WOW! I cannot believe it has been a YEAR since I packed my bags, left the great state of Texas, and moved to Maryland to begin my SCA adventure at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Time really does fly by when you’re constantly learning, engaging in new activities, and truly enjoying your job. I explained it to my parents like this: “I can tell I’m happy here, because when have I EVER been able to get up for ANYTHING before 7am on a regular basis?” This definitely sent laughter all around, because if you know me, you know that mornings are the enemy but for this past year I haven’t loathed the morning time even once.
Throughout this past year, I’ve noticed a few fundamental shifts in my perspective on various subjects. For example, I always thought conservation had to be something you were on the ground, out in the field doing to make a difference. In the beginning, I questioned how my position was related to conservation and felt a bit down that I wasn’t out in the field making a tangible difference.
I’ve since learned that what I’m doing by coordinating volunteer efforts to preserve and protect the resources of our park is just as much conservation as if I was out removing invasive plant species, or doing a trash clean up with my own two hands. Our park utilizes the varied talents and skills of nearly 4,000 volunteers a year, and they make a huge impact on the protection, preservation, and visitor experience at our park. I’ve realized through working with these dedicated volunteers and staff that many different actions make up conservation, and each makes an impact.
I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities throughout the last year from the SCA and National Park Service, all the wonderful staff and volunteers I’ve worked with, and I’m even more excited to begin year two!
My Conservation Top Ten!
- Taking time to recognize and get to know our fantastic volunteers at the 2010 Volunteer Appreciation Dinners
- Learning how the government budget works and all that entails many informative NPS training courses
- Coordinating 4000 annual volunteers
- NPS White House Tour at Christmas
- Canal Pride Days 2011 (big clean up effort over four weekends with our official
non-profit partner the Canal Trust)
- Meeting and placing new volunteers in programs throughout the park
- Grant Writing for Conservation course at NCTC
- Learning the NPS Graphic Identity Standards
- Being part of the Social Media team at the Manassas 150
- Attending the Hartzog Awards at Ford’s Theatre to recognize outstanding volunteer service from the National Capital Region.
What are your top conservation priorities?