Monday, June 13, 2011

SNP Week 4

(Hemlock Tree, A rare find due to an invasive Aphid insect which has descimated its former range.. see below left) (Left is the Barred Owl)

Shenandoah National Park----- John Eichelberger

It is already week 4 of our 13 week internship here at Shenandoah. This week we spent time with the Interpretive media and education division of the Park. This was a completely different experience then the others so far and the people within the division are eccentric and very passionate about their jobs. This was very impressive to me and a pleasure to see people who know doubt love their line of work.

Throughout the week we were told that by the end of the summer we will have to get our advanced interpretive certificate which involves many different steps along the process. We met our coach and she has pointed us in the right direction. I will give more details when they are available, but the end all be all is that it will culminate with a 20 minute presentation to Park visitors on a topic of our choosing that relates to a park resource.

(This is Sue doing an Interpretive Hike up Hawsbill Mountain.. It was good to watch her and this is more interesting then meets the eye because the plant in the background is the American Chestnut Tree which is nearly extict due to an invasive fungus known as Chestnut Blight)

We also got to spend times with various other interpretive employees whom showed us the injured birds of prey which are now used for an educational birds of prey ranger talk. They all gave excellent advice and examples of what it means to really do interpretation. You need to give a tangible resource IE. the forest, an intangible meaning IE. a beautiful forest.

The Byrd Visitor Center located in Big Meadows mile 51 of skyline drive was amazing and tells the interesting story of how the park was created, and how the residents lives were uprooted for the creation of the park. It was both sad for the former "mountain people", and moving that such a place was created for all of the citizens of the United States to enjoy and cherish. The Civilian Conservation Corps also was first used in this Park and did an absolutely fonominal job making the numerous trails, replanting thousands of trees, moving the entire 105 miles of the Appalachian Trail , and building the world renowned Skyline Drive. The amount of work these young men accomplished during the great depression motivates me, and gives me hope that programs like this were and could be great again at mobilizing our beleagured work force.. ( what do you think Congress?!?)

(here you can see some of the native flora of the park... oh wait and a mother bear and her two playful cubs... very cool!..... its a shame the picture didnt turn out great we were actually only about 20 meters from them!)

Last but not least, which is becomming a fairly common occurance, was a rescue we participated in.. which was found at the infamous Old Rag Trail... We have had numerous people get hurt so far this season and almost all of them were on Old Rag. One even required Eagle One from Washington as the visitor had fallen some 50 feet and was severely injured. If your reading this and would like to enjoy a trail make sure your prepared!

Remember the past, Enjoy the present, Plan for the future

John Eichelberger

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