Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Harpers Ferry Internship Week #6

We started this week off with Education. The Congressional Youth Leadership Camp (CYCL) involves children from various middle schools across the nation who are nominated by a teacher to participate in this program. It involves many learning experiences, one of them being at Harpers Ferry. It was a great opportunity to take part in  seeing the learning activities and experiences the children can obtain from the park.  Over 200 kids are split in to different groups, one being the military station where I (Jackie) worked at. The kids received wooden rifles and costume confederate uniform hats, as they get a small taste of what life was like being a confederate soldier with the training and drills. The citizen station is where I (Renee) became the Sergeant of the Provost Guardsman for the day. The primary duty of the Provost Guardsmen was to put citizens in jail for not having proper identification, union spies, if a person looks or acts suspicious. The children experienced how life was like for citizens of Virginia in the 1800's. Later that day we took a bus trip to South Mountain with a group of teachers and an educator that is employed at Harpers Ferry NHP. These teachers are taking a course about what was going on in these towns here during the civil war, and the important battles. We were able to see some vital battle sights that are located around Harpers Ferry.

The next day we worked with Dale Nisbet from the Natural Resources Division. We went to Short Hill, a hidden beauty, where we checked up on wood rat traps. Although nothing yielded rats, it is showing that perhaps their population is not so dense in this area. After that we went to work on the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) research which is Intern Tom's special project. Many traps have been put in the trees to try to collect these insects to see if there are any indications that this beetle is present in the area. The EAB will bore in to ash trees and the larvae will eat the inner bark of the tree here the phloem is located and restrict the trees ability to transport water and nutrients which ultimately kills the tree. Tom is collecting enough data to show that the rivers can play a huge part in the spread of these detrimental beetles. Being able to see this new research going on was very interesting, and being able to help set up new traps was very exciting.  If you ever see a purple triangular shaped thing hanging in the tree canopy, now you know that it is part of the  EAB monitoring project.
Wood Rat Trap
Emerald Ash Borer Trap


The following day we were back with law enforcement!  Cars were illegally parked at a bus drop off/pick up stop at Potoma Wayside. We had practiced before writing warnings, but this time we were writing tickets and performing the radio calls to dispatch for car tag identifying and other information. Using the radios for this situation was new and a great learning experience as we learned how to become more comfortable with using the proper codes and procedures that are carried out. Later that day we were patrolling when Renee noticed an open door to an old abandoned and secured power plant. Upon further investigation we were able to see how the people entered from which way, and what it was they were doing there- scrapping the old copper and other metals for money. It was very exciting to see what good can come about patrolling when you are engaged in the surrounding area.

Friday and Saturday we were working with the Fee Department. Friday was beneficial because we learned how their duties are carried out while it was not overly busy. We worked in the entrance station where visitors come to park. We collect their money and answer questions they may have. There is much to learn because certain groups (school groups, large groups, etc.) have a different way of paying. On Saturday we did the same thing, although this time it was much busier so the training we had the day before was much needed. As one of us worked the entrance station the other worked down by the train station directing people were to park and how to pay. We switched half way through the day so we got to experience both stations.  It was a lot of fun talking with park visitors.

                                  -Jackie Innella and Renee Benson

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