Monday, July 18, 2011

Week 9 Shenandoah

Week 9

This week was spent with the Interpretation and Education Division. We mostly focused on preparing for our 20 minute speeches which we had to give to the visitors of the park. Public speaking is an important part in the improvement of our careers, and this would test us on various levels. We had to know the resource, in my case it was the Civilian Conservation Corps. We had to know our audience, which in the park peoples age can range from toddler to elderly. Last but not least we had to make the theme of our resource into a meaning that would not only be accurate and provide useful info to the public, but make them connect an intangible meaning to the resource. With my CCC talk my connection with the audience would not only be just about the hard labor these young men would do throughout the country and specifically in Shenandoah National Park, but the bright beacon of hope they provided for their families and the struggling nation.

On Thursday I gave my talk to an audience of roughly 8 people, which would be a good warm up for my same talk on Saturday where my audience would turn out to be more like 20 people. This was a good experience, it got me out of my comfort zone, which had many people question my background and want to get to know me on a more personal level after my talk was over. People have a genuine concern about the CCC, which makes the talk all the more interesting, many of whom would love to see another program using much of the same backbone of the original. I got to hear many interesting stories about visitors who's fathers were members of the CCC and my talk really seemed to engage them and strike a personal chord which made me feel like my job was done well.
My last day with I&E was spent with my coach Kathy. I shadowed her evening program at Big Meadows Amphitheater, where she gave a talk about the darker side of Shenandoah (nocturnal animals of the park)... I helped her recruit an audience from the campground and got to engage in a lot of good conversations with the visitors. About 150 showed up for the campfire talk and i got to spread the word about the ProRanger program to many of interested visitors.

We do no inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children... (stole that one from Chief Will Reynolds)

John Eichelberger "Iron John" named after "Iron Mike" statue in memory of the CCC : )

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