Friday, August 26, 2016

It's Not a Goodbye, It's a see you later!

NPS Fire 
Hello everyone. I apologize for the delay in my last blog update for the internship. It’s been a whirlwind since I have come home! But regardless, here it is! My last week at Gettysburg was a fun one, with doing more patrols with everyone, and continuing to broaden my knowledge of Law Enforcement skills, knowledge, and history. All while at the same time still networking and meeting great people during my last week there. I found that no matter what, you will continually meet and talk to people within the service that amaze you and are great people to know for the future! The whole aspect of meeting so many people was by far the highlight of my internship experience at GETT.

NPS Fire Response Brush Truck
I was fortunate enough to meet three of the guys from the Mid Atlantic Regional fire team, who were on site doing building surveys of all of the buildings at GETT and Eisenhower National Historic Site. As many of you can guess, I was super excited and grateful to meet more people related to fire work in the parks, as that would be a big second interest of mine within the parks! The guys were great, and had a blast talking and joking with them while on patrol with Ranger Ludwick. After talking to them for a bit, we headed out to National Night out to do some PR for the park and for the NPS as a whole. It was a good time and we had many interested kids come up and ask us questions. To finish that night, we spent more time back at headquarters fine tuning my skills of field stripping our rifles and handguns. I also inquired about the different styles that certain groups have within the park service, like the SET teams and some other divisions within other parks. The rest of the week consisted of more patrols, some speeding stops, a guy climbing a monument, and some security alarm issues. Like always though, through each encounter we responded to, I continued to expand my knowledge, all while getting to know Ranger Ludwick and the other officers better.

What the Snap says! Let the Battle Begin!
The hardest part of the last week was saying my goodbyes to everyone, as everyone at the park who I had the chance to work with or encounter are amazing employees and even better human beings. I was able to say goodbye to mostly everyone I had worked with or encountered, unless they were on vacation or off, and I was glad I still had the chance to email them my thanks for letting me learn what they do. The saddest but at the same time happiest part of the week was our end of summer bash at our house with all of the seasonals and interns.  We had an amazing night, filled with food, time period clothing, time period dances (which I must say are much harder then they look), and to cap the night off, why not an epic nerf gun battle! It was definitely a great way to end what was an amazing summer with the people I got close to and learned the most from! This is only the start of what I can tell will not only be a great program experience for myself, but for all of the other interns and seasonal's I had the chance to meet and work with! The park service has a lot to look forward to with all of the young upcoming individuals that want to become rangers, and I am proud to be one of them, and become friends with many more! So thank you to everyone who has been reading my posts, as there will be more to come throughout the semester so stay tuned! Also, a big thanks to GETT  for taking me in with wide open arms and showing me everything you had to offer!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Program Visit: VIIS

The program visits to the three Caribbean parks marked the first joint park visits for me and NPS Program Manager/Ranger Adrian Fernandez.  Since Adrian is a native of St. Croix, it certainly made this the easiest trip that I’ve planned (and the best food I’ve eaten on a site visit!) 

Our first visit was the to the Virgin Islands National Park (VIIS) which also oversees the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR).  Although VICR is managed by the same staff as VIIS, its submerged lands are governed by different laws and policies.

Ranger Fernandez quizzing Isaiah on his boating knowledge.
We arrived in St. Thomas on a Sunday afternoon and headed to the ferry to St. John.  ProRanger Isaiah Lewis met us at the Visitor Center/Park Headquarters.  Over a light dinner on the beach with Isaiah, Chief Ranger Rick Gupman and Ranger Dave Horner, I learned a lot about the history of cooperation between the three Caribbean parks.

Early the next morning, Isaiah and the Chief met us at the NPS dock on St. Thomas to head out for a tour of the island.  

ProRanger Lewis and Chief Gupman arrive!
Keeping that 36 C.F.R. close at hand!

Isaiah took the captain’s role, but we almost immediately encountered a problem with one of the boat engines and headed back to St. John for inspection and repairs (it turned out to be some sand in the engine that was easily cleared).  This gave us a nice opportunity to meet with Deputy Superintendent Jayne Schaeffer and present a plaque commemorating the park's participation in the program.  

Chief Gupman, Deputy Superintendent Schaeffer, ProRanger Lewis and Ranger Fernandez

Then we resumed our tour of the island on a different boat.   Captain Isaiah gave us a tour of the island, pointing out beaches, bays and other historical landmarks.

After returning to St. John, Isaiah gave us a driving tour of the side of the island and more of the park.  

