Happy Inauguration Day! As our nation ushers in a new administration in Washington, D.C., those of us out here "in the field" are quietly planning and preparing for another year of the ongoing work of caring for our nation's natural and cultural treasures. We've learned emphatically over the past two years that you, our volunteers, are indispensible partners in this work of stewardship. More than 1,800 of you came out in 2008 to build trails, plant seedlings, rove meadows, and host campground visitors, up almost a hundred people over 2007's record numbers. It's fitting, on this day of all days, to remember that a democracy works best when its citizens are actively involved; and that is true even more than ever when we face challenges as great as those we face today.
Over the coming months, our plans for the summer will take shape with greater and greater clarity. Still, there are things going on even now, in the cold heart of winter, that present opportunities for you to get involved.
Our Mountain, Our Park
Monday, January 26, 7:00 p.m.
REI Flagship Store, Seattle
Join us at REI in Seattle for a very special presentation by Acting Superintendent Randy King about the role of community and volunteer partnerships in our national parks! I will be there, too, along with SCA President Dale Penny. We'll bring you up to date with the exciting things that are happening in our park with the help of volunteers, and answer any questions you might have about how to participate yourself.
If you're a member of an organized group--an employee organization, for example, or a civic group, church youth group, or hiking club--give us a call and get on our list for a summer volunteer project. We don't have a lot of specific projects on the calendar yet, of course, and won't until we have a better sense for when the snow will melt. But if you're willing to be patient and a little flexible, we can guarantee a fun day of service in your national park! For those of you who have already signed up, watch for an e-mail in the next week or two to check in with you about plans for the summer.
There isn't a lot going on for volunteers during the winter, but there are a few options you can consider, including work with our curatorial library, greenhouse, Nordic Patrol team, or curriculum-based education program. Read more about these options here.
Lots of summer volunteer opportunities are already posted on our website. Check out our recruitment notices for a Curation Assistant; CPR and First Aid Trainier; Education Program Volunteer; Greenhouse Assistant; Library Assistant; and Meadow Rover. Note that all of our Campground Host positions are alreay filled, but applications are being accepted for 2010. Two of the most exciting opportunities are in our volunteer program itself: consider signing up through the Student Conservation Association for a six-month Volunteer Coordinator internship, or consider becoming our Longmire Campground Manager for all or part of a five-month season.
In addition to the volunteer positions listed above, special opportunities are available through the Student Conservation Association and Geologic Society of America. Most of these positions last 12 weeks during the summer months, but a few, like the Volunteer Coordinator position mentioned above, are much longer. Apply now to be a Backcountry Intern; Climate Change Intern; Geoscientist; Restoration Intern; Visitor Services Intern at Ohanapecosh or Paradise; or a member of our Conservation Leadership Corps.
Other News and Opportunies
If you haven't been keeping up with our volunteer blog, there's a lot of other news you've been missing out on as well. Just in the last four months, we've seen the departure of Jill Baum after the successful conclusion of the Student Conservation Association's Mount Rainier Recovery Corps. Jill left for a new job in the Boise office of SCA after leading a highly successful National Public Lands Day event attended by more than a hundred volunteers. Soon after, East District Interpreter Sandi Kinzer received a promotion to the position of Chief of Interpretation at Niobrara National River; Lead Climbing Ranger Mike Gauthier left for an internship in Washington, D.C.; and Superintendent Dave Uberuaga was tapped for a temporary position as acting Superintendent of Yosemite. (He assured me he has every intention of returning!) We dedicated our new visitor center in October, and demolished the old one in November--even as our annual "100-year floods" returned and caused minor damage throughout the park. (We should be safe this November: we've already had our flood for 2009, right?)
For even more photos of volunteer in action, check out our Picasa web page, newly updated with photos from 2008. Meanwhile, here's a few other ways to participate: Join one of our community partners in their efforts to support public lands throughout the state through volunteerism, community action, and fundraising. Start close to home by committing your own household to reducing your carbon footprint. And, join our volunteer discussion group, for even more news and discussion about the inner workings of Mount Rainier National Park. Thanks for your continued support!