22 Jul ¡Sí Se Puede!
The first half of my internship involved training, operations, reading books and articles, brainstorming, creating a plan, and being mentored through conversation. I don’t mind being behind the scenes. In fact I enjoy doing research and independent work.
But now that I had a foundation, it was time to step out of the office and begin interpreting. To be completely honest, I was nervous about interacting with visitors. I wanted to represent the park well but always thought, “what if I don’t know the answer to their questions, or get my dates mixed up, or trip over my word.” As I shadowed my supervisor and other seasonal rangers, I realized that most of the time, visitors just want directions to the restroom. I have learned that some people don’t necessarily want information, and that’s okay. Those who do want more information on the history will ask questions. My job is to be available and inviting.
Walking the grounds also allows me to enjoy the outdoors. Roanoke Island is entirely different from Southern California. And while it may be hard to find good cell phone reception or a Walmart, I appreciate the change in scenery. The island is covered in tall loblolly pines and is full of wildlife. During my short time here, I have seen many bright red northern cardinals, a woodpecker, eastern box turtles, American toads, five-lined skinks, Carolina anoles, and other insects I can’t accurately identify. The diversity in the environment is so refreshing.
To positively contribute to this diverse environment, my supervisor and I have found ways to incorporate preservation and stewardship. On July 5th, a day after people flocked to the beaches, we decided to walk down to a nearby beach owned by the park. We spent the morning picking up trash. I believe keeping the beaches clean is extremely important. If beaches are maintained, it is not only cleaner, it is safer for visitors and wildlife.
I have learned so much, about the NPS, divisions, interpretation, history, operations, education, public speaking, time management, and organization in a short period of time. The next half will be wrapping up projects, and although some of them have challenged my creativity and writing, I have awesome people around me who continuously offer their help. I’m excited to look back at my finished projects and say, “¡Sí Se Pudo!”