Traffic jam on St. John

Salt Pond hike

Not dressed for the beach!

Some things you don't typically see in a mainland parking lot!

We took a short hike to Salt Pond beach and viewed the sand and inviting water from our hiking clothes and boots. 

We spent the rest of the afternoon (in air conditioning!!) meeting with Chief Gupman and Isaiah’s primary supervisor, Ranger Ludric Smith. Before returning to St. Thomas, we took a detour to take a look at Isaiah’s summer housing.  What an unbelievable view!  I just hope that Isaiah had a little free time this summer to enjoy it.

View from ProRanger Lewis's back door!
Then it was time to return to St. Thomas!  Day two in the islands and I still hadn’t touched the water! 

Up Next:  CHRI

Take Care, Sleeping Bear

Being a Law Enforcement Ranger for the NPS means that your office can be in some of the most beautiful places in the world. It's now the middle of August, I have returned home to Philadelphia, and I am definitely missing the most beautiful place I've ever been to. My final week was bittersweet, knowing that I would be leaving soon, yet still having a great experience and learning up until my last second in Michigan.

SLBE's UTV (Utility Task Vehicle)
On one of my final days, I had the privilege to do beach patrol with District Ranger Andy Blake and Ranger Jamie Westenfelder. This involved riding the Polaris along the coastline from an access point to the bottom of the Dune Climb. This is a common route when we need to make rescues at the Dune Climb, so it is important to practice driving the route and to make sure it is possible to get to the different points. Everything went smoothly, and we were able to get to the different points in a timely manner. When someone is in need of medical assistance, every second counts. 
Dune Climb (400 ft. tall) from the bottom
Coastline of Lake Michigan
with Empire Bluffs in the background

 Keeping with the topic of being urgent while responding to medical calls, my final hours of working as a ProRanger at SLBE were spent at an accident scene where a male on a motorized scooter fell 50 feet over a guardrail. It was a serious accident with gruesome injuries, and it reminded me to always be prepared for anything, no matter the time or day. Even the last 10 minutes of your shift can turn into 5 hours of overtime in the blink of an eye. It also made me look forward to taking EMT courses before I graduate so I can be more of a help in the future.

And now, I have the completed the most rewarding experience of my life: being a ProRanger at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I feel like I've grown a lot since arriving in Empire, Michigan in May, and I can't thank the people at SLBE enough. I am looking forward to my senior year of college, and I wish the best to the members of my cohort who are going to the Seasonal Law Enforcement Training Program.

Sunsets at SLBE will be missed
Thanks for reading the blogs, now go out and find your park!
-Tim Greene

Friday, August 12, 2016

Program Visit: BOST

The program visit to the Boston provided a nice opportunity to visit family who live in the Boston suburbs!   On the first day of my visit to Boston, the junior (Pro)Rangers spent the day with their cousins while I braved the infamous traffic to meet Brennan McAuley bright and early at the Charlestown Navy Yard which is part of one of the three sites under the National Parks of Boston umbrella:  Boston National Historical Park, African American Historic Site, and Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

ProRanger Brennan McAuley outside his summer housing at the Charlestown Navy Yard
Our first stop was the Superintendent’s office located in the former Marine barracks which now serve as offices and housing for park staff and is Brennan’s summer home.  After discussing the program, Brennan presented Superintendent Michael Creasey with a plaque recognizing Boston NHP’s four years of participation in the ProRanger Program.

ProRanger McAuley with Superintendent Michael Creasey
My tour of the park began with a visit to Brennan’s favorite place in the park:  the Bunker Hill Monument.  And what better way to start a hot summer day than by climbing 294 steps to the top?  But, the view was all worth it.  I was also humbled to learn that Brennan and his supervisor RUN to the top as part of their workouts!
That's a long way to the top!
Brennan and I made it!

We then checked out the visitor center and I learned about some the activities Brennan had been doing there with interpretation.  We also had private tour of the U.S.S. Cassin Young.

ProRanger McAuley, Chief Tinkham and Ranger Clarke

Brennan and I then toured the Ranger Station with his supervisor, Ranger Mark Clarke (I am alwasy thrilled to see our ProRanger alumns on duty!)  It was also great to see Chief Gregg Tinkham, a long-time supporter and friend of the ProRanger Program.  
Boston NHP Law Enforcement Challenge Coin

Brennan and I spent the afternoon with a ranger-led tour of the Freedom Trail as well as some of exploring on our own.  Our visit to the Northeast Regional Offices were a highlight where Brennan was greeted warmly by everyone we encountered – I felt like I was traveling with a celebrity!  It was a long day of walking – my fitbit clocked in over 9 miles.

