Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Weeks 4,5, and 6 at Colonial

Royal Artillery preparing to fire a 6lb Cannon

My 4th week in Colonial was with Interpretation. That Sunday I got to help out with the Royal Artillery Demonstration which was very exciting! We got to help out with making the rounds for the blackpowder to be fired. We also go to see how a  cannon would have to be handled in order for it to have been fully operationable for a siege war. From my understanding, the soldiers during the Revolutionary War cannons were firing 3 times a minute. Thats every 20 seconds! The demonstration was a great success and visitors sheared in amazement of the smaller cannon's emmense power.

Terrecential Monument at Jamestown

The next day I got to tour around Jamestown, which was the first British Colony to be settled in America. We learned the true story of Pocohontas which was nothing like the movie I seen as a child. Pocohontas was one of many children, and she was the favorite. Thus with the social heirachary of the British, Pocohonatas was mistaken as a princess. She was kidnapped and held for ransom to have an upper edge in the war between the colonists and natives. But her father, leader of the natives, basically said the British could keep her. Which resulted in Pocohonatas falling in love with and marrying John Rolfe (not John Smith).  She was also the first to introduce "cartwheels" to the British.

Statue on the left of Pocohontas as Jamestown
Portrait on the right is an actual depiction of Pocohontas

Statue of Capt. John Smith overlooking the James River and Fort.

The highlight of the Jamestown tour was the archaelogical digs and reconstruction of the James Fort. The reconstruction of the Fort sits in the very same place as the original. Through archaeloical excavations and soil testing, they found the original foundation of the wooden posts where the James Fort first stood. You can get a better idea of it from the picture on the above. It shows the interior of where the wall would have been and might have looked at. One of the best things about Jamestown is that there are excavations and discoveries taking place today.

Archaelogical Excavation of the First James Fort Church where Pocohontas and John Rolfe were married.

Moore House Reconstructed to it's 1781 appearance

For the rest of the week we helped out at the information desk in the Yorktown Visitor Center, greeting guests and helping with questions. One of the best experiences was "swearing" in Junior Park Rangers We got to raise the flags outside of the vistor center, which were flags form the different regiments invloved in the Revolutionary War. I aslo got to work at the Moore House. Which played a major role in the Surrender of the British. Both representatives from the Allies and British came together to draft the Articles of Capitulation at the Moore House. The Moore House was a location set away from the actual battle and alos known to be vacant. The Moore House was owned by over 40 owners before it was finally purchased and donated to the NPS by John D. Rockefeller.

What the room may have looked like when drafting the Articles of Capitulation

Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD
Fort Mchenry was a great experience for my 5th and start of my 6th week. It was the closest by far to feeling like an actual NPS Law Enforcement Officer. As a whole we had many responsibilities during our Detail at the Fort. Primarily dealing with Traffic and Crowd Control, which were no easy tasks. Working the Fort and Seawall as a lead was like doing the Pack Test all day long in the sun.  I loved being in charge of a squad and making sure everything was organized and up to standards on my part. But it was challenging making sure your squad was hydrated and focused on the task at hand while answering questions and walking everywhere around the Fort and around the park. I really did enjoy being a leader, it was nothing like anything I have ever experienced. The Fort was surrounded by a wooden fence and due to the high volume of people that would show up for the Blue Angels Air Show the Fort was closed off to the public (except for the VIPs of course, Friends of Fort McHenry). So my job was to post a member at each break in the fence to help keep visitors away from the closed area. I also had the task of working the Seawall, which goes around half of the park. That task was not easy making you way through hordes of visitors trying to keep them off the fenced off Seawall, which is basically a stone path along the river. Again members from each squad were strategically placed so that they could keep visitors safe. The entire Detail was very daunting, but I would have not been able to do it without, Jennifer Plugfelder, Jessica Cooper, Jackie Innella, Vinny Lemba, and Fallon Roberson-Roby. The Detail for us was 5 days. It was long, but very exciting. We got to work with fellow ProRangers and all other types of Employees of the NPS and outside Agencies.
Blue Angels' Diamond Formation
The last few days in week 6 will be spent in Dispatch. I have learned although it seems like an easy job, but it's alot of hard work. You must stay alert and focused at all times if you want to be a good dispatcher. Everyone on the park is depending on you to keep them safe and communicate effectively. Our dispatch office is also connected to other parks whcih help support and backup other parks if their systems were to malfunction. Dispatch is a 24/7 operation, which can include long shifts if need be. I can't wait to learn more about dispatch and what my following week in Administration has in store.

Dispatch Office.

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