of the trail was closed because of recent bear activity. Saturday I worked with the fee department at the Old Rag Mt. trail. I helped greet visitors, answer questions and tell them where to park in order to allow as many visitors as possible to be able to hike and enjoy the park.

Every day at Shenandoah is packed full of new experiences and things to learn. One afternoon after a brief thunderstorm John and I were driving down Skyline Drive coming home from work and we had to stop at Jewell Hollow Overlook because the view was so amazing! It was one of those moments that literally took my breath away. On the same drive home we also saw a wild turkey, a handful of deer, and 3 bear cubs! I never know what will happen on any given day and I love it! I hope everyone has been enjoying their parks as much as I am!
Until next week,

Valley Forge NHP - Week Two

So far, each week has had many rewarding experiences. This week, I learned the historical importance of the very building that I report to for work; our own ranger station. The station is one of the few remaining, structurally sound pre-encampment buildings at Valley Forge. From day one I found the old building architecturally fascinating, however now I realize how lucky I am to have this opportunity to work in a living piece of history.

Bright and early Wednesday morning, Ben and I arrived at the ranger station and were surprised to be greeted by two dogs. They had been found chasing after a runner in the park earlier that morning.

The two dogs were obviously friendly and reminded me that one never knows what to expect throughout the day in our National Parks. Luckily the dogs were wearing the proper tags and were quickly reunited with their owner.

Later that same day, Ranger Quinn Hackwelder was kind enough to drive us over to the radio room for Montgomery County. Here, all radio communication and 911 calls are intercepted and distributed to the proper district. This fusion of local and Federal communication cuts down response time and keeps our rangers and local police in close contact.

Friday was an important day at Valley Forge for many people and their families. Valley Forge hosted an event to award a new generation of American's their citizenship. The naturalization ceremony took place at 2pm, however many of these dedicated people arrived hours early just to make sure they did not miss this important event. At the ceremony, Deputy Superintendent Barbara Pollarine gave a brief welcome speech on behalf of the park and the Park Service. Her speech was followed by a video from President Obama, also welcoming the new wave of American's to the country. After reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, hand over heart, the crowd cheered for their new citizenship. Each person was called up to the stage to receive their certificate of status, with the entire event lasting only about an hour. It truly was a touching moment to see all these people from countries around the world rejoicing at becoming an American citizen just like me.

Saturday was a quiet day since many visitors headed to the shore for Memorial Day Weekend. The park was full mostly with runners and dog walkers, many of which I had the pleasure of chatting with during my day walking the trails solo. After walking the heavily visited Joseph Plumb Martin trail in the morning, I headed to the north side of the park for some scenic views of the much quieter Schuylkill River trail (and to see if the toads were still there). All day long, many visitors greeted me and seemed sincerely happy to see a Park Ranger out interacting with the environment. It was an exciting day for both me and those I chatted with. Needless to say, the tiny toads must have escaped into the brush because only three days later, none were found.

Today, Memorial Day, our national parks are a great place to spend this day of remembrance. Here, at Valley Forge, we are having a staff picnic. I must be going so I can join the rest of my park in celebrating the sacrifices made on behalf of freedom.

Happy Memorial Day and until next time!
-ProRanger Angela Forney

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Antietam National Battlefield - Week 1

This week was Jim's second week and my first week at the park. Throughout the week we spent quite a bit of time messing around with GovTrip. It has been a frustrating application for all of us but hopefully we are through the worst of it! On Tuesday we spent most of our time touring around the park, getting to know the area. Tom (our supervisor) would quiz us on some of the roads within the park as we were driving around. In order to help the people within the park, you must have a good general idea.We are both still working on learning the few but difficult named roads throughout the parks as well as the different major landmarks. Jim is doing a lot better than I am at that. I also attended the one hour video that is done on the park - it is considered the better of the two movies. It provided me with quite a lot of background on the park.

We also got our car on Tuesday! We have our own retired patrol car, without the sirens or other police equipment, that we can drive around for government business. It is a lot of fun to drive through the park in our own car - it allows us to see how individuals interact with the Park Rangers first hand. We were also issued our radios which let us hear what is going on at Antietam and Monocacy NationalParks. We keep our radios with us at all time, especially when we are driving around in the car. On Wednesday we went to Seasonal Orientation – it was a quick overview of the park for the seasonal workers, whether they were returning or new. It was a good informational meeting about the park and we got to meet a few other people working there this summer. After the orientation we got to go hike one of the trails called the West Woods trail. Tom showed us a spot where there was a looting problem last year. It was just one example of the problems that are found throughout the park. We learned that it is often hard to figure out who

the individual looting is unless you catch them in the act.Friday we learned about the boundaries of the park. We were shown the congressional boundary and the current boundary of the park. Each property deed has certain limitations and it is the responsibility of the Rangers to know when these limitations are being violated. After going over some of the boundary stuff we went and walked one of the boundaries. On the walk we saw two tree stands and a deer feeder. These were all on private property so they were allowed. These areas are monitored though, because one of the stands has the shooter facing into the park. We also went to dispatch to learn about what happens at dispatch as well as tour the C&O Canal Headquarters. Unfortunately, there wasn't much activity at dispatch so we did not get to see what happened when a call came in. It was still good to see what dispatch looked like and to meet the people behind the radio.

