January and February have been busy with planning meetings and budget meetings, meetings to plan budgets, and meetings to plan meetings! Ultimately, however, our summer volunteer program is beginning to take shape, and it will include several key volunteer opportunities that will have an influence on the shape of our program for years to come. Maybe one of these new positions is your dream job, or maybe you know someone who would be ideal. Spread the word! We want to find the best individuals possible. Here's a quick summary:
Longmire Campground Manager
First, let me introduce you to a position we've already hired. I'm pleased to announce that this summer's Longmire Campground Managers will be Jean and Harry Milan. Some of you had the privilege of working alongside Jean on flood restoration projects over the past two years. Jean and Harry will move into the partially-restored historic campground in May, and will coordinate its use and continued restoration by volunteers. One of their first responsibilities will be to organize a volunteer work day to clean up winter storm debris, set up platform tents, and de-winterize the new shower facilities. Welcome, Jean and Harry!
Recognizing the important role that volunteers have taken on as partners in the stewardship of our natural and cultural resources at Mount Rainier, the park's management team has decided to support hiring several volunteer coordinators this summer to help organize volunteer activities in many of the park's key programs. Discussions are still underway on the details, but tentatively , here are five full-time volunteer positions we hope to hire this summer:
- Citizen Science Coordinator: Responsible for organizing projects including amphibian and wetland surveys, and other programs drawing on public participation to gather scientific data, including possibly soundscape monitoring, wildlife surveys, and archological surveys. We're looking for an outgoing and physically-fit individual comfortable with wilderness travel who has a background in field research. This position has been advertised both as a volunteer position and as an SCA internship.
- Botany Volunteer Coordinator: Responsible for organizing and leading projects including greenhouse management, seed collection, revegetation, and exotic plant control.
- Maintenance Volunteer Coordinator: Responsible for projects in backcountry maintenance, historic restoration, and spring opening.
- Trails Volunteer Coordinator: Responsible for organizing volunteers in trail maintenance and construction, including spring trail marking.
- Volunteer Program Assistant: Responsible for working directly with me to manage the overall volunteer program, including volunteer recruitment, coordination of projects, strategic planning, tracking of paperwork, data entry, and leadership of any project that doesn't fit into one of the four categories listed above, including National Trails Day, National Public Lands Day, interpretation and Meadow Roving, and volunteer training. This position is also advertised both as a volunteer position and as an SCA internship.
All of these positions except the last one would last for a period of 3-4 months beginning in June or late May. The Volunteer Program Assistant would begin in May or late April and continue through mid October. All would include free park housing and reimbursement of basic living expenses at the rate of $80 per week. All are advertised for a single summer's commitment, but have potential to be recurring positions from year to year.
We're looking for highly qualified people in each of these positions, people with proven experience and expertise in the areas they would be providing leadership. If you apply for any of these positions, please detail your experience on your application, or feel free to supplement your application with a resume e-mailed directly to me at Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov.
Some of the work that volunteers do at Mount Rainier, such as the five positions described above, require full-time commitments over many months. Other projects may only require the commitment of a single day. These opportunities will be listed in a calendar at the top of our volunteer blog as we get closer to the summer season, and include projects like trail maintenance, seed collection, revegetation, exotic plant control, snow shoveling, campground opening and restoration, wilderness cleanup, backcountry maintenance, and "sherpa" projects (carrying supplies into wilderness locations for trail or backcountry maintenance projects).
Other projects require specialized training and an ongoing commitment by teams of volunteers who participate on their own schedule, or on a schedule worked out with their team supervisor. Existing teams include our popular Meadow Rover, Curatorial, and Greenhouse programs, all of which have ongoing recruitment notices posted on our website. We're pleased to announce three new team opportunities:
- Citizen Science Team: The members of this team will work with the Citizen Science Coordinator described above to conduct research and field surveys in areas throughout the park. Tasks may include monitoring amphibian species, soundscapes, wetland areas, or archeological resources.
- Historic Landscape Restoration Team: These team members will work with our maintenance and cultural resources staff to restore the beautiful but crumbling WPA-era rock walls and other structures in the park's historic landmark district.
- Historic (Costumed) Interpretation: Historic interpreters aren't just old naturalists! Well, some of us are, but what we're looking for are people interested in putting on historical costumes and interacting with park visitors, educating them about the park's history. These individuals may also participate in the annual "Shadows of the Past" living history presentations.
If you're interested in any of these teams, please submit an application online and we'll add you to our mailing list for that team. When team leaders have been hired for the summer, they will contact you with further information about spring training and summer work schedules.
Meadow Rover Mentors
Last but not least, a volunteer leadership opportunity that isn't posted on our public website, because it's only available to existing, experienced members of our Meadow Rover team. One of the best ways for new Meadow Rovers to become proficient in the program is to learn the ropes from an experienced rover. Many of you have already provided informal leadership in this area. We'd like to formalize this arrangement by identifying specific individuals who will commit to being at Paradise on specific dates to work with new volunteers. We'd like to have enough mentors to be able to schedule a weekly "Meadow Rover Staff Meeting" at 10:00 on Saturdays, where rovers new and old would gather with the Paradise lead interpreter and a seasoned Meadow Rover Mentor to share updates on conditions and areas of concern, and to provide hands-on training and guidance for new volunteers. Mentors would be asked to commit to attending on specific Saturdays throughout the summer.
If you're interested in serving as a Meadow Rover Mentor, please contact me directly at Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov or 360-569-2211 ext. 3385.
In Other News...
Be sure to review the recent postings on our volunteer blog for news about other topics related to volunteers, including opportunities to volunteer as weather monitors for the National Weather Service, volunteer vacations offered through the Washington Trails Association, a major award given to our climbing program, a visit to Seattle by John Muir, discussion about deducting volunteer travel expenses on your federal taxes, and several recent local and national publications that mention Mount Rainier's volunteer program. In addition, thank you to those volunteers who responded to our call for people to edit the Pocket Guide to Mount Rainier being published by the Globe Pequot Press!
Thanks for your support,
Volunteer Program Manager