Thursday, August 31, 2017

ProRanger of the Caribbean

Pirates ProRanger of the Caribbean

Week 10& closing words


At this point, I have officially completed my second summer internship. My summer spent interning in the Caribbean parks exposed me to; an entirely different set of natural and cultural recourses, new skills, and different NPS teams. I practiced safely operating a motorboat almost daily, observed traffic stops, eradicated marijuana plants from an illegal cultivation site on federal land, participated in scenario training, attended FEMA meetings, worked on a number of investigations, and so much more.     

I took a lot out of this summer. I was exposed to many different law enforcement related incidences over the course of my internship. I learned so much from each ranger; from the stories they told me to general knowledge that they wanted to impart upon me. Being in the field and working alongside NPS Rangers really reminded me why I am in the Temple ProRanger Program. I feel Prepared for Academy. 

The many classes I have taken for my certificate in National Park Service Management along with my summer internships and weekend training have given me a strong understanding of; the NPS, Law Enforcement, leadership, federal Lands, Federal Government, and my future career. I am more and more motivated to learn and grow my skill sets each and every day.

What is next? I am back in Philadelphia completing my senior year at Temple University as a Criminal justice major. I am continuing to improve my fitness, attend weekend training, and learn everything I can to help shape me into a proficient ranger and leader.

Helping Laura & Ashley, two marine ecologists with Coral and Parrot fish research

Some people hike trails, in the Caribbean we snorkel them! 

Please check back soon for exciting NPS related news coming up !!  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Oh the Places and Views the ProRanger Program Will Take You

Hot Springs Mountain from the Mountain Tower

City of Hot Springs from the Mountian Tower

Shenandoah National Park Mile Marker 51 
Shenandoah National Park 71' waterfall
Mile Marker 51

Shenandoah National Park overlook down to the valley. 

Harpers Ferry National Park 
Harpers Ferry National Park

Back at Devils Den, home of my first summer internship.  Brings back great Memories. 

It's Not a Goodbye, It's a See You Later

Final Night with Konyak, Little, Summerlin,
and Flint at HOSP. 
Hello All! Sorry that this post is late as it was a busy last week at HOSP, along with an extended trip home and hitting the ground running when I got back. My last week at HOSP was just as busy as the rest, as we were able to get more drugs off the streets as well as drivers that were under the influence of alcohol. On our first day back since having off, Ranger Little and myself started patrol like usual, figuring out where we wanted to start the evening off running radar. We picked our spot, then it was time to sit and watch until we observed someone doing a unlawful act that we could conduct a stop on them for. We observed a car a short time later speeding on the dangerous road we were sitting on, so we went ahead and stopped them. The stop lead to a warrant arrest on the driver of the car, who along with driving with suspended license also had drugs on him. The passenger of the car was let go with a warning to not hang around people like him as it could get them in trouble as well even if they didn’t know what the other person was carrying/driving with. Later that night after returning from the county jail, we conducted another traffic stop for speeding, which wound up being a young teen learning how to drive with her mother in the car. Although we felt bad that we shook up the young teen, it was a good lesson for her to learn to obey the speed limit and drive safely, as we let her off with a warning for speeding and had her switch seats with her mother. To end the night after a few other traffic stops, we were able to get K9 Konyak two working stops where he could get out and do his job on two cars that other Rangers pulled over that they deemed necessary to ask Ranger Little to bring Konyak out to sniff/work the cars.

The next shift for Ranger Little and I was a busy one, to say the least. Our shift started out at the Ranger Office (RO) as we were having a final group meeting with my time at HOSP coming to an end. At the end of the meeting, I was awarded a challenge coin from Chief Ranger Cully for all the work and dedication I put in this summer and the help I was able to give them. I had the chance to thank all of the Rangers for the time and commitment they gave to me in teaching me so many skills for the job that I know for sure I will be using in the future. I said see you later to all the rangers, as it's not a goodbye as I believe. After the meeting concluded, we headed out on patrol heading towards the spot we picked to start the night out at. While in route we observed a truck towing a trailer that was driving erratically, so we conducted our first stop of the night on the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle turned out to be intoxicated, so we placed him under arrest and brought him to the country jail to have him processed and brought in until he sobered up. He was written citations for DUI, speeding, and reckless driving of a vehicle.

By the time we got back from the county jail, it was time to close up the mountains. Ranger Little and I were tasked with closing Hot Springs Mountain as Ranger Summerlin and Flint were closing West Mountain. Upon arrival of the first overlook on the mountain, we encountered two cars that were still parked there, with people occupying them. Ranger Little got out to ask them to leave while I was calling in the plates so that we would have them on file. Verbal warnings were given to both cars for violation of closure. After both cars left, we proceeded up to the mountain tower parking lot to make sure that was clear. It was not clear as there was a SUV parked at the end of the parking lot, something that doesn’t happen in that parking lot often. Ranger Little approached the vehicle as again I called in the plates. This stop turned out worse than what we had expected it to be, as it wound up being an adult with a minor doing sexual acts. As this is an ongoing case I will not provide anymore information on the case, but will say that I learned a lot of how to deal with such a sensitive case. There is also a lot of evidence gathering that must be done in order to make sure you have the strongest case possible against such a perpetrator of a crime like that. We brought the adult in the case to the jail to have them finger printed and pictures taken, then released until the mandatory court date that she was cited for. This took up the rest of the night as it was a lengthy stop as well as all the paperwork and such after the fact. This case was definitely not something I thought I would experience during my time at HOSP, but am glad I was able to because of all the different skill sets I learned to use in cases like these in the future as they are probably one of the most sensitive cases Rangers/officers handle in the field.

