Well, now that we’ve gotten the first week of craziness out of the way, it’s time to circle back around to all of those little details like who I am and why this blog even exists.
I’ve had kind of circuitous route through the old education system to end up here in the SCA. I started out my college career at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio studying wildlife sciences. It was full of fantastic things they called classes like electro-shocking fish and playing around in the woods. It was awesome in regards to hands-on work but a little lacking on actual science.
That led to my return from the wilderness to the big city of Columbus Ohio and the Ohio State University. I majored in evolution and ecology, and due to the joy of transferring colleges, I had enough time in my schedule to fit in a minor in education. Three fantastically busy years later and the day after I graduated I was off to the SCA.
I am now the Junior Ranger Ambassador for Acadia National Park stationed at Schoodic Point. The junior ranger program is a nationwide effort to connect kids with the park and encourage the next generation of stewards. The goal is to have a junior ranger book at every national park site that is specific to its character and goals. They send out ambassadors to work at the park and either create a book or expand on existing materials. Up here at Schoodic we are a little bit more special than usual and it takes a bit of history to get the whole picture.
Our story starts back in World War I with a really expensive radio and an old rich guy with a great name. Alessandro Fabbri built and donated and, through some great yacht clubs connections with FDR, commanded a radio station on Otter Point over on what would become the main part of Acadia National Park. The radio station ended up becoming one of the best in the world, and was actually the first place to learn of the end of World War I. The next stage in the Schoodic story brings us to an even richer man with a slightly less cool name. John D. Rockefeller Jr., one of the coolest super rich guys ever, was building the park loop road in Acadia and ran into the navy base at Otter Point. He decided that his road would be much cooler if the navy would just move out of the way. So not to let a little thing like the US navy stop him, he bought 2000 acres over on Schoodic peninsula and built five new buildings for the navy and convinced them to trade places. In even greater cleverness, he managed to get it written into the contract that if the navy stops using the base the park gets the land base. So from 1935 to 2002 the navy expanded their little World War I base to work for World War II and the Cold War. By the time satellites came along and made radio stations kind of pointless the base had expanded to 35 buildings and 350 personnel.
Photo above: Rockefeller building.
So that takes care of the past and now we deal with what to do with an old navy base. The national park system has about 15 research centers scattered around the country. These are awesome places where you get that great mix of scientists, park managers, and educational all balled up into one big mass of outdoorsy goodness. Scientists get access to the park, managers get better data so they can make decisions based on actual science, and we – education folks – get to play around in the middle with access to really smart people and great facilities. Thus, the Schoodic Education Research Center was born.
Unfortunately, we still had a navy base and not a research center. So we wrote up all of our grants and figured it would take us fifteen or twenty years to slowly make all of our changes. Enter the recession from stage left and we had plans that were oh so shovel ready and we got to work on everything at once. We took down a lot of buildings and roads and tried our best to bring things back to a more natural and park like environment. We remodeled almost all of our buildings and are just about done with 18 months of break neck construction.
So at this point yours truly enters the picture. I am here working with the interpretive rangers doing all sorts of education activities this summer and getting the classrooms ready for Schoodic Education Adventure, (SEA) our residential education program for middle schoolers this fall. So to keep this all straight I’m an SCA working on the SEA at SERC, it’s a little alliterative but that just makes it fun. Thanks for staying with me as we get up and running here at Schoodic, I promise were are almost into regular blog territory.
Photo above: My sunset view at Schoodic Point, Acadia.