Monday, July 18, 2011

SNP --> Week 9

I seriously believe that Shenandoah becomes more beautiful every day. I wake up every morning and think how lucky I am to live in these mountains, work in this park, and I seriously doubt a person's daily commute to work could be more enjoyable or more scenic! That had absolutely nothing to do with this past week of the internship, but its true and I wanted to share that with all of you.

(Me giving my interpretive talk!)

John and I spent all our time during this first week back after Leadership Camp with Interpretation and Education. The week consisted entirely of preparing, practicing, and giving our interpretive talks. Mine was on the AT (Appalachian Trail). It was 20 minutes long and I gave it to a small group of about 7 visitors outside Byrd Visitors Center at 3 o'clock on Thursday. Surprisingly, I enjoyed giving the program and it actually went very well! Kathy Gross, our interpretation coach, watched our programs and gave us feedback afterward. We were also videotaped. If Kathy ever posts them on YouTube, I will post a link to the video here on the blog for all who are interested. After my talk I even got to sign 3 Junior Ranger books! Its really neat to see how little kids are so invested and interested in the National Park Service.

The week concluded Saturday with me getting the opportunity to work behind the Visitor's Center front desk. I think I answered the same question about 4 million times but it was a lot of fun! I love talking with the visitors, seeing where they're from, how long they're staying, and what wildlife they've seen so far. I think I actually learned more than the visitors did through this experience. Listening to the other rangers behind the desk talk to people helped me to better answer questions as they came up. Saturday was also the Blackberry Festival at Big Meadows. There were many desserts all with blackberries in them and live music and other merchandise stands were among the festivities.

(Me signing a Junior Ranger book at Byrd Visitor's Center)

Finally, it was super great to be able to spend my birthday (yesterday) in a national park! Some of the employees at Byrd made the day special by getting me little presents. Also, many thanks to those of you fellow ProRangers who texted me to say happy birthday :) Now I can add Shenandoah to my growing list of exotic places to have spent my birthday. I've already begun to wonder what park I'll be in for my 21st!

Until next week,

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