Saturday, August 11, 2012

End of Harpers Ferry NHP Internship

In the last weeks at Harpers Ferry, we had many great opportunities. Supervisor Mark Howard took us to Short Hill for some boundary checking. We checked up where the boundary is near personal property to make sure that their driveway is not running through the park property, like it once did. Everything was fine and we enjoyed the scenery while we were there.

The last and final week we were with maintenance. We were able to spend more time with Peter as he took us around Virginius Island teaching us more about the history and landscape of the area when it was a functional and popular island in the 1800s. He talked to us about the excavating and restoring that occurred after the floods in 1996 to restore some of the ruins so visitors may be able to picture what it once looked like.

The next day we went to Prince William National Forest Park for some firearms training! After a whole summer of taking apart and putting together the firearms, as well as loading and unloading, we felt comfortable with the firearms and ready to shoot. We shot many rounds with the handgun, including with our weak hand and one handed. We also were able to shoot the shotgun a few times with buck shots and slugs. Chief Ranger Cindy Sirk-Fear of PRWI instructed us through the target practice, while Ranger David Ballam and Mark Howard reviewed proper shooting stances with us while we waited for our turn to shoot. Renee and I were proud of our targets at the end of the practice.

The last day we were with Custodial and Grounds roads and trails. Working with Merle and his crew in custodial is always great because the crew works so hard and so well together we have a blast. Cleaning the exhibits is also a job that is very important, and we are proud we are able to help take care of the exhibits. Later that day we had another opportunity to work with Denny and his crew of Grounds, Roads, and Trails. We cleared the ground from rocks and large debris where a fence is going to be built. Renee and I enjoyed working alongside the tractor, and stopped for a picture with it.

This summer has definitely been way more than I could have ever asked for. The opportunities and experiences and training we received are just remarkable. Harpers Ferry is a beautiful place that is the perfect amount of history and nature and recreation for anyone and everyone to enjoy. Being able to see and work for a place as important as Harpers Ferry has given us all the inspiration to go out there and protect our land. The people I met here have all had an impact on my life, whether it being public relation skills I learned from interpretation, or working together as a team in maintenance, to all the law enforcement ways of thinking from the Harpers Ferry police that were kind enough to bring us out on many ride a longs, everyone taught me something that will go with me forever. Of course there is no doubt about the person who taught us the most, who had the biggest impact on making our experience here the best. Mark Howard was a great mentor who taught us the ins and outs of being a park ranger. Renee and I truly got the most out of this summer that we could have because of the great people this park has as well as our own motivation for physical and intellectual fitness. This summer has been an experience of a lifetime, so thank you to everyone who made it happen.

Farewell-  Jackie Innella and Renee Benson

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