Sunday, September 29, 2013

National Public Lands Day 2013: Valley Forge NHP


Working to remove a sheet of plastic 
On September 28, 2013,ProRanger Philadelphia participated in National Public Lands Day at Valley Forge National Historical Park. ProRangers Jordan Keiffer, Tia Solomon, Renee Benson. and Jay Copper attended the event, which gathered volunteers from around the area and put them to work in the park. After arriving at the park, the ProRangers and approximately 15 other volunteers were assigned to the Catfish Island clean-up crew. Catfish Island is a small island located on the Schuylkill River, which is only accessible via boat. After receiving a morning briefing from group leader Ranger Bungard, we headed out to the boat launch, and began to shuttle volunteers to the island.
ProRanger Copper and a volunteer working to remove a metal drum.

Upon arrival at Catfish Island, we assisted in cleaning up the debris and garbage that finds its way onto the small strip of land. Over the course of two hours, we were able to find everything from fishing poles to car tires. Many of these items were buried beneath years of soil deposits, and some items were even tangled in tree roots. With the help of the volunteers (and some critical thinking), the majority of the buried garbage was able to be removed. Although we had limited resources, we were able to use the ideas of other group members and the items found on the island, to extricate the garbage. All of the garbage that was found on the island was deposited into bags, which will be picked up by park employees in the coming days. For larger items, we created multiple piles that will also be removed.
ProRanger Benson collecting tires!

At the conclusion of the day, we all gathered around the island's access point and assisted as volunteers were shuttled back to the parking area. Once all of the volunteers were accounted for, we began to pack up for the day. Under the instruction of Ranger Bungard, we were able to help in bringing the boat out of the water, and reloading it onto the parks boat trailer. This was a great experience, as only one of the ProRangers had previously been involved in boat operations.

National Public Lands Day is an awesome event that allows park visitors to get involved in the maintenance of the park, and volunteer for the day. It is amazing how much work can be accomplished when several groups work together. Thank you to Valley Forge National Historical Park, and all of the Rangers and volunteers that made National Public Lands Day a success!

One more bag!
You never know what you'll find!

ProRanger Solomon greeting volunteers!

At home on the water!

Thank you for reading!

Jay Copper

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