Saturday we were able to help out with the Sharpsburg annual Memorial Day parade. We helped to set up, give people directions, and take down after the ceremony following the parade. This week was very interesting and we are definitely looking forward to another week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

INDE Week 2 - Poe House!

Hello Everyone!

Dan and I have just finished up our second week here at Independence National Historial Park! We were so excited to share all the new information we have learned that we had to post again!

In addition to being at the Visitors Center, which you read in Dan's post, we have spent the day at the Edgar Allan Poe House. While at the Visitors Center we witnessed the 20 millionth visitor! It was so awesome! The children from a school in Bailtmore were given free Philly cheesesteaks, gifts bags and they even were able to meet the mayor! The Mummers even stopped by! They then went on to spend the day at the park with great weather!

The Poe House is roughly a mile away from the Icon, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell block. We went on a self guided tour of the building in addition to two guided tours from two different Rangers. We really understand the operations of the site as well as the history of Poe. This is truly a great educational experience for both of us! We were able to provide more information for visitors as well as Welcome them to the site. We were really lucky in the amount of visitors that showed up today!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gettysburg week 1

I have been at Gettysburg for a little more than a week now and so far the experience has been great. My first few days were spent riding around with my supervisor Ryan touring the park, meeting the staff, and learning all that goes on behind the scenes which most people don't realize. Gettysburg has more history than I ever imagined. There are more than 1300 monuments and historic structures here, most of which were actually here during the the civil war which is amazing. The structures that were here have been refurbished but extensive research has been done to restore the structures to exactly the way they were in 1863. The next couple of days were spent with the seasonal employees who were re qualifying their firearms (pistols and shotguns). Today was the most hands on experience I have had at the park. I spent the day with the maintenance crew and got the opportunity to do a little waxing and power washing of a couple monuments.
The people here at the park that I have had a chance to work or meet have all been great as well. From the time I arrived I have felt welcome and now only have been here a week and feel like I have been here a month.
I do have actual pictures of me working but am having some technical difficulties. I will post them ASAP.

ProRanger Blog Week 2-Amber Hagan and Charles Papacostas-Prince William Forest Park

Our second week at Prince William Forest Park has been very informational and exciting. Charles and I were with Resource Management this week. We started off the week with introductions to the SCA interns and we got a second tour of the park with them. We heard from the Superintendent and all of the division chiefs. We discussed safety protocols, SOP's, JHA's, and job duties. We got an introduction from Paul the chief of resource management, and Colette, the cultural resources manager.

Our second day was very educational. We learned how to use a GPS unit as well as input this into a GIS program on the computer. Paul walked us through each step. GIS and GPS are very useful for parks and other organizations. They contain a tremendous amount of information and store it into an easily read file/map.

Wednesday we received training in how to drive the electrically powered vehicles that the park recently purchased with the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. These vehicles are powered entirely by an electric battery and have a very different feel from a car. The only way you know that the vehicle is on when you put the key into the ignition is by looking for a little glowing green light, as the engine makes no sound. Its top speed is about 25 miles per hour, and the battery lasts for a total of 30 miles before it has to be recharged. As part of the training we each had the chance to drive the vehicle as well. After breaking for lunch, Colette gave a talk on introduction to cultural resources. She told us the basics of cultural resources and its importance to the park and in the National Park Service in general. We got a tour of the collections building where they keep all artifacts found in the park. Later that afternoon, we went on a scavenger hunt with maps and had to find clues hidden throughout the park. The scavenger hunt was not only informative, but also served to help us to better navigate our way through the park.

Today we did more work in cultural resources, but we spent most of the day indoors. We scanned slides onto the computer and logged them in an excel file, we entered books from the library into the computer archive, and we sorted through files and put them in their correct location. Surprisingly, this activity was a lot of fun. After lunch we learned about water quality and chemistry. We took macroinvertebrate samples and E. coli samples from stream sites. The entire group really enjoyed this and learned a lot about stream insects and how they can indicate stream health.

