Friday, September 9, 2016

A Future Bounded by Experience

Boundary Cap
               My closing week at Antietam Battlefield was structured so that I would be able to tie up loose ends with the friends I made and responsibilities still left on the table. I saw to that by saying goodbye and checking off the last few boxes of my task book. I didn’t have many remaining tasks to worry about at that point in the summer, so I was fortunate enough to delve a little deeper into the areas of my interest.

Rory Behind a Carsonite Post Boundary Marker
Throughout the summer, I had a developing area of interest within the acquisition of property. Partially contributing to that was a knowledgeable resource in my supervisor, as he is Antietam’s Boundaryman. The title coincides with his responsibilities of compiling, updating, and maintaining the jurisdictional inventory. The jurisdictional inventory is a tool for the interpretation of a Protection Ranger’s authority within a National Park Service Unit’s property. With that being said, it was pretty natural that we did at least one boundary patrol. I learned pretty quickly why the season for walking boundary is in late fall. Thankfully Rory knew where the property corners were because it was near impossible to pace out a bound in the overgrowth. I feel the experience in that collateral duty is important because it is something valuable I can bring with me to my next internship and career.

                Another eventful responsibility was inspecting the battlefield’s fire extinguishers. This was one of the few duties were I got to get out on my own and take care of business. It was also relatively rewarding to know that I freed up time for the Rangers to concentrate on other responsibilities. The best part about the duty was accessing parts of the battlefield that a typical visitor could not. For instance, going inside the Sherrick Farmhouse or the Roulette Barn made me feel a stronger connection with the park and a greater interest in the social history of those families. Going in those places also led to some picturesque views.
Dappled Sunlight Inside the Roulette Bar

Awarded Visitor and Resource Protection Challenge Coin
               I had a fantastic summer at Antietam Battlefield. I believe my time there took a career that I could see myself doing and directed it into a career that I want to be a part of. The way I feel is a direct result from the experiences I had with my coworkers and supervisors. I can attest that the next ProRanger to complete their internship at Antietam is one lucky individual. My chapter certainly hasn’t closed on Antietam, and I don’t want to sound like it has. I’m planning to make it back for the Battlefield’s Illumination event this winter.

Until then, ANTI!

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