07 Jul Sometimes You Learn Best by Doing
I should be careful titling this entry “Sometimes You Learn Best by Doing”. My own project for the internship program is to create a training tool, called a StoryMap, that will prepare future trail crews for the work they will do. Nevertheless, I’d like to tell you a bit about how I have recently experienced this saying to be true and how it will affect my project itself.
The Appalachian Mountain Club Trail Crew arrived June 21st with five team members. They set out to improve water drainage along the North Bridge trail and the Battle Road trail. The specific work that we are doing along the trail includes cleaning out swales, reducing erosion, creating and cleaning leak-offs, creating and fixing berms, and some aesthetic improvements. These are improvements and tasks that should be done about annually given the amount of use and trail material run-off the trail experiences. The team works hard from start to end of the day. Their work is thankless not only for our own park, but for the work that they do for trail accessibility up and down the East Coast and in Appalachian Trail communities, like the ones we are in.
Prior to the AMC’s arrival, I had reviewed the action plan and assisted in updating the task descriptions. My project for the internship program and for the park would be to capture the steps for these commonly occurring maintenance needs and create an easy to comprehend educational tool. The tool will also show where these trail problems occur so that we can easily be able to return to the locations in the future. I began my camera work on day one, but it was not until day 7 with the AMC that I truly captured and grasped for myself the tasks to a greater degree than before. I joined the AMC in digging out swales, rebuilding ditches, and recreating leak offs. I truly learned the details of the tasks that I will be writing about for the StoryMap by getting my hands on a shovel and boots on the ground.
I started this entry noting the conundrum I am in. While there is perhaps no greater teacher than experience itself, my project is to create an educational tool that a person would be watching and going through even prior to being at our trail. The very fact that training-on-the-job goes a long way when working on trails is an important guiding factor for how I will create and shape the StoryMap.
While having a greater respect and understanding for trail maintenance, I also have a greater understanding (I believe!) of the job of a camera person and crew. As a one-person camera crew, to do my job well, there are several plates I am spinning. I must grasp the content that we are recording, the work that is happening next, and the story that we are telling with the content. In addition to all of this, I must also manage the camera equipment (i.e. batteries, tripod, memory storage) and secure the best lighting and angle. All of this is done on a hot trail, with many visitors passing on both sides of me and the crew. I cannot imagine what this sort of work is like when any of these factors are exacerbated. The trail crew chooses a question each day to ask each other during their morning stretches. They recently asked each other what their call sign would be. I asked what mine would be. I thought perhaps at most camerawoman. They kindly named me “Director”. I feel much more like a videographer than a Director for this project, but I enjoy the title of director and certainly feel complimented by their choice of a call sign for me.