Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Announcing Volunteer Dates for 2015! (Updated)

Volunteers have two projects to choose
from this Earth Day weekend!
Volunteers,

The weather is getting warmer and drier every day, so I want to make sure you all have some key dates on your calendars as the summer volunteer season kicks off! Watch the blog (http://rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com) and Facebook page (http://facebook.com/rainiervolunteers) for details, but for now plan for these dates:

April 25: Adopt-A-Highway Litter Patrol: We still need a few more volunteers to help with this annual Earth Day weekend event! Contact Petrina_Vecchio (at) partner.nps.gov if you can help.

April 25: Mount Rainier National Park Associates Trail Maintenance: Contact John Titland at volunteer (at) mrnpa.org if you’d like to help with trail maintenance on the Trail of the Shadows at Longmire.

May 16: Our annual Volunteer Brunch will be held at the Mountaineers Clubhouse in Tacoma. Plan to join us for an update on this year’s volunteer program , or to learn about how to become a volunteer!

May 16: Mount Rainier National Park Associates Trail Maintenance: Contact John Titland at volunteer (at) mrnpa.org if you’d like to help with trail maintenance at a location yet to be determined.

June 2: Seasonal Interpretive Training begins. Watch for a more detailed schedule. As usual, volunteers will be welcome to attend resource-oriented sessions during our two weeks of training.

June 6: WEEKLY trail maintenance begins! Watch the Washington Trails Association website (http://wta.org) under the “Volunteer” tab for trail maintenance projects every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the summer!

June 13: Our annual geocaching “Cache In, Trash Out” event at Longmire will coincide with the launch of our National Park Service Centennial GeoTour in Ashford!

June 13: Mount Rainier National Park Associates Trail Maintenance: Contact John Titland at volunteer (at) mrnpa.orgif you’d like to help with trail maintenance at a location yet to be determined.

June 20: Beginning Meadow Rover Training at the park’s Education Center. In past years, the MeadoWatch Citizen Science training has also been on this date, but that has not yet been confirmed.

June 21: Advanced Meadow Rover Training at the Community Building in Longmire. Update: It's been pointed out to me that this is Father's Day. We will probably be rescheduling this date!

July 4: Join us to walk with the park’s contingent in the annual 4th of July Parade in Eatonville!

July 11: Mount Rainier National Park Associates “Deveg” exotic plant removal project: Contact John Titland at volunteer (at) mrnpa.org if you’d like to help!

August 14: Annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic at Longmire. Food will be provided!

August 15: Mount Rainier National Park Associates Trail Maintenance, potluck, and overnight campout: Contact John Titland at volunteer (at) mrnpa.org if you’d like to help!

August 15: Annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic at Sunrise. Food will be provided!

September 11: The Washington State Fair begins! Join us any time through September 27 to volunteer at our booth in the Washington Outdoors building.

September 12: Mount Rainier National Park Associates Revegetation: Contact John Titland at volunteer (at) mrnpa.org if you’d like to help plant native plants. The location is yet to be determined, but will most likely be at Sunrise.

September 26: National Public Lands Day, our largest volunteer event of the season! We’ll have multiple projects throughout the park on this date.

These are just some of what will be happening this summer, so keep in touch with our blog and Facebook page to follow all of the latest opportunities. We’ll also be sending out monthly newsletters, so if you know someone who’d like to be on our mailing list, have them contact me at Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov.

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you in the park! It’s going to be a great summer!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Seeking hosts for the Longmire Stewardship Campground

I just discovered that, due to a typo, our advertisement for campground host volunteers at the Longmire Stewardship Campground has not been visible on volunteer.gov. While we do have some applicants on file from our other campgrounds, I could use a few more applicants to choose from, and who have applied specifically for this job.

The full listing and online application is at http://www.volunteer.gov/results.cfm?ID=9361, and is reproduced here:




Mount Rainier National Park's volunteer program is seeking an individual, a couple, or multiple individuals in sequence to serve for five months (or a portion thereof) as the manager of the Longmire Campground.

