Monday, June 24, 2013
Antietam National Battlefield Week 4
Hello everyone, Jess here giving you all an ANTI update. So far I have been here for a month and I am still enjoying every moment; that’s got to be some sort of a sign, I’m sure.
My fourth week at Antietam National Battlefield began on Tuesday June 11 at 8:30AM. As usual, Tom picked me up from my housing to start our day. Before he left the ranger station to get me, he received a call from maintenance workers doing gardening at the cemetery. While they were gardening, these employees ran into a family of possums that was out during the day. THE DAY! That is obviously a matter of security because possums are nocturnal and should not be out during the day. When they are, there has to be something wrong with the animal and should be taken care of. By the time we got to the cemetery, there was only one possum left still awake hiding under a bush. Tom decided it would be best to capture the animal so he found a groundhog trap and put some fruit in it to lure in the possum. Throughout the day, we checked on our possum and saw that it stayed tucked under the bush all day. The next morning Tom and I checked again to see if the possum either moved or was trapped and found that it just moved. We figured that there was nothing terribly wrong with the possum, but it got disturbed by the weed whackers and mowers in the morning and went defensive because of the baby possums. After realizing that, Tom and I returned the trap back to its original place and went on with the rest of our day.
Later that week, Tom and I went in work a little later than our normal times. Because of the ranger who usually closes on Thursday being out on leave, we had the task of working 1:30 to 10 in order to assist later visitors and closing the park. A project that we had that day was changing batteries of emergency exit signs in the Visitor’s Center. First we had to head over to the nearby city of Hagerstown, also home to NCR dispatch (see Week 2), to purchase the batteries that were needed. Once we did that, we headed back to the park to do our current job. Once we got to the Visitor’s Center, we ran into a few visitors who just got to the park. Unfortunately for them, by the time they got there the VC had closed and they were not sure what to do. Tom gave me a park brochure to give to them and they were very appreciative. I remembered what Tom told me earlier in the summer: “You can always make a visitor’s day by giving out a map” and it looked like he was right. That short interaction with a visitor made me realize that I was in the right position, being a public servant.
After we changed the batteries at the VC and I collected the money from the donation box Tom and I headed back to the Ranger Station to get ready to do a final patrol and close the park. Once we got prepared (with our flashlights) I drove the two of us around so that we could lock up and check on anyone else lurking in the park. It was pretty cool driving around the park and closing; it’s like I work here.