To end my time at HOSP on my final night, I rode along with Ranger Summerlin as Ranger Little would be stuck in the office most of the night doing paperwork for the case we got the night before. To start out the evening we headed over to the house of the victim from the night before to collect more evidence for the case. Upon arrival and contact with the minor and the parent, there seemed to be more events that happened since the night before, so we had to call Ranger Little out to the residence so that he was able to listen to everything they had to say since he is the lead on the case. Upon his arrival we were free to go, so Ranger Summerlin and I headed back to the park to patrol. As my last night was coming to a close, we made one last traffic stop on a car that was speeding down West Mountain as we were attempting to close the gates. The traffic stop resulted in a double warrant arrest, with both the driver and passenger having warrants out for their arrest. Once in custody, I was allowed to assist in the car search after Ranger Little came out to run Konyak on the car. After the search was completed, Ranger Summerlin and I, along with Ranger Flint transferred the suspects to the county jail. After we were done with the transfer, it was time for my time at Hot Springs National Park to come to a close unfortunately.

My time at Hot Springs National Park was absolutely incredible. From all the great Rangers I was able to work with and get to know so well, to the city and surrounding areas, every moment was a learning experience and that is all I could have hoped for throughout the whole summer. I would like to thank first the ProRanger program and its supporters for allowing myself and the other ProRangers these opportunities summer after summer. Secondly, I would like to thank Chief Ranger Cully for having an interest in the program and signing on for this summer allowing me the chance to show what the program is about and allowing me to see your park. Third, I would like to thank all the Rangers at HOSP for teaching me more than I ever thought I would and allowing me to experience things I wouldn’t have thought I had the chance to see/do until I completed the program. Finally, I would like to thank all my supporters, including my family that has continued to show their love and support for me as I take this journey through the program towards a future career as a Law enforcement ranger with the National Park Service! Stay tuned for other posts throughout the next year or so on events and training that we have conducted! Again, thank you all so much for the love and support and hope everyone has enjoyed reading this summer!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Let The Good Times Roll

This summer has been a lot of fun and even with everything going on a busy ProRanger finds themselves with some free time on their hands. This summer during my down days I spent some time visiting a few different kinds of parks found in New England. Only a short 10 minute walk from the Navy Yard I found the world class Lynch Family Skate Park. A local hot spot for skating and some community events I ended up spending a lot of free time skating and making some great friends at this park. Though my summer time spent at this park was short I made a lot of friends skating and got to get involved in a vibrant strong skating community right here in Boston.
The second park I visited is one I have frequented many times is the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. Growing up in the state it was a welcome return to go and hike the largest peak and conquer Mount Washington in a long day hike. Though there was some cloud cover starting the day the temperatures stayed mild and the view was still amazing at the summit. Thankfully the clouds never turned into more sever weather as Mount Washington is known to have some of the quickest changing and most dangerous weather in the country.
Nearing the end this summer has been quite eventful and I have learned a lot that will stick with me moving forward to become a Park Ranger.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Park Visit, and Getting Down to Business

Park Visit, and Getting Down to Business 

Weeks 8&9 

I recently had the opportunity to share my summer parks and experiences with M. Luongo. I got to introduce members of the park team to M. Luongo. We held several meetings to discuss the parks and their involvement in the ProRanger program. I also shared the fantastic resources with him and explained what I did all summer long.

Mr. Luongo, Chief Ranger Padilla, ProRanger McAuley, Ranger Morales, Carribean Superintendent Lavasseur 

Mr. Luongo getting a tour of CHRI, SARI, and BUIS 
Enjoying a traditional Carribean breakfast at the fort
AIAC Conference at Salt River Bay: an exhibit opened up at the NPS visitor center. Here, we got to see a number of pre-Columbian artifacts from historic St. Croix communities. 

Things did not slow down at the park. There was an oils spill out at Buck Island Reef National Monument. The boat that spilled to oil was aware of the problem but did not report it, nor did they try and solve the problem.
This incident left a large section of the water with diesel fuel. There were also two victims that were caught in the pollution resulting in slight eye and skin irritation.

I Assisted Ranger Rivera in the victim interviews and statements. I also helped with collecting evidence. Because of the location of the incident we worked closely with, Green Cay Marina, U.S Coast Guard, and DPNR. All the different agencies worked together to gather facts.

This experience was my second time this summer working on evidence collection and investigation tactics. It was a great experience and taught me a tremendous amount.

In addition to working on the oil spill case, I was able to continue operating the patrol boat out at Buck Island, ride along to Salt river, and do foot patrols at the fort. I really enjoy my time back in Christiansted.