Project Leader: Annie Stencil Project Dates: April 12 - October 1, 2010 Email address: email@example.com 
This past week has been an interesting experience for all of us on the crew here at the C&O Canal NHP. We have been working with the YCC (Youth Conservation Corps), the West Virginia CC and several C&O Canal Maintenance Staff on the most important Resource Management Project of the summer. There is a portion of the C&O Canal that runs parallel to the town of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. Located here are Locks 33 and 34, with about a mile and a half of original stone masonry walls used during battle in the Civil war on both the Potomac river side and the canal side, as well as the remnants of an armory. The site hasn't been cleared of vegetation since 1987, so you can imagine the amount of work we have cut out for us.
We spent the week falling trees on the river side, cutting about 10 feet into the bank to clear the area and uncover the buried wall. Once the trees are cut, the trees are bucked and swamped (carried) to the chipper, where the wood is made into wood chips. The stumps are treated with water safe herbicide using the cut-stump treatment. The wall on the canal side has been previously sprayed with herbicide, leaving the remnants of the plants to be cut and lopped off the wall, using ladders when the wall gets higher and higher...and higher...and higher...
The project will take another week or two to complete and is on high priority for the park, so we are feeling very useful and confident!
During the first few weeks of our field work, we met a wonderful man who walks 2 miles of the towpath every morning close to where we were working. After seeing and chatting with him for a few days during our morning routine, he started bringing his camera and taking action shots of our work. He loved to see us in the canal and was very supportive and appreciative of the work we do. The next week, he brought us print out copies of some photographs, along with a CD of all the shots he had taken of us over the previous weeks. This entry is a tribute to Einar Johnson, a stranger turned friend, who is helping us day by day to believe in ourselves and the mission of the SCA.
Below you will find before, during and after photographs of Lock 74, our very first lock.
Still July 
So I figured that the best way to give ya'll an idea of what our work is like is to post "before and after" pictures of our sites. It's truly amazing what progress 5 people can make...
It would also be a good idea to give ya'll a step by step outline of what we do when we get to a site, AKA lock. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locks_on_the_C%26O_Canal )
-Assess lock and clarify specific dangers and safety protocol
-Assign specific jobs to each crew member
-Put on appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for the job
-GET TO WORK!
-Take the weed wacker to the bottom of the lock, which is sometimes filled with about a foot of water
-After the bottom of the lock is cleared, take the chainsaw to any exisiting trees and treat with herbicide
-Use loppers and pole saw to remove vegetation from the top portions of the lock walls and treat roots with herbicide
-Use rakes and man power to pull debris out into the forest to lay
-Set up the ladder and treat the vegetation hanging on the walls with a backpack sprayer via foliar spray
-Any trees growing out of the lock wall (example:tree of heaven) are removed by climbing up the ladder and using a hand saw to cut and herbicide to treat
-Swamp, AKA pull debris, out of the locks and into the forest
-Come back to site after a few weeks to monitor the foliar sprayed vegetation and remove when plants have died out
-To protect the integrity of historical structures throughout the C&O Canal NHP for future generations to enjoy and experience.
Follow the pictures from left to right to see before, during and after photos of our work :
July...Oh My... 
News from Oldtown : July 9th, 2010
Hello out there? Can you hear us? Probably not because we are out in the middle of NOWHERE. It's been an interesting ride for our crew the past couple of weeks. There's a portion of the C&O Canal that runs through the Green Ridge State Forest. We've been taking our truck into the depths of the forest playing scavenger hunt to try and find these infamous "locks". But alas, we have found them and have knocked out nearly all the vegetation from 3 locks in 2 days. We're pretty proud.
It's pretty hot here, which I'm told isn't particularly normal for Maryland in July. Temperatures have broken 100 + this past week. It makes our work pretty crazy, considering we are in long pants, long shirts, chainsaw gear AND heavy black waders for the 1+ foot of water we're in at the bottom of these locks. Needless to say, at the end of the day we are exhausted but thankful we can come home to a nice, cozy historical red brick house.
