Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Week at Valley Forge

For my summer internship at Valley Forge I switch to a different division each day. In general, every Monday and Tuesday are my days off, Wednesdays are spent with Law Enforcement, Thursday and Friday are spent with Maintenance, Saturday is spent with Natural Resources and Sunday is spent with Interpretation. This system is nice because it allows me to work closely with each division every week and ensures that everything stays fresh in my mind.

Wednesday: Law Enforcement
My days with law enforcement are varied and interesting. I've sat in on taser refreshers, gone out on patrols, hosted a cookout and park-wide cleanup, helped conduct a PEB, sat in on court proceedings, and much more.

Thursday/Friday: Maintenance 
The days I spend with maintenance are a little more routine than those with other divisions, but there are differences depending on where we work and if it's raining or not. Usually if it isn't raining I will weed-whip all day, but if it's raining I can either do custodial or work on odd projects around the shop. It is also necessary to log the work hours and mileage on the government vehicles each month.

Saturday: Natural Resources
Natural resources is a very interesting division in the park. They do a lot of different studies and public programs to help better the park and maintain the park's mission statement. Not only do they have programs like Weed Warriors and the Crayfish Corps discussed in my previous post, they also have interns working on several projects such as coyote, box turtle, butterfly, and bird studies. Natural resources is also the home to Valley Forge's Archaeology department. I've worked with archaeology twice now - once to map where digs should be conducted for a township project and once to sift through two digs at Hopewell Furnace for a study being done on a barn.

Sunday: Interpretation 
While working with interp isn't always the most fascinating, it's an integral part of that National Park Service's mission. The first few times I was with interp I did several of the tours the park had to offer - Ranger led tours, the car tour, and the trolley tour. This gave me a wealth of information about the park before I dressed in period garb and spent time in front of the Muhlenberg huts speaking with visitors. Currently I am working on a ten minute presentation from the perspective of a Camp Follower to give to groups and trolley tours.

Odd Jobs:
In addition to my main divisions, there are other divisions I work with and other experiences I'm electing to participate in. There is a 2016 Find Your Park Summer Challenge which aims to develop and strengthen ties between departments. A few of the tasks are working with the curator, doing kiosk updates, and sitting in on a senior staff meeting. One of my goals for the summer is to complete every task on this list. So far I have completed 5 of the 17 tasks with 5 more definitive dates for other tasks. I can't wait to complete more of the tasks and get a better handle on how the various parts of the park work together.

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