This is the last notice about the Paradise Reveg on Saturday, Oct 3rd, and I wanted to make sure everyone had the information they needed to join us.
When: 9:00 AM on Saturday, October 3rd
Where: Lower Paradise Parking Lot, where the old visitor center was.
Bring: Gloves, warm clothes, food and water, some people also bring knee pads. Gardening tools are provided, but if you wish to bring your own, feel free.
You'll be joining employees from REI and the Reveg Crew, helping put a dent in the 130,000 plants that still must go in the ground before winter closes in. It'll be a lot of work, but we have the right volunteers for the job.
Even rain and snow won't stop this party. Will Arnesen, the reveg coordinator, has managed to obtain a large canopy to put over the work site. Now you can plant and stay dry at the same time. Very plush, but I'm still hoping for sunny, 76 degree weather.
Whatever the weather, I hope are able to make it to Paradise. This Saturday may be your last chance to help restore Paradise before the snow comes. So come up and join us on October 3rd and celebrate a great year at Mount Rainier.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This is the last notice about the Paradise Reveg on Saturday, Oct 3rd, and I wanted to make sure everyone had the information they needed to join us.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
National Public Lands Day 2009 was a huge success! We had around 140 volunteers working at Longmire and Paradise (final numbers are still being tallied), and I haven't heard from Glacier Basin yet, where at least another 30 volunteers had pre-registered. I'll write more with the details tomorrow, but in the meantime, here's a selection of photos from the event. THANK YOU to everyone who participated!!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Mount Rainier National Park isn't the only local agency looking for volunteers on National Public Lands Day, this Saturday, September 26. Here's a summary in The News Tribune, including projects on local Forest Service and State DNR lands. If you can't make it to The Mountain, maybe you can help elsewhere!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
As the season slows down and projects begin to end, pictures and reports start to trickle into the office, reminding us just how many volunteers there are in the park and how varied their work is.
Kevin and I recently received a year’s end report on the Citizen Science program, along with a bevy of pictures documenting the work over the past three months of Caitlin Kenny and fourteen volunteers in the program.
The Citizen Science program at Mount Rainier was a resounding success over the past three months. The Citizen Science program recruits and trains volunteers to help conduct scientific experiments and projects throughout the park. Led by Caitlin Kenny, a fellow intern through the Student Conservation Association, more than a dozen volunteers collected data on amphibian populations throughout the park. Working this summer and fall, from July into September, volunteers spent varying amount of time with the program, some working 8 hours, others more than 50 hours! With their help, Caitlin surveyed fifty sites at all corners of the park.
It’s good to hear about the success of the program, Citizen Science is one of my favorite volunteer opportunities here at the park. Where else can a grown adult go hunting around in lakes for frogs and salamanders like a little kid. But it’s not all fun and games. The work our Citizen Science volunteers do is extremely important and useful. They gather data from sites that the park doesn’t have the resources or people to survey, and all of this data helps us to understand the impact humans are having on the habitat of these animals. Using this data, we will make better, more informed decisions in the future.
Caitlin just finished up her internship and now she is off to bigger and better (hard to get better than Mt. Rainier) things. I want to recognize Caitlin Kenny for all the hard work she put into the program, and the incredible job she did coordinating volunteers. Not an easy task when you attention is also focused on collecting data and writing reports for our Natural Resource division. Caitlin rightly made volunteers her top priority in the program, but not just the regulars. She was always ready to work with the sudden school group, no matter how large or how unexpected. Her work with younger groups such as the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium was particularly appreciated.
And finally, I want to recognize and thank all the volunteers who participated in the Citizen Science program. Dave Purdon, Carol and Jim Miltimore (who are involved in everything park-volunteer related), Melanie Wisdom and everyone was a huge help. It’s because of you that programs like this are so successful. Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it.
Monday, September 21, 2009
On National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 26, 2009, more than a hundred volunteers will assemble at Mount Rainier National Park to plant native plants, maintain trails, and restore a historic campground. The work day will cap a highly successful season in which more than a thousand volunteers contributed to the protection of the park’s natural and cultural treasures and helped serve its visitors.
National Public Lands Day is an annual celebration of public involvement in the stewardship of America’s national, state, and local parks and forests. More than 120,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the country. In recognition of this, entrance fees have been waived at all national parks. Volunteers will receive an additional coupon for free admission on a day of their choice.
September 26 has also been designated a Day of Service and Celebration by the National Park Service, in anticipation of the airing of a new documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns that will be released on PBS the following day, titled The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Volunteers will be invited to attend a preview showing of 45 minutes from the series following their day of service.
National Public Lands Day volunteers will gather at the Longmire Museum at 9:00 a.m. Teams under the direction of crew leaders from the National Park Service and Student Conservation Association will help revegetate the site of the old Jackson Visitor Center, which was torn down and replaced by a new building last fall. Volunteers throughout late September and early October will plant more than 130,000 native plants at the site. Other teams on National Public Lands Day will work on basic trail maintenance and restoration of the historic Longmire Campground for use by future volunteers. Meanwhile, in the opposite corner of the park, the Washington Trails Association will continue a massive effort to rebuild the Glacier Basin Trail, which was obliterated by flooding three years ago. Projects will be available for all ages and levels of physical ability.
