Thursday, October 1, 2015

Papal Detail

Where do I begin about this past weekend event for the Papal Visit? The extensive preparation for such a historical event for Philadelphia? The TSA security checks? The amount of different government agencies that I discovered existed this past weekend? I do not know where to begin because of the overwhelming anticipation of such an event of this importance. Fellow ProRangers and I rallied up in front of the Liacourus Center at promptly 0445 hours. We greeted each other with sleepy eyes and eagerness to see what the day entailed for us. We entered the "zone" and ran through the TSA security check point heading for our 0600 hour briefing for the day and to find out more of what we would be doing. After the briefing, several of us were assigned to a Ranger and from there we followed orders of what to do.
Working next to U.S. Park Police from the Statue of Liberty
I had the opportunity to be stationed with my mentor Jordan Keiffer, who I got to know a bit better and helped guide the ProRangers and I through this confusing new experience of working a detail. We moved around to several different posts that needed to be covered and then later on in the day most of us were placed in Washington Square. From there we stood on post behind the Pope's personal tent making sure only Law Enforcement officers passed by us. Several others spent time roving the park of Washington Square to monitor for any suspicious activity. It may have been a lot of standing in one spot, but that's what building character is for. For myself, and I'm sure I can speak for the other ProRangers as well that we are all grateful to have been apart of such a truly life changing experience. To have had the practice of working a detail of this extent. To learn about CTR's and watch the process of an incident command system being run before our own eyes was absolutely amazing.
A view of the Pope's personal tent.

On our way to work at 0530 hours.

Sneak peek of the Pope!
Nothing like a classic family photo.
ProRanger Tim Greene and I protecting the Liberty Bell...or just asking for a photo in front of it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Manassas National Battlefield Park

My name is Daniel Bussell, I am currently in Temple University's ProRanger Program and spent my summer internship at Manassas National Battlefield Park. After my long struggle and not-so tech savvy skills I have finally made it onto to blog about my experience. I had an excellent time in Virginia and was sad to go. My supervisor and Chief Ranger of Manassas, Mark Howard, provided me with copious amounts of opportunities to attend trainings and refreshers. Through each department, I was welcomed with open arms to teach me more about the roles of their jobs in the park service, from natural resources to administration.
I was given the opportunity to attend Chainsaw Safety, Maintenance, and Operation certification the first week I was at the park. It was a great way to meet the staff of the park, and the volunteers that help maintain it. After receiving my certification in CSMO, it allowed me to work and help with the Fuel Reduction teams. Fuel Reduction projects are areas that are mapped out in the park that have a high potential of wild land fire fuel. We would work to clear and chip fallen trees and branches. We worked to drop every tree to the ground that sat elevated because of the higher chance of drying out and potentially becoming a greater source of fuel to a fire.
Thanks for reading, plenty more to come!

A class photo after we all successfully passed our certification.
Maintenance worker and head of Fuel Reduction crew James Riddick runs over the mapped fuel reduction zones for the areas to be covered with Natural Resource's Allison Sloop.
Fuel Reduction Crew

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Thursday- Rev Run 2015

On April 19th, 2015, four of us took a trip to Valley Forge National Historic Park to take part in the 10th Annual Revolutionary Run. The 5 mile run through the hills of Valley Forge was a challenge, but the beautiful spring weather and scenic view helped us to keep going.
ProRangers Katie Yody and Tim Greene giving TU (Temple University) a shoutout. 

After the race, ProRangers Katie Yody, Tim Greene, John Hesdon, and Brittany Kriner
were able to talk with the Chief Ranger of Valley Forge.
Taking place in April, this was before we really knew each other, so it was a great bonding experience. Every ProRanger who attended the race was able to successfully finish the hilly 5 mile course. ProRangers in the past have participated in the Rev Run, and we look forward to bringing the popularity back to the event and continuing this great tradition with future cohorts.

Monday, September 7, 2015

All The Best, Monocacy

Today is Labor Day, and it has finally set in that my ProRanger Summer 1 internship has come to an end. I am now walking on sidewalks, taking subways, and there are more people here than cows. Classes have started in North Philadelphia, football season is upon us, and I am already missing my time at Monocacy National Battlefield.
Photo taken of my "backyard", the Thomas Farm, during my last week at Monocacy. 
My final week was spent with the Resource Management division, where I had the privilege of working with 2 SCA (Student Conservation Association) interns and members from the YCC (Youth Conservation Corps). For the first few days, I worked on tagging trees with my roommate Liz. This project was her main focus for her summer internship, so it was great to see everything that she has been working on for awhile.
We placed a tube around the tree to protect it from the animals, and would attach an
identification tag to the tube so we could easily identify and tracks the tree's growth.
My final two days were spent at Gettysburg National Military Park. We were asked to help their Resource Management staff with picking peaches from the Peach Orchard. The trees were becoming too heavy as the peaches were pulling down on the branches, so it was crucial that some peaches were removed. With that being said, it was also an enjoyable time to be outside and enjoy the beauty of Gettysburg.

