Monday, May 30, 2011

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

No comments:

Post a Comment