Sunday, July 2, 2017

Woahh, We're Halfway There

To wrap up the last week of my first cycle through the divisions I revisited my pals from the snakehead fishing derby, Resource Management. They even gave me a hat from the derby.

 On Monday I participated in an all day conference about agricultural development on park service land hosted by the National Parks Conservation Association.  The NPS will allow private individuals to utilize land for farming and grazing if it is in line with the historical usage of the land in a history park or if it helps preserve the scenic nature of the land.  We headed over to Antietam National Battlefield with representatives from other parks in the National Capitol Region as well as the region itself.  Ranger Joe Calzarette spoke to us about how Antietam engages in the practice, keeping many sections of the park in agricultural production much like they would have been during the Civil War.

 On Tuesday I joined a Youth Conservation Corp crew that I would spend the rest of the week with, and we got a tour of the region's Museum Resource Center.  This facility houses historical artifacts not currently on display in the various parks.  It is also home to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial collection, which is made up of objects people have left at the wall in D.C.  The collection is massive, filling a warehouse reminiscent of the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Just about any object you can imagine can be found in this collection, ranging from letters, flags, and teddy bears, to a hand painted custom motorcycle or a chain of 1000 origami cranes.

Wednesday was the Canal's staff picnic.  So it was pretty much a day off where I ate many cheeseburgers and tried to see if I could recognize everyone I had met at the park without their uniforms on.  Sadly, I did not get to play cornhole.

Mounted Park Police on their horses, Louie
and I can't remember the other horse's name

Thursday was the region's Youth Summit. It was actually for anyone under 35, but it was mostly attended by interns and seasonal employees.  They had a few different stations for us to go through, including a birding station, an aquarium, a talk with a civil war reenactor, roller skating, a photo station for creating a mosaic, and a talk with mounted Park Police.

 On Friday I helped the YCC crew with one of their current projects, surveying the hiker/biker campsites along the Canal.  These are free to use overnight sites spaced roughly every five miles intended for people hiking and biking the entire towpath.  We picked up trash, noted anything wrong with the sites, checked the well pumps, and did some GIS mapping. I learned that satellites are not particularly fond of me.

Struggling to get enough satellites to plot points


On Saturday I was back at Antietam, making a guest appearance at the annual Salute to Independence event with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra.  Thousands of people came out to listen to the music and watch the fireworks. Myself and four of the Canal rangers came to help out with traffic and crowd control.


My main job was to prevent anyone from walking behind the stage and popping out in front of the national guard, who were firing off five howitzer artillery pieces.  It was a really nice touch to the event, as they fired the weapons during Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

I had a prime view for checking out the fireworks while I helped direct traffic out of the park.

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