The Peach Orchard at Gettysburg National Military Park
Picking peaches was a nice activity because it allowed me to reflect on the fantastic time I had this summer. I feel very lucky that I was assigned as a ProRanger at Monocacy National Battlefield. I owe a big thank you to everyone at Monocacy and Antietam for treating me extremely well and giving me a great experience. I look forward to making a visit sometime soon back to Frederick, MD and being back at a place that I consider a second home. The 10 weeks flew by, and I can't wait to see what lies ahead for my next summer.

Thank you for reading my blogs and I look forward to writing more down the road.


Tim Greene

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Farewell Colonial NHP

My final two weeks at Colonial National Historic Park could not have gone better.  I spent them with the protection division, which meant I got to go out on patrol almost every shift.  I met with Deputy Superintendent Steve Williams and Superintendent Kym Hall, which was wonderful of them to squeeze me in their busy schedules.  I also got to work on traffic stop scenarios as well as proper handcuffing.  One of the last days I did a mock driving course with the acting Chief Ranger (only one cone was harmed in the process).

The whole experience at COLO was wonderful, everyone I worked with was eager to share their experience about working in the park service and other agencies.  Each division I worked with was willing to work with me, showing me how their division keeps the park functioning.

I cannot thank everyone I worked with enough for their patience, and willingness to take time out of their busy schedules to work with me.  I learned so much about the Park Service and hearing about different peoples careers and details helped me (slightly) figure out where I want to go with my career.            

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Nautical Gnar in Boston

This week I had the opportunity to get out on the water! I spent one day with the Boston Harbor Islands crew, partaking in what they call “Discovery Day.” Towards the end of my time here in Boston, I was able to hop on board Boston National Historical Park Protection Division’s boat, Water Buffalo. We rode around the different islands, talking about what the nautical future the division might have.

The Boston Harbor Islands bring different groups of children from the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club out onto different islands. Each group of children experiences three different islands throughout the span of a week. This allows the kids to see sights they may not otherwise see as well as engage in different learning activities with one another.

The day that I went out, we went to George’s Island. This is the home of Fort Warren where the structure still stands from when it was decommissioned in 1947. It served as a prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War as well as a defense for Boston during World War II. We explored the dark tunnel that day in addition to play different 19th century games like grace. Grace is played by tossing a ring using two sticks, seemingly simple and yet extremely fun.

Boston Light
When we took the Water Buffalo out on the water, we rode around George’s Island. It was interesting to see the island from that perspective after having been on it a few days previously. We also saw Spectacle Island which is more of a beach scene. My favorite part was seeing Boston Light, the sight of the first lighthouse to be built in the United States (pictured left). 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Valley Forge NHP

Hello! My name is Kelly Tascarella and I am the ProRanger intern at Valley Forge National Historical Park. I am a senior at Temple University Ambler campus and I am a Criminal Justice major. This is my final week at Valley Forge for my summer internship. I have definitely had some exciting and memorable experiences that I will never forget.

                During my first two weeks at Valley Forge, I was with the Interpretation division. In this division, I was with new employees as they went through training. I learned about the history of Valley Forge and the significance of why it is a national park. One of my favorite experiences with interpretation was learning the commands how to fire the black powder muskets and participating in living history events.

                While working with administration, I learned about how the park operates and how each role and division in the park service is important. I had a chance to learn about credit card audits, contracting, permits, budget and social media.

                For two weeks, I worked with Natural Resource Management on a conservation project for the park.  This included working with two programs called Weed Warriors and Crayfish Corps. I learned to identify invasive and native plants in the park and then worked to remove the invasive plants all over the park. I really enjoyed working with the Crayfish Corp and going into Valley Creek to catch the invasive rusty crayfish.

                In the maintenance division, I spent time weed-whacking, mowing lawns, cleaning the monuments and learning about the process of completing a work order. I helped with the cleaning and waxing of the Antony Wayne statue (pictured below).

                Working with the law enforcement division, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience of what it is like to be a law enforcement ranger in a national park. I really enjoyed going on ride alongs and boat patrols on the Schuykill river. One day while on patrol, our vehicle got a flat tire and I put on the spare tire at the maintenance shop. I am truly going to miss working at Valley Forge and I am very grateful that I was apart of the ProRanger program.