Friday, July 22, 2011

BOST- Week 8

This past week in Boston has been filled with some fun activities to help us deal with the heat! Our week began with the folks at the Boston African American National Historic Site. Jeff and I were able to sit in on the staff's weekly meetings where the manager likes to touch base with everyone to see what they have been up to. We learned that this type of weekly meeting is very helpful at keeping track of what things are getting done and if anyone needs specific help or supplies for completing their tasks. We then went on a tour of the several buildings that have played major roles in African American history in Boston. It was awesome to learn this other side of Boston History that can sometimes get overlooked when thinking of the Revolutionary Period.

The next day we had a chance to go with the Trailblazers, a group of high school students that work in the park over the summer cleaning up the park sites, specifically in the Navy Yard. This group of young men and women were very hard workers as well as able to make some fun out of the tough labor they complete. It was great to work with them and helped give Jeff and I another perspective of the park; we will no longer take for granted the view of a weed-less lot! We also joined in their end of the day review session. After the end of each day, everyone sits in a circle and does the rose, the bud, and the thorn. The rose is one thing they enjoyed, the bud is something they are looking forward to, and the thorn is something they disliked about the day. Something as simple as this was a great way to recap the day and provide discussion and a sense of bonding between those involved.

Jeff and I also got the chance to go to Spectacle Island, one of 34 of Boston Harbor Islands and Peninsulas. Who says there is no wild life in Boston? The island was created by a glacier till, which was better described to us as "a glacier pooping". The island was then used as a place to store garbage. They later expanded and built up the island with the dirt excavated from the Big Dig tunnels in Boston. The island is now open to the public and tours are offered on the island as well as on kayaks. It is a beautiful place to use as a get-away from the every day hustle and bustle of downtown Boston.

This is the view of Boston from the island. This is also the highest point in the harbor, a whopping 155 feet above sea-level!

Jeff and I took part in the taser refresher with one of the seasonal rangers, Dan Hall. The instructor went through the power-point that reviews the basic functions and uses of the taser. After reviewing the power-point and taking a short quiz, we were able to witness Hall complete his two practice rounds with the taser. He was to shoot one cartridge and then step back, reload, and then fire again. Unfortunately there were not enough cartridges for Jeff and I to fire so we had to settle for just watching. Witnessing the practice fires alone were enough to deter us from wanting to mess with any officer threatening to use it! It is just a shame that more criminals do not feel the same.

Later on in the week, we spent time with Administration. We learned that Admin basically deals with everything. They typically are the over-seers of most dealings within the park. They also help new employees fill out the necessary paperwork upon being hired. Another one of their tasks is to maintain and keep track of the donation boxes that the park has placed in various sites throughout the park. We have boxes in two of the Visitor Center's, on the USS Cassin Young, and at the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum.
Jeff and I were tasked with going around and inspecting each of the boxes. We were looking to see how close in proximity they were to the exit, if there were cameras focused on them, and if they were bolted down in some way. This was helped keep Admin informed as to which boxes are in safe locations and which ones should be re-evaluated. Upon our discoveries, we were able to help confirm the decision to buy new donation boxes all together; ones that will be more secure and easier to use.

This past week has been informative and obviously fun even when dealing with the heat! Jeff and I cannot believe that there are only 3 weeks left in our time here. We will continue to soak up as much information and experiences as possible! We hope everyone else is doing the same!

ProRangers Jeff Parente and Erin Langeheine

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