Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 10: Resource Management

Week 10: Resource Management,  Pt. 2

This week I spent some more time with the department of Resource Management; they deal specifically with environmental affairs within the park. I was welcomed by Ranger Sarah Koenig who took me across the battlefield as we tested several water courses flowing through the park. We tested the water in these creeks and streams for several variables, including oxygen levels, nitrogen content, and temperature. Each of these factors help the National Park Service determine the cleanliness of their watercourses and how well they can sustain local wildlife. I was impressed to know that many of the creeks and streams that flow through Gettysburg are improving in their overall quality and support a diverse ecosystem of fish and reptiles. Throughout the day with Ranger Koenig I also learned more about the local plant-life within the park. We even took time to eat some wine-berries right off the bush! She also pointed out several examples of invasive species of plants throughout the park. These species, while appearing harmless, actually pose significant risks to native plants within the park. These invasive species also interfere with biologists attempts to preserve the historic appearance of the park as it did at the time of the battle in 1863. Despite the best efforts of Resource Management to curtail them, many of these invasive plants continue to find their way into the park.
          I also had the opportunity to explore       “Lost Avenue” with Chief Ranger of Law Enforcement Ryan Levins. Lost Avenue is not a road but a clearing with several Civil War monuments from decades ago. These monuments were placed here by Civil War veterans in accordance with park regulations stating that monuments could only be placed where their historic units were located. At the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, these units were located far to the rear of where the major fighting took place. As a result, veterans were forced to place their monuments in this out-of-the-way location. Since the monuments were established along Lost Avenue, they gradually became forgotten and remain hidden at the far corner of the battlefield. Surrounded by private property and without any easy means of access, “Lost Avenue” remains an isolated stretch of land protected by the National Park Service. In many ways it is a hidden jewel, holding a unique presence, far-removed from the major trails and roadways of the battlefield. This particular day, the sunlight glistened through the tress and the woods were largely silent, creating a tranquil stillness across “Lost Avenue.” I was impressed by this ambiance, as well as the detail and craftsmanship that went into these long-forgotten monuments.

Around the same time that I was exploring Lost Avenue, the Law Enforcement Rangers discovered evidence of digging within the park near Culp's Hill. Gettysburg is occasionally the target of souvenir hunters who cross the battlefield looking for war relics, such as bullets, buttons, and other items leftover from the battle. Chief Ranger for Law Enforcement Ryan Levins and I went out to mark the dozen spots where the relic-hunter was digging. Ranger Levins showed me how he set up the investigation, mapped the area of the dig, and notified Resource Management about it. Battlefield relics are a big business both in Gettysburg and across the United States, leading some people to scrounge for them on battlefields across the country. Not only does relic hunting damage the park's grounds, but it also disrespects the park's historical integrity and its role as a memorial to Civil War soldiers.

            Overall, my time with Resource Management reminded me of how much detail goes into preserving the environmental integrity of the park. Issues like water-management, protecting lost monuments, and preserving the battlefield from relic hunting are key components of the National Park Service and important for me to learn about as a future ranger. Law Enforcement Rangers help investigate any environmental or cultural damages to the park and work with Resource Management to create solutions for them. This week really reinforced for me how small minutia often makes up key components of the park; for instance slight differences in watercourses' temperature can mark the difference between life and death for many plants and animals inhabiting them. Also, if a small instance of relic hunting is not investigated, it may open the park up to more damaging instances of digging for souvenirs. For this reason, Law Enforcement Rangers need to continuously coordinate with Resource Management, for they often hold valuable information that can keep the park in pristine condition.