On the ferry, Finn and Brennan working on the junior ranger book.

Day two of the visit showed us the view from a different side of the National Parks of Boston – the Boston Harbor Islands NRA!  We took the ferry to Georges Island and used the time to begin work on our junior ranger books.  We only had time to visit one island, but we'll be back -maybe for some camping?  These islands are an incredible mix of history and nature, all with an amazing view of the Boston skyline!

At the island, Brennan led us on a special tour of the fort, the junior rangers received their first badges and inspected some sealife that had washed ashore.

Georges Island Junior Ranger badges
Inspecting a crab that washed up on shore

Touring the fort on Georges Island

Check out that view!  Who knew there were 34 islands in Boston Harbor? 

Boston Public Gardens
Back in Boston, we explored the Boston Public Gardens with its famous swans, swan boats and statues based on the children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings.” 

Demonstration of a cannon firing.
The junior ranger and some sailors!
We returned to the Charlestown Navy Yard for a tour of the U.S.S. Constitution, a cannon demonstration and another junior ranger badge!
Brennan presents the Navy Yard's Junior Ranger Badge
 Of course, we couldn't leave without a final goodbye to Ranger Clarke and ProRanger McAuley.

Ranger Clarke and McGarveys

Brennan and the junior rangers

Up next:  VIIS

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Views at CHRI

Most beautiful spot 
This is a photo from Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve visitor's contact station.

My summer view
This is a photo taken from my housing at St Croix.

Final Post from CHRI

Like the title of this post states, this is officially my last post from my summer internship at Christiansted National Historic Site. It went by so quickly and I can say I’m a better-groomed individual now than I was on the first week of my internship. I have learned a whole lot about the Crucian culture, I have learned a lot about law enforcement, and most importantly, I have learned a lot more about the National Park Service.
Jazz night at CHRI Fort
My final two weeks went well. I did patrols of the three NPS sites in St. Croix. Made non-law enforcement contacts as usual and observed my FTO, Ranger Laurencin, make actual law enforcement contacts. I also worked during the monthly programs at the Park like the Jazz Night and observed the role law enforcement played that night. 
Ranger Laurencin working with VIPD
My final day was yet another glorious day at the courtroom where plea agreements were accepted and summons were given to outstanding citations. On my final day, I also witnessed how the concurrent jurisdiction worked at Christiansted NHS.

This summer I had a lot of firsts. It was first time trying so many meals, it was my first time navigating a vessel, it was my first time seeing an iguana, it was my first time attempting to swim in an ocean, and it was my first time seeing such crystal clear water. I could go on and on but I just want to use this measure to thank everyone at Christiansted National Historic Site for welcoming me with open arms and teaching me all I learned and experienced this summer. Thank you.

Bye for Now, Boston

My Last week at Boston National Historical Park flew by, much like the other nine weeks did. It is hard to believe my first summer internship is complete.  My time spent in the park has really helped me out in a tremendous way. Throughout the summer I have met and formed relationships with many rangers, supervisors, chiefs, and even superintendents. I was able to learn so much from each one of them. I know know so much of what goes in to making a park run the way it does. I have learned that it takes an enormous amount of teamwork and cooperation to operate a national park.
I did a lot with my last week in Boston. The absolute highlight of the week was speaking at the regional directors meeting on Wednesday August third. I spoke about the Temple ProRanger program. I was able to talk about how important it was to the National Park Service and how it fit into the urban agenda. I talked about my experiences over the past ten weeks and how it would influence me and allow me to become a well-rounded ranger in the near future. I closed by thanking them for the opportunity to speak to all of them about my internship. After the meeting we all took a boat out to the Boston Harbor Islands. I was able to have several one on one conversations with several of the regional directors. This was a great experience and I am so glad I had the chance to meet with so many key park service personnel.
View of Boston Light 

The rest of the week was spent with law enforcement.  I enjoyed this a lot. This was by far my favorite division to work with, I am glad I got to spend some more time there.  On my last day they through me a going away lunch party. It was great to have everyone say their goodbyes. I was thankful to have the chance to thank them all for everything they have done for me. The great people at Boston National Historical Park are the driving force behind everything I was able to learn this past summer. So much hard work and planning went into ensuring that I did not miss out on a single moment at the park. This internship was extremely important. It got my career off to the best start. I left Boston feeling motivated, determined, and more knowledgeable than when I had first arrived.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this internship such an experience.
View from boat of the Boston Harbor