The historic Longmire Campground was closed to use by the general public almost forty years ago. Since then, many of its trails and facilities have gradually disappeared under a sea of moss, with the exception of a dozen sites that were restored for use by seasonal employees living in RVs. In 2007, full-scale restoration efforts began, with the help of volunteers under the direction of the Mount Rainier Recovery Corps, as part of recovery efforts following flood damage in November of 2006. The campground now has two dozen rough individual campsites and two group sites, though few picnic tables or fire pits. Five platform tent sites have been built, though the tents themselves must be taken down and put into storage during the winter months. A bath house has been built with three shower units, one of them handicap-accessible.

These restored campsites and facilities are now available for the exclusive use of volunteers and other park partners. The campground manager sought by this announcement will be responsible for the following duties:
  • Opening the campground in the spring, including cleaning up winter storm debris, rebuilding the platform tents, and assisting with dewinterization of the bath house.
  • Coordinating use of the campground by volunteers, including scheduling the use of campsites and welcoming and assisting volunteers as they come and go.
  • General upkeep and maintenance of the campground throughout the summer, including working with maintenance staff to keep the bath houses clean and well-stocked.
  • Continuing the campground's historic restoration, including helping maintenance staff to remove deteriorating picnic tables and fire grates, and build and install new ones.
  • Preparing the campground for winter, including taking down the platform tents and putting them into storage.
  • Leading volunteers on campground-related projects, including any or all of the above-listed tasks.
  • Assisting with other volunteer-related duties as available and interested, including data entry, correspondence, and coordination of volunteer events.

Housing for this position may be in one of the campground's employee RV spaces, which includes water and electrical hookups. An RV will be required. A separate vehicle is also recommended for trips to town. Alternatively, an apartment is available adjacent to the campground for those who prefer it or do not have an RV. The person selected for this position will generally be on duty Thursday through Monday, with Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, though this schedule may vary. A background check may be required.

The campground host's apartment or RV site and hookups will be provided at no cost. Pets are permitted for full-time RV residents in the Longmire Campground if they are indoor pets and not kenneled outside.



I need hosts from mid-May through the end of September, though I will consider multiple partial seasons to fill that span of time (and last year's hosts may return for part of the season). Actual time working will vary according to how busy the campground is. There will be stretches when the campground is only partially occupied, and duties may be completed in a few hours. At other times, the campground will be completely full, with people checking in at all hours. (There are a few very large groups already scheduled to use the campground this summer.) The work will average out to about 32-40 hours per week. A small per diem is available, if needed, to defray living expenses.

Please share this job announcement with anyone who may be interested, and direct any questions to me at Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov. I will be filling the position no later than April 24.

Seattle Boy Scouts honored for 90 years of service at Mount Rainier

There are many volunteer groups who have worked at Mount Rainier off and on for years, even decades. But recently one group was recognized for a partnership that started 90 years ago, in 1925! Follow the link below, and read all about the Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America, whose Eagle Scouts continue to do exceptional work in the park today.

Queen Anne Eagle Scout honored for pioneering trails project

Friday, April 3, 2015

First MRNPA Work Party for 2015

The first Mount Rainier National Park Associates trails work party of 2015 will be on Saturday, April 25th.  The crew will be working on the Trail of the Shadows at Longmire, building the approaches to a new boardwalk and repairing some winter flood damage.

Participants will meet in the Longmire parking lot near the museum at 8:30, and will head out by 9:00 AM. The hike to the work site is very short. Always bring a warm jacket, a full set of rain gear, your work gloves, and a lunch.

If you plan to attend this April 25th MRNPA trails work party, you are asked to register with John Titland at volunteer(at)mrnpa.org. Please let him know how many people will be in your party. Tools will be provided. Members using aggressive tools (axes, pulaskis, etc.) must wear hard hats and protective goggles. Bring your own if you have them!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Citizen Ranger Quests



Would you like to be a Citizen Ranger? New to the Park this year, ​Citizen Ranger Quests are activities in which older children and adults can earn a certificate and a patch, much like our Junior Ranger program. Developed and piloted by Curt Jacquot and the operational Interpretive staff over the last couple of years, there are Quests in every area of the park and a few you can do online as well. Start your Quests from any visitor center or download the Quest worksheets from our website at http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/citizen-ranger.htm.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Volunteers needed to assist with Mount Rainier's historical archives!

