As my first internship winds down, I'm starting to feel nostalgic but also excited about what is to come this next year. The internship ending is really a bittersweet feeling. I'm a bit luckier than all the other members of my cohort in that my park is very close to home and to Temple so I can come back a lot more frequently than others can.
My last week has been a whirlwind of activity. I had a visit to Hopewell Furnace, a sister site to Valley Forge, where my supervisor, my chief ranger, and myself all went to look over the alarm system. It was interesting and eye-opening to see just how much goes into protecting the resources of the park. It was also a great experience that shows inter-division cooperation. Not only was law enforcement involved to view the security risks, but maintenance was also in the loop because of the installation/removal/upkeep of the devices. Natural resources was also involved as the GIS specialist provided maps of the buildings that helped determine where security equipment should go. This was also inter-agency as it involved the local fire department, police department, and dispatch. It's a large project, but it's one that could really help protect the buildings and artifacts at Hopewell Furnace.
I was also able to go on a boat patrol for the first time this internship. This was a great experience as it showed another dimension to patrolling Valley Forge. Not only do the law enforcement rangers at Valley Forge have to do bike, foot, and vehicle patrols, but they also do boat patrols on the Schuylkill to ensure boaters are following all relevant regulations. We also do foot patrols of Catfish Island, in the middle of the Schuylkill, to ensure there is no illegal camping or anything of that nature going on.