Week 3

During my third week, I have continued to learn more about the important work the Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs does to support communication between parks, the public, and government officials. The Congressional and Legislative Report I have been working on will now be posted on our internal website, and shared via the weekly newsletter that goes out to all of the parks in our region. It seems to be getting good feedback so far. The Youth Programs Assistant here in the office already approached me and said she learned something new from the report! Her office had already been discussing how they can better support and protect youth interns in the workplace when she saw the news about H.R. 653 in the report. H.R. 653, The Federal Intern Protection Act, would extend the same statutory protections against harassment and discrimination which currently apply to paid employees to unpaid interns working at federal agencies. The most exciting day this week had to be Thursday. At the Get Outdoors Day Colorado event last week I met Ricardo, the Mosaics in Science intern at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. He invited Jenn, the other LHIP intern here at the regional office, and I to visit him at Florissant Fossil Beds and learn more about the site and what he does there. We made our way down there, driving on winding roads through small towns and forested areas. We found the site without much trouble, and Ricardo showed us his office space and talked about what he is working on: a Geology/Paleontology summer camp for students from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. He then took us to the Paleontology lab where four other interns are working for the summer. They showed us around the small but busy lab. Two of the interns are working on writing up descriptions of fossils to be posted alongside their photos on the National Park Service Museum Collections website. Did you know that you can see thousands of images of paintings, artifacts, and historical documents online? You can explore the online collections here: https://museum.nps.gov/ParkIndex.aspx.

“This searchable online database provides access to thousands of images and records from the National Park Service (NPS) museum collections. NPS museum collections include diverse disciplines and have unique associations with park cultural and natural resources, eminent figures, and park histories.”

After eating lunch together Ricardo and Evan, one of the Geoscientists-in-Parks interns, showed us around the monument. I was really impressed with how much they knew about the site, and they were great guides! Evan knew a lot about the paleontology and science behind what we were seeing, and Ricardo told us about the history of the site and some cool stories – like how a young Walt Disney bought an entire petrified redwood stump from the area (before it was a national park site) that is now displayed in Frontierland at Disneyland. You can read a longer version of the story here: http://www.disneyhistoryinstitute.com/2014/10/dhi-mythbusters-edition-truth-about.html.

One of the largest petrified redwood stumps on the site.


Intermountain Regional Office LHIP interns getting some time in the field.

After some more hiking and chatting, we made it to an overlook and wayside that lets you picture what the area looked like millions of years ago, with a small ancient lake and volcano in the background. We all wished we could have stayed longer, but hopefully Ricardo will make his way up to the regional office and get a different kind of tour (more cubicles and less fossils).  

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