Curatorial Reconciliation Project
Open: Immediately
Dates: 6/1/2015 to 9/30/2015 (Dates are slightly flexible)
# of positions: 3 volunteers/interns
Supervisor: Brooke Childrey, Park Curator

Duties: The Cultural Resource program at Mount Rainier National Park is looking for detail-oriented individuals to process the park's historic documents to National Park Service archival standards. Once this project is complete, there may be an opportunity to catalog natural history specimens into the Interior Collections Management Program (ICMS).

This work will benefit Mount Rainier National Park by improving the organization of its historic collections and making them more accessible for use by park naturalists, resource managers, and the public.

Location: The park's curation facility at Park Headquarters near Ashford.

Time Commitment Required: Three volunteers are needed for the period of June through September.

Skills and abilities required: Ability to hand-print legibly for 8 hours per day; some computer skills; ability to lift boxes up to 25 pounds; ability to stand or sit for long periods of time. National Catalog Program will be taught to the volunteers.

Other Information: PLEASE NOTE: Housing and stipends are NOT available for this position. Please apply ONLY if you are able to be self-sufficient with living expenses and housing.

For more information: Contact Brooke Childrey, Park Curator, at 360-569-6784.

Apply: At volunteer.gov.

Corrected: Housing IS available for this position.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Many Aspects of Volunteering

We often receive inquiries which say simply, "I want to volunteer at Mount Rainier National Park," and while it's wonderful to hear from people who want to participate, volunteer opportunities are as diverse as the people who apply. It is helpful if potential volunteers categorize their areas of interest. Here are just a few ways our volunteers serve the Park, selected from field projects done in 2014. (Uncredited NPS photos: Kevin Bacher)




NPS photo: Curt Jacquot











NPS photo: Lou Whiteaker



Photo: Ed Hunds
NPS photo: Crow Vecchio
Photo: Kathleen Bogaards










Of course these aren't the only ways you can volunteer. When you contact us, be sure to list your specialties and interests so we can find the right place for you!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Background Photo



The Park's March background photo features a winter sunrise photo of the Mountain taken from Naches Peak by volunteer JD Hascup. Many thanks to JD for sharing this lovely photo under a Creative Commons license.

Background photos are available on the Park's website for download in a variety of screen sizes. If you would like to download one, please visit http://go.usa.gov/FzuQ.

If you are interested in submitting a photo for consideration for a future background photo, please e-mail to Patti_Wold(at)nps.gov. Send only photos which you have taken yourself.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Volunteers Needed!

Are you serious about volunteering? Here are three less-than-glamorous volunteer opportunities which nevertheless service Mount Rainier National Park's needs.


Adopt-a-Highway

We are still looking for volunteers to assist with the April 25th Adopt-a-Highway litter patrol. We will gather at Tahoma Woods three miles east of Elbe at 10 AM for a brief orientation. If you are interested in participating, contact Crow at Petrina_Vecchio(at)partner.nps.gov by April 15.

Uniform Cache Organizers

We're looking for a few volunteers to organize the uniform cache in the Warehouse. Uniforms need to be sorted by size and folded neatly for storage.

Garbage Collection/Maintenance

Ron Hastings would like one volunteer to help with garbage collection and general maintenance. Volunteer will ride with Ron and/or drive a 2-ton truck a few days each week. Some physical labor is involved. Contact Ron through Dale_Harvard(at)nps.gov for further details.

Friday, March 20, 2015

George B. Hartzog Jr. Award Nominee: Russ Gibbs

Mount Rainier National Park would also like to congratulate Russ Gibbs on his nomination for the Hartzog Award. We would like to acknowledge Russ' excellent qualifications and enduring service at this time.

