13 Jul A little bit of everything at the NPS!!
Hello everyone! Last week started off with a well needed session of tutorials of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign from one of our other interns at the office, Ashley. Even though I have experience with these programs, I am self taught, thus having someone to give me extra tips on short cuts and things I didn’t know of was great. These tutorials will help me become more efficient and save time while working not only in the office, but also in school and in my career field.This session was held at a perfect time because following after I had the opportunity to kick off a new project with Tim Layton that needed my Adobe expertise. We are currently working on the Governors Island National Monument at the NYC Harbor. With my introduction to the project and site, my task for this week was to work on editing current and developing new photo-simulations for the project. I absolutely love working on these types of projects because they give viewers a visual product of what the project is intending to achieve by displaying a current conditions image vs. a treatment tasks proposal image. Following this task, I will also be assisting Tim with several other projects that will be included in the Cultural Landscape Report and Treatment Plan deliverables for the end of this summer. In addition, our team had two brown bag lunch meetings, one with Erik Kreusch, an archaeologist and cultural anthropologist, and another with Celena Illuzzi a Training / Education Specialist. What I found interesting about Celena’s meeting was that her position at the NPS requires interaction with several age groups, ranging from elementary students to adults. She participates in 4 different programs, one being a Landscape Based partnership with 3-5th graders (learning gardens), the second being a Preservation based high school that serves 9th-12th grade, the third being ‘Branching Out’ which is a field team and management based group consisting of high school and college students,and lastly a web based program that works with adults who are currently working for the NPS and are given a curriculum through a different lens. Another program that Celena mentioned is the RISD ‘Witness Tree Project’, that is taught by a history and a sculpture professor. The goal of this project is to answer the question “what does NPS do with trees after they have fallen or have been cut down?”. What they do is learn about the history of the site and the vegetation on it to then be able to create art out of the reclaimed wood to visually accentuate its history. I thought this idea was AWESOME!!! I would love to be apart of such program. To wrap up the week, we had two conference calls, one with April Antonellis, who wanted a different perspective on her project for the War of 1812 tribal map and the second with Frank Hays, the incoming NER Associate Regional Director for Resource Stewardship. In addition, Margie Brown (my supervisor) and I had the opportunity to meet with Mark Alexander who is a landscape architect at the NPS who will be supervising me for my architecture licensing process this summer. I am so grateful that Mark is taking time out of his busy schedule to help me start off my licensing process and I also want to thank Margie for guiding me to Mark and being there to help organize this meeting. I AM SO EXCITED TO KICK OFF THIS JOURNEY! This week, our team got the opportunity to meet and learn about the ‘Branching Out’ team, which is another program ran by the Olmsted Center. They are a field based team that works on Landscape Preservation Maintenance on a new site every week. As high school and young college students, this program serves as an introductory experience to the National Park Service. Our team also had the chance to present our current work and speak about OCLP as well as each of our organizations (HAF) ,which intrigued this group of youth because they were interested in the variety of opportunities provided by the NPS and its partners. I would look out for some upcoming HAF interns in the future from the current Branching Out team After our presentations, we accompanied the Branching Out team to a Black Heritage Trail tour (which we must not confuse with the well known Freedom Trail in Boston). It was a great experience to hear about a part of history that isn’t always told or embraced. Cultural experiences like these are amazing. If your ever in Boston, I would recommend it! Following our tour, we had a ‘Brown Bag Lunch’ with Christine Arato, a Historian at the NPS. Her role is to provide guidance and assistance to parks and programs for resource management and interpretation, helping to bridge the practices of preservation professionals in documenting and conserving important resources and public encounters with place, power, and the practice of history. What struck me the most about this meeting was the question of ‘Would you be attracted to attending a National Park that aims to teach us about the history of the Civil War’? and as a response from another intern, the topic of validity within this ‘history’ came up. Who are telling these stories that provide the park with historical information? Are they valid? or are they sugar coated? Christine then brought up the point of history itself is the act of ‘Retrieving and Scrambling’, thus the way in which our minds work sometimes does rewrite a story or even cause a story to become open ended, which is normal. We cannot always determine the accuracy of the past, which is why the most important value that should be of concern is the PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTING THE PAST within these parks. Our group also got the opportunity to meet Dave Barak and Emely Poore, both ‘Student Conservation Association’ (SCA) staff to give them an overview of our program and current projects. They kindly offered to take all the SCA interns (and myself) in the Boston district to dinner that night to mingle and get to know more about the other participants and what they will be working on this summer. To wrap up the week, I finalized all of my photo-simulations for the Governors Island project and am now moving on to working on the mapping documentation. In addition, on Friday mornings, our team gets together to review the week and get some feedback from our coworkers. This allows us to progress in our work and see things from another point of view. Its a very refreshing way to end the week!