We had an awesome 4th of July weekend. Everyone dispersed and did their own thing. A few people went down to D.C. for the big city-style patriotism, and a few of us stayed back in the country to watch the Maryland Symphony and an amazing display of fireworks and cannons at the Antietam National Battlefied. It was spectacular. Watching explosions in the sky over land trampled by soldiers in combat almost 150 years ago. Here's a link to Antietam if you're interested in learning more...
No pictures as of yet, but they are soon to come! Stay tuned.
So Far So Good 
After several weeks of NPS training in Exotic Plant ManageWment and Chainsaw, the Oldtown crew is finally in the field! We have started at Lock 74 towards the western end of the park. The locks are filled with vegetation, to the point where you can't even see in them. Our team has cleared 3 locks in the past week! We are working hard and love to be able to see the progress we've made at the end of each day. We have a ton of support through the C&O Canal National Historical Park Staff and feel really good about our work. Can't get much better than this!
Oldtown has proven to be a righteous little town in western MD. We've met just about everyone there, including some of the Cressap family relatives. Everyone is excited to see us living in such a historical house and bringing it back to life. It's so comforting to know that the locals like our presence!
Here are some pictures from over the past couple of weeks. Some are training, some are work, and some are just for fun :) Enjoy!
Addie Houlberg 
Hello!! My name is Addie and I currently live in Vancouver, Canada. I just graduated with a BSc in Ecology and am very excited about working with everyone removing plants from historical structures this summer!! I have a younger sister who lives in Ontario, Canada and my parents (and dog) presently live in Mexico. I love to cook, read and explore new places, and am pumped about doing all of those this summer!
Eric Thompson 
I was born by the river in a little tent and just like the river I've been running ever since. I'm from Kentucky and just recently graduated from college, and am looking forward to the summer on the canal. I'm stoked to work with plants this summer, and am working towards having an organic farm in the future.
Melissa Lampman 
My name is Melissa Lampman. I am 26 years old and just recently graduated from UMASS, Amherst. My degree was in Natural Resource Studies. I have served with the SCA for three summers while I was in college and I love the opportunities the internships have given me. Especially in the summer of 2009, when I traveled to Alaska, which has been a dream of mine for many years. Besided my love for nature and the outdoors, I also like reading fantasy novels, watching movies and doing art projects.
Annie Stencil 
I am the Project Leader for one of the two Native Plant Teams at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park in Maryland. I have been an intern and a crew member for the Student Conservation Association in the past, and am excited to create a similar experience for my crew members. Being a part of the SCA from a young age inspired and allowed me to grow in a lot of different ways, and I'll always cherish what it made me think about.
Since then I've earned a degree in Natural Resource Management in Texas and spent some time in Jamaica with the Peace Corps. Now I'm back on the mainland and ready to rock.
The history behind our project site is fantastic, and it is a blessing to help conserve the area in honor of the civilians and military of the American Civil War.
The C&O Canal National Historic Park consists of roughly 184 miles of "towpath" and canal that runs alongside the Potomac River in the state of Maryland. The idea and construction of the canal began in 1828 with the hopes to expand commerce from the Potomac Valley to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Due to flooding and lack of money, construction of the canal was not completed until 1850 and only reached to Cumberland, Maryland. From 1836 until about 1924, the canal was used mainly to transport coal from the Alleghany mountains to Washington, D.C. The "towpath" is a trail directly adjacent (on the Maryland side) to the canal, where the canal boats were pulled by mules.
A term often heard around the area is "canal people". During the 19th century, families would work and live on canal boats, steering and maintaining the boat, as well as leading the mules along the towpath. It is a fascinating history that is well worth reading about. Following this link will take you to the C&O Canal NHP home page. http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm 
Today, the towpath runs from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland and can be used by the public for hiking and biking along the canal.
Our team will be based out of Oldtown, Maryland, nestled among the Alleghany Mountains on the borders of Maryland and West Virginia. We will be living in a historic home from circa 1865 on park service property, giving the park a sense of presence and keeping the house alive.
During the days we will be working along the canal and towpath to remove harmful vegetation from historic structures, such as locks, lock houses, aqueducts, damns and tunnels, to save their integrity and keep them from deteriorating. It is a wonderful chance for us to conserve history while learning about it at the same time.
If you are interested in learning more about canal structures and how it was operated, take a look at these links.