Friday, May 2, 2008

Tentative training schedules

One of the greatest things about being a volunteer is having access to all of the cool training provided by national park rangers as they prepare their staff at the beginning of the summer season. Here are three examples of training you can get involved with if you're interested. Each of these is directed primarily at an internal audience, but volunteers are welcome to sit in on all or part of them as well. Later in the summer, we will be offering additional training opportunities specifically targeted to volunteers, such as Wilderness First Aid.

For now, if you're interested in joining us for any of these initial training days, send me note to let me know you'll be here and I'll make sure there's an extra chair (and cookies) for you! Keep in mind that all of these training agendas are still tentative and will probably change in subtle or major ways as the dates get closer. If we know you're coming, we'll keep you informed.

First up: Conservation Corps Training, beginning when our Corps members arrive on May 19 and continuing into June. Included: introduction to park programs and backcountry operations; risk management; Leave No Trace; work skills; and search and rescue procedures.

Next: NPS Volunteer Management, May 28-29. This is a thorough and specific overview of how we recruit and manage volunteers in the National Park Service, including program planning, partnerships, needs assessment, recruitment and hiring, supervision, recognition, a panel discussion, and a look ahead at the future of volunteerism in the national parks.

Also beginning at the end of May: Interpretive Training, May 27-June 6. This training will provide an overview of basic park operations and natural history, but will also focus intensively on how to create high-quality interpretive presentations.

Also on the horizon (most of these are still in the idea stage, but they'll give you a sense for what's coming):
- National Trails Day, June 7
- A father/son project, possibly in mid-June
- Meadow Rover training, tentatively June 28
- US Forest Service Work Skills, including crosscut saw certification, July 7-11
- Wilderness First Aid for volunteers, possibly mid-July
- National Public Lands Day, September 27

For your interest, here's a snippet of what our tentative calendar looks like for organized groups. These tend to be the "large rocks" in the bucket of our calendar, around which we schedule individual projects open to the public at large. As you'll see, we already have a lot of interest from a lot of different groups, many of whom are returning after having great experiences here last year:

- Evergreen State College, late May
- BSA Buckley Troop 577, National Trails Day June 7
- Washington State Geocaching Association, National Trails Day June 7
- American Alpine Club, National Trails Day June 7
- USFS Discovery Teams, June 23-August 1
- NW Environmental Education Council, June 25, July 15, or August 1
- Youth Conservation Corps, multiple dates in July and August
- Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, July 11
- University of Idaho, August 2-5
- Starbucks, August 9
- Catholic Youth Organization, August 15-17
- National Parks Conservation Association, National Public Lands Day September 27
- REI Adventures, REI Issaquah, and REI Seattle, weekends TBD
- Americorps Tacoma, dates TBD
- HSBC Bank, weekday TBD

We don't have any individual projects on our calendar yet, unfortunately, but hope to start posting them very soon. You can count on National Trails Day for sure, June 7. Frankly, everything else is more up in the air than usual this year due to snow depth. We still have almost four feet on the ground here at Longmire, at a time of year when the ground is usually bare. I'll keep you posted.

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