Gettysburg Week 8-9: Law Enforcement

Gettysburg National Military Park
Week 8-9: Law Enforcement

The past two weeks I have spent with law enforcement at Gettysburg, where I have learned a great deal more about the details that make a police department work. One day was spent exploring the support groups that assist law enforcement agencies in their everyday functions. Chief Ranger of Law Enforcement, Ryan Levins, took me out to Cumberland County Police Headquarters where I got to meet the police dispatchers and see the county prison. Dispatch is responsible for receiving both civilian and law enforcement calls, entering the data into their computer system, and then issuing directives to the police as needed. The dispatch workers provide an invaluable service, which includes four computer screens, several filing cabinets, three telephones, and piles of paperwork. Nevertheless, each dispatcher was cool under pressure and able to juggle all of these different resources to get police where they needed to go. 

Another day I spent with Law Enforcement Ranger John Sherman as we monitored traffic for speeding. Ranger Sherman explained to me how such “speed traps” were set up. First one must select a location where oncoming and outgoing traffic can be monitored and the squad-car can be concealed from drivers. After choosing a position along a busy stretch of road traveling through the park, the morning traffic brought several speeders our way. Ranger Sherman selected one speeder for a ticket after they were traveling over 18 mph over the posted 25 mph speed limit. I was fascinated with how much detail went into a basic traffic stop. Ranger Sherman explained the many factors to consider, such as selecting when and where to pull someone over, keeping an eye on the driver and making sure you can observe their hands, calling in the license plate and driver’s license to dispatch, filling out the ticket, and interacting with the driver in a professional manner throughout. This work continued long after the driver received their ticket and was on their way. At the end of our shift, Ranger Sherman then had to process the ticket on a computer and in a log book, then file the ticket receipts in two separate folders for future reference. By the end of it all, a single ticket took around forty-five minutes of our day to complete from the start of the stop to filing the ticket back at the office. Such work is a testament to the patience of law enforcement officers in dealing with both the public and the legal requirements of the job.

Perhaps the most important event of my time with law enforcement was when we received a call of an Interpretive Ranger having a seizure at the Visitor's Center. This ranger had gone into an epileptic seizure while conducting an interpretive program and the Law Enforcement Rangers were called to the scene. I remember rushing to the Visitor's Center with several other rangers and helping them administer treatment. Fortunately, the ranger having the seizure was alright, and after some quick treatment, he was back on his feet again. During this emergency call I really felt a connection with the other Law Enforcement Rangers and recognized within myself why I wanted to do this job: to help people. I enjoyed the thrill of the lights and sirens and the knowledge that what I was doing was making a genuine difference in the park. Afterwards, all of the Law Enforcement Rangers met and performed an After-Action Review to discuss the incident. The whole experience was a positive one, revealing the professionalism and dedication of the Law Enforcement Rangers to help a comrade in need. I was proud to stand in such good company and look forward to more successful days like this in my future career!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ProRangers on the web and facebook!

If you enjoy reading this blog and following the adventures of the Temple University ProRangers, you can now follow them on Facebook, too:  Please "like" and comment on our page, photos and post your own!

I am also pleased to announce the ProRanger website has been updated - check out the new photos and profiles of our ProRanger alumni:

The ProRangers are currently submitting photos from their internships this summer for a contest.  We would like you, the blog readers, to vote on those you like best.  More information coming soon!

Finally, information about the fall 2012 recruitment cycle will be posted soon. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hello ProRangers,

I want to thank those of you whom I was able to meet for lunch on Monday.  I thoroughly enjoyed talking with you and finally putting some names and faces together.  I hope I didn't dominate the conversation too much.  I am not shy about speaking in public but I don't want you to ever feel that I don't have time to listen as well.  Thank you for welcoming me to Temple!

Ranger Krug

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Hello, ProRangers,

I am Luis Krug, the new Program Manager for your ProRanger Philadelphia.  I am anxious to meet you after hearing so many positive comments about you.  I am sure there are many things you can teach me, such as how to be a better blogger.  I will be contacting you shortly to determine what days and hours are most convenient for you for me to establish "office hours" on campus.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me at 215.597-1281 or by email at  My cell phone number will be 215. 437-2595, but is currently unavailable.  I look forward to the opportunity to work and learn with you.

Ranger Krug