Fairsted, Harbor Islands, and Acadia


Fredrick Law Olmsted National Historic Site

Hello everyone, I have had a very productive first few weeks at the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. During week one I dove into my first project, collaborating with Shanasia Sylman (an SCA intern) and Chris Beagan (an OCLP staff member) to develop a Landscape Inventory Report for the Fredrick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (FRLA). After doing some research of the location and its history, we visited the site and started working on identifying plants species and updating the old site map, which comprised of two locations, Fairsted (the original location of the Olmsted home and office), and Green Hill (an extension to Fairsted, which was recently bought by the National Park Service to preserve and maintain). In addition to mapping, we also attended a tour, participated in a ‘Good Neighbors Workshop’, and had conversations with the staff on site, like the Gardener, who is very familiar with the species on each piece of land and their conditions throughout the years. In the mist of this conversation, I had the opportunity to share some information about the HAF program and intrigued some middle school and high school students that were also on tour about what we stand for and strive to achieve. Many hope that in the future they can be involved in such a program that promotes culture and diversity at opportunities in the NPS.

Fairsted Property Site Map

Green Hill Property Site Map

              During my second week of the internship, we took all of the information collected from the site visit and started to digitally draft in the new and updated vegetation and conditions on site, as well as render them and finalize them for the inventory report. In addition, we visited four Boston Harbor Islands (BOHA): Spectacle Island, Rainsford Georges Island, and Lovells Island, to assist another OCLP intern (Erika) with her with mapping and photo documentation of these sites. The challenge of collecting all of this information in a day was approached by the use of collaboration and team work. Together, our group of six, split up into three groups of two, where we each of us tackled different parts of the island. This method of diving and conquering was very effective and it resulted in a lot of weight that was lifted off of Erika’s shoulders because her task this summer is to work on all 34 of the Islands!

HAF + SCA on Spectacle Island

HAF (green) + SCA (blue) on George’s Island

              This week we have taken a five day trip to Acadia National Park to participate in the ACAD field school and complete site work. Our main objective was to assist the field school team with hiking, measuring, and documenting new features on the trails. My team specifically hiked up the Beachcroft path that totaled up to 6,200 feet up! This was my first time hiking and although it was intense, the end result was amazing – the views in Acadia are unbelievably beautiful. In addition to site work, every morning we attended a lecture where a different person from the NPS staff covered topics such as field inventory methods (Margie Brown), hiking trail history (Chris Barter), Acadia trail programs (Gary Stellpflug), GIS for park planning and hiking (Karen Anderson), park maintenance facility management (Keith Johnston), and lastly conditions and historical characters of trails (Margie Brown). I found these lectures very beneficial because they gave me much needed background information about what I should be looking for while working in the field.
Acadia National Park with OCLP interns

Acadia National Park with OCLP interns

Another day in Acadia was spent on a construction methods filed excursion with the whole OCLP team, field school, and NPS staff. The rain and wind did not stop our team from experiencing the Asticou path! Through all of our journeys in Acadia, we got the opportunity to document our experiences as well as develop a short film about the work thats currently going on in the park as well as features such as water dips (and so on). This video could potentially be used for training and introductory sessions for future NPS and HAF staff.

View from a day of hiking

        I wrapped up the week by with meeting with Jennifer Brandt, the community outreach manager for the HAF. It was a pleasure meeting her in person and I hope that she enjoyed her trip to Boston and seeing the work that has been taking place at the Olmsted Center so far this summer.        

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