Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Week 3 at Shenandoah National Park!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Memorial Day and I also hope that all of you got to thank someone who has fought or is fighting for our freedom.

Week 3 I worked with administration from Tuesday-Friday.  Tuesday I attended a SQUAD meeting in the headquarters training room which consisted of a biweekly meeting with all the division chiefs about situations within the park and their divisions in particular. The deputy superintendent Jennifer Flynn and I went to lunch together and discussed everything that has been going on with me in the park. She is very interested to know everything about the ProRanger program and wants to hear about everything I do since she has known about the program before it began. Jennifer was making me feel very welcomed down here and offered her support on anything I needed help with. It felt very relaxing knowing that I was going to have her looking out for me and guiding me through my time in this program.

I worked with numerous people in administration; I learned various things including how to apply for a job, make a resume, and give people information at the information desk. Dawn Webster talked to me about jobs and putting together a resume.  Judy Kilby’s job description consists of new employee orientation, uniforms, keys, checkout sheets, recording announcements for job vacancies, and she is also the workman’s compensation coordinator.  Sandy Bridges is the voucher and property manager who pays all the utility bills and takes care of all the employees’ personal property such as laptops and vehicles.

Wednesday I worked with Dan Hurlbert who is a Geographic Information System (GIS) specialist. We used Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology to locate interpretive signs for input to a GIS. With the information the results will be used to make maps showing the conditions of the signs that are maintained by the Interpretation and Education divisions and to also have the inventory for future reference. We worked on bulletin boards, double sided bulletin boards, trailheads, and waysides. 

I enjoyed working with Dan and I am happy to say that he and I will be working together again on Thursday and hopefully a little more throughout the summer. I know that my help was beneficial to him because it helps to have four hands rather than two. I feel good that I am able to at least continue to finish some of what Dan and I started. We are not anywhere near done, but I have faith that we will be by the time I am finished here.
Thursday I worked with Solim Garcia and Dave Neuman in the IT department.  They are in charge of over 250 computers/laptops within the park.  Their job is difficult and stressful because of their business overload. They have been a big help to me in the computer department and thanks to them I can attend my online class with Dr. Irons without any problems; everyone says that they could not live without them.

Thursday afternoon I worked with Patressa Kearns. We worked on back country camping permits. Shenandoah National Park has 196,000 acres of backcountry. The park also has 500 miles of trails to explore. Backcountry camping allows you to witness firsthand the beauty of Shenandoah's wildlife. They have all different information on backcountry camping on the website. This was interesting to me because I wondered where the backcountry permits came from that people had with them prior to coming to the park. You can also issue your own back country camping permits when you get to the park. In my opinion I would rather know where I am going to stay beforehand so I could plan my trip accordingly and not spur of the moment but everyone is different and some people prefer to be spontaneous. 

Friday I worked with Sarah Willoughby and Annmarie Campbell; they taught me about budgeting within the park. They both monitor the money that is given to Shenandoah National Park by the government. In the beginning of the year they estimate how much money each division is going to spend and at the end of every month they match up the actual spending with the estimated spending.  They also take care of charge cards and review travel vouchers. I also met with Cary Price, who is a Contract Specialist and works in the Major Acquisition Buying Office (MABO). She informed me that anything ordered over $3,000 within the park has to go through her division. These purchase requests need someone that works in MABO to sign off on them and in order to do that every two years the MABO employees are required to take contracting classes.
Friday afternoon administration had pizza for me and Patressa baked me a cake in the shape of a heart because I am from the city of brotherly love. We all talked and got along and had a great week together. At the end of the day I spoke with Solim about everything that I did during the week and about my career in general; he answered any questions that I had and helped me a lot. I know if I ever need anything I can go to administration and they will be more than happy to help me. I loved working with them; they are really a great group of individuals. 

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