Dam spillway waterfall background, water midground, and yellow leaves in the foreground

Raindrops on roses… My favorite things!

There’s something uplifting about listening to Julie Andrews sing ‘Favorite Things’ on a rainy Seattle day. Recounting your favorite things even when you’re not bummed out that it’s raining outside is also a good exercise in gratitude. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work as a Park Planning Fellow this summer! Here’s why:

  1. Meeting so many new people who are interested in the same things that I am interested in, are dedicated to their work, and do great things every day! I’ve met at least three new people every week.
  2. My supervisor! She’s someone I have learned a lot from, and it was clear from the start that she and her team put a lot of effort into preparing valuable experiences for me and a whole cohort of fellows from different partner organizations. 
  3. I am learning so much! After only eight short weeks, I understand much more about what projects I can be involved in, how individual parks interface with the regional planning office, and how the Washington Office shapes what we do at the regional level. Recently, I learned about the differences between special resource studies and reconnaissance surveys and that there are new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) ranger positions at National Park Service (NPS) sites. I have learned A LOT of useful acronyms too. 
  4. I’m picking up new skills! From learning how to assemble and link park planning portfolios to a national database, preparing coded summaries of public comments, to updating decision files and contact mailing lists. So far, I have completed the required information management training and planning environment and public comment training. I have learned how to use many databases, tools, and digital systems that the planning team uses regularly, but there are many more.
  5. Summer outings to Bainbridge Island Japanese Exclusion Memorial, North Cascades National Park (NOCA), and Ross Lake National Recreation Area (ROLA) have been especially pleasant and fun, given the quintessential cool but sunny summer weather of the Pacific Northwest!

I’ll be visiting a few other sites in the region before summer’s over, and I can’t wait to see what other planning processes and skills I can learn about and practice in the coming weeks!

Adirondack chair on a dock by the lake. Mountains framing the picture
The view from Ross Lake Resort. (Photo Credit: M. Delgado Gomez)
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