Our second week at the park was completely different from the first, but equally educational and eventful. We are both looking forward to week three; we will be with law enforcement again. Next week we have defensive driving and firefighting training as well. We are excited to see what the rest of the summer internship experience entails.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Colonial Nat'l Historical Park Week 1

Its been a little over a week since I arrived at Colonial, and I must say that I am pretty pleased so far with all the staff that I have met, and the area that I live. My first few days was mainly an orientation to the area with my supervisor, Ken, who drove me around the park. The first couple of days would remind me of how Steve Clark informed us of what Rangers are required to do in the park when a problem occurs. Two juvenile fugitives broke out of their transport van and escaped onto park grounds, and were hiding in the battlefield areas.

This prompted the rangers of Colonial, and also other law enforcement officers from the surrounding area such as, York County Police, Sheriff's Dept, Newport News Park Rangers, and assistance by the K-9 Squad. I had the chance to witness a debriefing and plan of action taken by all these agencies together in the maintenance portion of the park. The communication by these agencies in the working together to achieve a common goal was a phenomenal thing for me to see, because one can often hear of how ineffective communication in times of crisis can occur and make matters worse. However, it also made me have the thought process of that, "If you break the law, we will hunt you down and find you", and surely later on that night the two individuals were back into custody. It was a very fun introduction into law enforcement in the park. This week I've been doing interpretation at the Visitor's Center, and have had the chance to attend various tours, as well as visit many sites in order to increase my park knowledge concerning the events that Colonial signifies. I look forward to a fun summer, and wish all of my prorangers the same!!

Independence National Park- Week 1

Our first week at Independence National Park in Philadelphia has been nothing short of amazing. Sarah and I were both very excited to get started, but were not quite sure what to expect. However, our supervisor, Paula Rissel immediately helped us to feel right at home. She introduced us to dozens of people from all different divisions within the park, and everyone was extremely welcoming.

Our first few days were spent learning the organization and layout of the park. Located in downtown Philadelphia, Independence National Historical Park is not very large in size compared to other National Parks, however, it services thousands of visitors every day. As the week went on, we toured all of the buildings controlled by the park, and tried to soak up as much historical knowledge as possible. We were given guides from both the Law Enforcement side and the Historic Interpretation side, which gave us vastly different perspectives on the inner-workings as well as historical significance of the park.

Independence National Historical Park also has a close relationship with the National Constitution Center (which is on park land, but not run by the park), so in order to be able to aid visitors to the park, as well as brush up on our history, we were given the opportunity to tour the NCC and see all of the exhibits.

Sarah was pumped that she got to arm-wrestle Ben Franklin in Founders Hall here at the NCC

More recently, we have been working with the Interpretation and Visitor Resource department, which is essentially the front line of the operation here at Inde. Individuals in the Interpretation department serve as guides and information aids for all the visitors to the park. They are the ones responsible for leading tours through the various buildings, providing the history and explanations of the various exhibits and artifacts, as well as keeping general order in the occasionally hectic areas of the park.

We were even able to spend some time at the front desk at the Independence Visitor Center. Because of the historical significance of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, this park is one of the premier destinations for people visiting Philadelphia not just from across the country, but from around the world! Thousands of people walk through these doors every day, and for some, it is their first visit to site where the U.S. gained its independence, and for others, it is a refresher course from that field trip they took here in 5th grade.

The more seasoned staff gave us all the information we needed to know, and were extremely helpful when we were unsure of an answer. Sarah and I had a great time hearing all of the different accents throughout the day, and agreed that it was very rewarding being able to help people through the park.

Fort McHenry

Hey everyone! Your parks sounds amazing! I just arrived at Fort McHenry on Sunday, May 22, so I've been here for four days now. I like it a lot! Fort McHenry is surrounded by water and is so pretty! Monday, we went to Fort Mead to the gun range for all the seasonals so they could get their gun qualifications. I got to call "Fire!" all the commands for them. Being semi-in charge was fun! Yesterday, I did the PEB test again and increased both my sit-and-reach and my bench press score. My sit-and-reach at Temple a couple weeks ago was a 22 3/4 and yesterday was 23 3/4. The bench press machine was slightly different and made a dramatic difference on my score. I went from 68 lbs a couple weeks ago to 105 lbs, practically my entire body weight! I feel like super woman! hehe Today and tomorrow we are doing our Operational Leadership training. Although it is a long process, Glen Clark has made it really interactive and interesting.

The picture to the left is a picture of the daily flag change at the star fort. There was a class there all the way from Montana. It was fun interacting with everyone and hearing one of the rangers tell the history about the flag and Fort McHenry to the children. The people I work with here are so nice. I have so much more to learn and experience here at Fort McHenry and I am super excited to see what the rest of the summer has to hold!