NPS photo
Brief Summary of Exceptional Accomplishments: Russ Gibbs has been a devoted volunteer working at Mount Rainier National Park since December, 2001.  To date, he has contributed and documented over 8,200 hours of his time assisting multiple programs within the Division of Natural and Cultural Resources at Mount Rainier National Park, and providing valuable information to the park regarding status of park infrastructure during winter closures, and reporting unusual activities year round.  His contribution to Mount Rainier National Park includes winter patrols; spotted owl, pika, harlequin duck, amphibian, and snow tracking surveys; removal of telephone wire on the east side of the park; and providing information on unusual activities such as the location of deployed cameras and poached elk within park boundaries.

Magnitude of Work: What was the extent of the work accomplished? What made the work, project, contribution, or program exceptional? Was the program well-managed and efficient? In what ways did the nominee demonstrate creativity or originality?

He began his volunteer time in 2001 conducting harlequin duck surveys in the Ohanapecosh area including the Muddy Fork and associated tributaries providing valuable information on the abundance of these rare ducks in Mount Rainier National Park.  Surveys continue to date.  In 2002, he began providing winter patrols to Ohanapecosh, located in the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, when the park started closing Ohanapecosh facilities and road access during the winter months.  Patrols were, and still are, performed via ski or snowshoe and provide valuable information about the status of buildings and unusual activity in the Ohanapecosh area.  Over the years, he has reported flooded buildings, broken gate locks, and heavy snow loading.  All information that likely wouldn’t have been discovered by park staff until spring opening, potentially leading to increased damage.

In 2005, Russ’s volunteer time expanded when he joined the owl crew conducting spotted owl surveys.  Many years due to funding, Russ has filled the 4th positions in a crew of four, allowing for completion of required compliance surveys and increased demographic surveys. In 2007, Russ began conducting amphibian surveys under the direction of the aquatics staff.  He follows established protocols, and visits sites multiple times a year, adding to the park’s knowledge about the distribution and abundance of all amphibian’s, focusing on the rare western toad, with only 13 known breeding spots in the park.  In addition, Russ has been a valuable resource and trainer for the Amphibian Citizen Science program at Mount Rainier.  He has reliably led new, inexperienced staff and youth to sites that are challenging to access to survey for amphibians.  Finally in 2009, Russ began conducting pika survey’s when the park identified the need to track pika populations in response to climate change.  He works independently and as needed with the wildlife crew, following established protocols.  He has also accompanied staff to assist with field work associated with lake surveys, and weather station maintenance, which would not have occurred due to a lack of field partner.

These days, you will find Russ hiking in the park conducting a wide variety of wildlife surveys, varying based on the time of year.  When describing Russ’s skills to new staff, we like to mention if you looked at a map of Mount Rainier National Park and recorded all of Russ’s hikes, the entire east side of the park would be covered.  He has been the “eyes in the field” for east side of Mount Rainier National Park for over a decade.  In addition to his survey efforts, his discovery of a fresh elk kill site within the park boundaries eventually led to the successful conviction of the responsible party.

Meeting the Mission: How has the volunteer, group, or program improved conditions for the park facilities or operations, resources and/or visitors? How did the nominee support the NPS mission?

Russ’s contribution to wildlife surveys during all times of year contribute the park’s knowledge of the distribution and abundance of spotted owls, all amphibians, harlequin ducks, and any notable wildlife (via snow tracking surveys).  We don’t have the year round staff to accomplish many of the surveys Russ completes.  His support of the Amphibian Citizen Science program allows relatively new SCA staff to gain access to challenging survey locations, which would otherwise be crossed off the list due access.

As mentioned above, he has been the “eyes in the field” for the east side of Mount Rainier National Park for over a decade.  He has helped identify flooded building, broken gate locks, and unusual heavy snow loading in the Ohanapecosh area during winter closures.  His constant presence in the backcountry has provided information on elk poaching and placed cameras in the field

Challenges: Describe any challenges the nominee may have faced.

Russ hikes in all weather conditions and in challenging terrain, mostly off trail.  He is a solid addition to any field team.

Partnerships: How did the project or program build partnerships or boost public interest? Please explain.

Russ’s true passion for the outdoors, wildlife, and Mount Rainier Nation Park is obvious by his enthusiasm to always help and his constant engagement.  Just last week, Russ gave a presentation at the Packwood museum describing the various surveys occurring within the park and rationale behind them.