Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Newsletter 3.2, June 4, 2008

Hello friends,

It's hard to believe that it's June already! National Trails Day is coming up this weekend, our Conservation Corps has arrived and is completing its training, the snow is slowly melting, and we have our first public projects posted on our new and improved volunteer calendar. As our Corps members complete their training and move into their assigned roles, the calendar will fill up rapidly. In addition to volunteer projects, we have a full slate of training opportunities planned for the summer, beginning with Meadow Rover training later this month and continuing with Wilderness First Aid in July. Plan to join us for another exciting year at Mount Rainier National Park!

Father/Son/Daughter Project

Join us for our first public project of the year on Saturday, June 14th in honor of Father's Day weekend. We'll have a variety of Longmire-based projects to choose from, including winter debris clean-up, campground restoration and exotic plant control. This is great chance to spend quality time assisting Mount Rainier alongside your kids or Dad. Please wear sturdy shoes and long pants. Bring a lunch, layers, rain gear and work gloves if you have them. We'll provide the tools, instruction and, of course, fun. Sign up online to participate!

Meadow Roving
One of our most popular ongoing volunteer opportunities is our Meadow Rover program. Meadow Rovers patrol the trails at Paradise and Sunrise, assisting visitors and educating them about the importance of staying on the trails in those fragile subalpine environments. It's a great way to enjoy the park and help out at the same time! There will be several opportunities to learn more about this program and to get involved this summer, beginning with our spring Meadow Rover training at Paradise at 10:00am on June 28th. We'll be sending out more information about this within the next week or so, so if you're not already on our mailing list, sign up to receive updates. Throughout the summer, our Mount Rainier Recovery Corps will offer repeat trainings and opportunities to get out on the trails with an experienced rover. Due to heavy snow this winter and a slow melt this spring, there will undoubtedly also be opportunities to help with snow shoveling and trail wanding as well. Watch our blog for updates!

Wilderness First Aid
Coming up on the training front: Wilderness First Aid! Mark your calendars for July 12-13, when Aerie Wilderness Medicine will present the course at Mount Rainier. Final details are still being worked out, and will be posted here on the blog and on our calendar, along with an online signup, within the next week or so. The course will be offered through our partnership with the Student Conservation Association at a steep discount thanks to a grant from Boeing Corporation. Also on the long-range calendar: Wilderness Advanced First Aid and possibly Wilderness First Responder. No prerequisites are required for any of these classes. WAFA is just a more hands-on version of WFA. WFR is a much more thorough and complete class in general, but all three courses start with the basics and provide a great overview of wilderness medicine.

Awards Update
Mount Rainier National Park's volunteer program received two major awards this year. In April, the Department of the Interior presented us with the Cooperative Conservation Award for our high-successful partnerships with the Student Conservation Association and the Northwest Parks and Public Lands Storm Recovery Coalition. (Congressman Dave Reichert even read a commendation into the Congressional Record on our behalf!) On May 8, we received the George B. Hartzog Jr. Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service, the National Park Service's highest honor. Superintendent Dave Uberuaga and Volunteer Program Manager Kevin Bacher traveled to Washington D.C. with volunteers Eva Meassick and George Coulbourn, who represented the 1,724 of you who participated in our program last year and received the beautiful award on your behalf. Congratulations, everyone--you are the best!

Volunteer Calendar
We now have a new and improved volunteer calendar posted on our volunteer blog! On it, you'll find everything you need to know about opportunities to get involved at Mount Rainier National Park, including short-term volunteer projects led by park staff, the Mount Rainier Recovery Corps, the Washington Trails Association, and the Mount Rainier National Park Associates. (NOTE: link corrected.) These projects are highlighted in green and range in length from one day to a full week. Several training opportunities are coming up as well, and these are highlighted in brown. Other events at the park, including the projected opening dates for park roads and facilities, are highlighted in purple. Click on any calendar entry for more information and to sign up to participate!

Coming Up

Long-term and Recurring Opportunities
Don't forget our list of long-term and recurring opportunities, too! Current positions we're hiring for include:

Volunteer Surveys
This spring, 157 of you responded to our volunteer survey. We've finally finished organizing the results, which provided a wealth of information about your favorite projects, training opportunities, suggestions for camping and carpooling, and advice for new volunteers. Check out the complete results on our website, including the raw data and a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the results. Our next step: begin implementing some of your suggestions!

In Other News...
A lot has been happening at Mount Rainier National Park! Forty-two people showed up for the Meadow Rovers Brunch in Tacoma on May 9th to learn about roving and volunteering in general. Next year's gathering is already scheduled, so mark your calendars for May 9, 2009! On May 16, the renovated Paradise Inn reopened. Volunteer Allan Dreyer contributed
four beautiful paintings to a fundraiser at the Inn on opening night, which raised $650 for the park! And in spite of the late snow, volunteers like John Walsh continued to volunteer and to enjoy the magnificent beauty of our park.

Share your stories
Share your own stories, photos, and videos! We'll gladly post anything related to your volunteer experience here on our blog. Send us your files or links and we'll add them here. Also, don't miss our Picasa photo site, our discussion group, and our brand-new prototype YouTube page!

See you on the trails,

Kevin Bacher
Volunteer Program Manager
360-569-2211 ext. 3385

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