Boston National Historical Park- Week 1

On our first day in the Navy Yard, Jeff and I met with several different rangers, interpretation staff, maintenance, as well as spent a few hours with the Chief Ranger. We toured the USS Cassin Young, went through the USS Constitution Museum, as well as the Visitor's Center within the yard to help gain a better understanding of the history here at the park.

The past week we have spent going on several patrols throughout the city as well as visiting the different sites within the Boston National Historical Park. This has helped introduce us to the world of law enforcement, especially in an urban setting. It has also helped give us a better grasp on the city and how to maneuver through it.

Our first major task was to clean up and organize the exercise room within the Ranger Station.
We also went around to all of the various buildings to check supplies within the first aid kits, AED packs, and first responder kits. We had a check list and needed to make sure all were present within the packs and that they each had sufficient supplies.

Jeff and I also went through a check list checking the patrol cars prior to leaving for a patrol. First we needed to walk around the vehicle and assess for any damage that it may have received from a previous patrol. Then we checked to make sure all of the tail lights and head lights were working properly. We also needed to check the light bar and sirens as well as the PA system to make sure all were in working order. We then moved on to the trunk of the vehicle.
We made sure all of the necessary tools were present as well as a back up set of keys to all building sites and another first aid kit. We were also taught to check the back seat where prisoners are seated to make sure weapons or other objects were cleared out. All of these are key to check prior to leaving the station.

This week has been exciting and very informative and we both look forward to what has yet to come. The city adds to our excitement as well as the never ending possibilities in law enforcement. Hope everyone else is having as good of a time as we are! Good luck to everyone!

ProRangers Erin Langeheine and Jeff Parente

Harpers Ferry- Week 1

Our first week at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has been extremely exciting and informative. This past week we have worked with law enforcement to complete various tasks critical to the operation of the park. The first couple of days here at Harpers Ferry were filled with meeting park employees and touring the many historical sites at the park. These tasks were also coupled with patrol as well as watching the flood gauge on the Potomac River. On Thursday, the River reached flood stage and crested at 19 feet 3 inches. As a result, Ranger Mark Howard and myself inspected and closed the footbridge leading to the towpath of the C&O Canal and kept a close watch of Lower Town. Once the River crested, it quickly receded and we were able to reopen the bridge on Friday. Later on Friday, Ranger Howard and myself hiked the Maryland Heights trail and visited the Overlook. The Overlook is a breathtaking area that offers an astounding view of Harpers Ferry. Saturday was another busy day at the Park. We hiked additional trails this day, while patrolling the historic Lower Town of Harpers Ferry. On Monday, ProRanger Mark Clarke arrived to Harpers Ferry. Mark is quickly learning the ins and outs of the area and is excited to get to work. This week, we are in Operational Leadership Training on Tuesday and Wednesday and archeology on Thursday. I hope everybody first week was as awesome as ours here at Harpers Ferry. This area is extremely unique and the Park is filled with history, and great people. Have a good week!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ryan and Fallon's First Week in Gateway

During our first week at Gateway Fallon and I worked for interpretation from Wednesday to Sunday. In our time with interpretation we were familiarized with all of the historical monuments that Sandy Hook has to offer. From there we were assigned a project to run extension cords and lights in a place called the Mortar Battery. The Mortar Battery had not been toured in over ten years and was recently renovated to make this area tourable. One of our supervisors dreams before he leaves Sandy Hook in June was to see the Mortar Battery toured and completely lit and we were able to make that dream come true. For those of you who do not know what a Mortar Battery is, it was used for protection of the New York Harbor and consisted of twelve mortars which shot twelve inch projectiles high into the air with the goal of penetrating the wooden decks of possible impending European war ships. We spent two days running extension cords and lights and properly placing picture cards of the period in the rooms where they belonged to show how the mortar battery was run and what it looked like. 
Ryan giving us a great pose in the Mortar Battery

Fallon and I then began to get comfortable here at Gateway and were given the opportunity to escort a lantern tour given by war rein-actors which was an extremely cool experience. We were there to make sure all of the participants on the tour remained safe and answered any questions that they had.

We then moved on Saturday to guide our own tours at Battery Potter (once home to two 12 inch guns to protect the harbor) and the Sandy Hook lighthouse which is the oldest active lighthouse in all of the United States. We both did very well leaving all of our visitors questions answered.

 This week we have been working with Law Enforcement and have been attending the law enforcement refresher here at sandy hook. Our duties are to assist with anything requested of us by our supervisor. More then that we are getting an in depth look into the inner workings of the law enforcement here at sandy hook and how complicated it is. We have had many guest speakers ranging from the park police to SWAT negotiators. Below are some pictures which include the correct way to approach a crime scene along with what a law enforcement dog is trained to do. Just within the two days we have gained a wealth of knowledge and have gotten an in depth look into the law enforcement of the National Park Service.