Saturday, July 14, 2012
Harpers Ferry NHP Internship Week #8 and #9
We were very excited when we found out we were working with Natural Resources for another day on Tuesday. We went with intern Tom to Short Hill to help him with his EAB studies, which we mentioned previously in an earlier blog. Renee, who specializes in Dendrology, was able to identify the trees Tom needed identified, as I was also learning the trees. After some time at Short Hill, we went over to Virginuis Island to continue with tree identification. Within a couple minutes of walking we came across an interesting sight. A pitch fork, garden rake and large bucket were chained to a tree. Scattered all around were moth balls, and at the river a small dam was made and crayfish were in the small pool the dam was creating. We called LE to see what should be done about it. Ranger Boyce and Ranger Sheetz who were on duty came down to check it out. We decided to wait 24 hours, the amount of time one can leave an item at a park, and if it was still there the next day then we would confiscate it. Sure enough all the items were still there the next day, so we removed the chain to get the items. Renee and I then proceeded to take our shoes off, roll up our pants, walk in the water and destroy the dam.
Later that week Supervisor Mark Howard gave us some handcuff training, and we were able to practice the techniques on intern Dustin Turner.
The following week we went with Mark Howard to court on some misdemeanors that were being fought. Seeing the whole process of the paperwork, appearing in court and how the judicial system works was a great opportunity and learning experience for us. Later that day we were with Administration for the last time. First we met with Betty Bell, who is the Supply Technician. Then we met with Gayleen Boyd, who is the Administrative Officer. They both have significant duties that play an important role at HAFE. The next day we met up with the Superintendent of HAFE NHP, Rebecca Harriet. We sat in on a conference call about the Youth Conservation Camp out that will be taken place at Prince William National Forest Park. It was great being able to talk with her. She informed us about her experiences working for the NPS and how she achieved her position.
On Friday the 13th, we had the opportunity to take the summer PEB and were very proud to see all of our hard work paid off. Our weekly fitness regime was indicated on our new scores. Our scores improved tremendously from just a few months ago. Later that day we partook in our first river rescue. While on vehicle patrol supervisor Mark Howard was approached by a park visitor stating that there was a young female in distress located in the Potomac River. We swiftly proceeded to the located and found the female sitting on a pillar underneath the bridge in the middle of the Potomac River. I (Benson) quickly distributed my belongings to my partner Jackie and made my way to the subject. It was pretty shallow for the most part but as soon as I made my way close to the pillar, the strength of the current was working against me. I made my way slowly to the subject and reassured her that everything was going to be ok. While Supervisor Howard was communicating with Central Dispatch, I flagged a boating fisherman nearby. The fisherman responded and I assisted the subject on the boat where we were taken to the shoreline and the subject was picked up by her tubing company. It was a very successful water rescue because of teamwork and every one played a major role in this incident.
After the river rescue we practiced some more traffic stops. This time we actually ‘pulled over’ a car (with intern Dustin as the role player) by using the emergency lights. We ran through the operation like it was a real life situation from start to finish. We even called in to Central Dispatch on the radios (which we warned them ahead of time it was just a practice) to run Dustin’s vehicle tag and driver’s license. Supervisor Mark Howard taught us viable information that we will use in the future. Dustin is a great sport for assisting in our training!
Written by: Jackie Innella & Renee Benson