Saturday, July 8, 2017

I May Have Peaked at Week Six

As much fun as I am having each week, Week 6 may take the cake for the most exciting I have had here at Colonial. My siblings were able to make the trip to the park from different states and spend the holiday weekend with me prior to working on the week of Independence Day. I was able to show them where I work with each division and also show them how much more the Park Service has to offer than what may appear on the surface. Due to some slight scheduling revisions to ensure that I had the most exposure in different divisions, I began the workweek with the LE rangers. 4th of July was particularly exciting because I was able to experience how the rangers here work with different agencies to run and maintain a festive holiday evening. Fireworks and related events across multiple counties required the Park Service assistance and the LE rangers worked efficiently to make sure the events ran smoothly.
            The highlight of the night (from an experiential standpoint) was the DUI case that the rangers and I undertook that evening. I was able to witness and partake firsthand in the procedures that are involved in a DUI. We pulled over a gentleman and ran him through SFST’s (Standardized Field Sobriety Testing) and used a PBT (Preliminary Breath Test) to determine that he was unable to operate a motor vehicle. He was arrested, escorted to the corresponding jail, and ran through more testing to investigate his blood-alcohol level. He was issued the necessary citations, filled out the required paperwork, and was released to his mother per federal protocol. He will have a preliminary hearing this upcoming week.
            In addition to the number of law enforcement happenings throughout the days, I was able to work with folks in the Natural Resources division of the park. The most exciting day was on Thursday, when I put on some waders and boots and headed out into the swampy areas of the James River to record birdlife and plant-life in specific areas of the park, I learned so much, particularly about saltwater vs freshwater landscapes and how much of an effect that sea-level rise has had on this island of Jamestown. The more I work with different divisions, the more I understand about their importance to the park.

            The highlight of my week however, was yesterday, when I got to meet the Secretary of the Interior of the United States. Secretary Zinke flew into Colonial via helicopter and I was able to meet him and some members of Park Police. He gave an informative speech at the Visitor Center at Yorktown and participated in some cannon-fire demonstrations. He was such a down-to-Earth man and I was extremely honored to be able to describe the ProRanger Program to him. He was quite proud to see the younger generation getting involved and found it to be a great recruitment tool, as he is a big proponent of partnerships. Before he left the park, he gave me a challenge coin and reminded me to listen to my supervisor here at the park because I am in great hands. I told him I would try my best!

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