A coalition of nonprofit organizations and corporations has supported volunteer efforts at Mount Rainier throughout the summer and will help with National Public Lands Day. The Student Conservation Association plays a major role, with interns serving as volunteer coordinators and on trail teams throughout the park. The National Parks Conservation Association has led efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of issues facing northwest parks, including climate change and increased dangers from flooding. The Washington Trails Association and its members have worked hard to repair and maintain trails throughout the state. Washington’s National Park Fund has supported flood recovery and volunteer efforts through fundraising. Corporations including Boeing, REI, and Starbucks have contributed with both financial and on-the-ground volunteer support. Hundreds of individuals and dozens of groups have invested their time and sweat, in partnership with park employees, to build and patrol trails, assist and educate visitors, conduct citizen science research, plant native plants, remove invasive species, maintain backcountry campsites, and catalogue historic records. Last year, 1837 volunteers contributed 70,130 hours of service at Mount Rainier, an effort valued at $1.4 million.
Individuals may RSVP to help with National Public Lands Day, as well as many other projects extending into October. Up-to-date information, a calendar of activities, and pictures of volunteers in action may be found on Mount Rainier National Park’s website at www.nps.gov/mora, or on its volunteer program blog at rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I’ve just posted a 4-minute video from our summer outreach program on YouTube and Yahoo Video. The video is culled from hours of footage captured by outreach participants themselves, using “Flip” video cameras purchased by our education program. I’m pleased with the results, and look forward to sharing this video with the generous donors who sponsored the program through the National Park Foundation, Washington’s National Park Fund, and REI.
This is a program we hope to continue and expand next summer. We are seeking grants now, so if anyone knows of any funding sources that would apply, please let us know! This is a program that has tremendous potential to connect families with Mount Rainier National Park who would otherwise never have the opportunity to do so.
Enjoy the video. Here’s the official promo text:
In the summer of 2009, 21 families from Seattle pioneered a new program at Mount Rainier National Park called C.A.M.P.: Camping Adventure with My Parents. The program was designed for families who had no experience with the National Parks, or who had never been camping before. Over the course of three days, they learned how to set up tents, how to build a campfire, and how to cook dinner in the woods. They went on hikes, attended ranger programs, learned about volcanoes and glaciers, played in the river, and helped with volunteer projects. They made new friends, and had many new experiences. When they arrived at the park, each family was given a camera with which to record their experiences. This is their story, through their own eyes, and in their own words.
Update: For anyone who's interested, here's a link where you can download the full 4-minute video at its original full resolution (640x480):
For our CAMP participants, I've also uploaded the full 28-minute "highlights reel" I showed at our CAMP reunion event in Seattle on September 20. Downloading this one's more complicated, for a variety of reasons related to the limitations of our government website. I'll spare you the details, but here's what you need to do:
- Download all three of the following files. You can do so most easily (on Windows-based computers) by right-clicking on the link and choosing "save as."
File 1: www.nps.gov/mora/supportyourpark/upload/CAMPsplit.zip
File 2: www.nps.gov/mora/supportyourpark/upload/CAMPsplit.z01.zip
File 3: www.nps.gov/mora/supportyourpark/upload/CAMPsplit.z02.zip
- Rename the second and third file by removing the ".zip" extension. To do this (at least on a windows-based computer), right-click on the file and select "rename," then position the cursor at the end of the file name and hit the backspace key four times. Leave the .zip extension on the first file. You should end up with three files, named:
- Double-click on the file named "CAMPsplit.zip" and follow the instructions to "unzip" it to a location of your choosing (e.g. your computer desktop).
- If your computer does not have Winzip or a comparable file compacting program, you can download a free version online at http://www.winzip.com/.
Another update: Both videos are now available on Joe's Shutterfly site, rainiercamp.shutterfly.com! You can watch both the 4-minute and 28-minute videos there, but you won't be able to download them from this site.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
KCTS 9 shares stories from the National Parks in Washington State. From the magnificent peaks and glaciers of the North Cascades, to the dense rainforests of the Olympics, to the awe-inspiring and iconic Mount Rainier, we take you deep into our National Parks, bringing you stories of the land, and the people who have dedicated their lives to preserving these "sublime wonderlands" that belong to all of us.
The films will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Friday September 18 and 25.
These features add a local angle to the "Big Event" coming up a week from Sunday (8:00 September 27), the new documentary by Ken Burns entitled The National Parks: America's Best Idea. This 12-hour, six-episode series will focus on the people who made the National Parks what they are today:
Filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature's most spectacular locales — from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska — The National Parks: America's Best Idea is nonetheless a story of people: people from every conceivable background — rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. It is a story full of struggle and conflict, high ideals and crass opportunism, stirring adventure and enduring inspiration - set against the most breathtaking backdrops imaginable.
For a special 45-minute preview of the Ken Burns film, plus a showing of the KCTS specials, join us for National Public Lands Day on Saturday September 26. Meet at Longmire at 9:00am with water, lunch, and work clothes, and be prepared to work on trail maintenance, native plant revegetation, and historic campground restoration for the day. Gather at the historic Community Building afterward for pizza and movies. Then watch the Ken Burns series with pride, knowing that you--you!--are one of the special people Burns is talking about when he tells stories of those who have worked to protect some of the most extraordinary places in the world!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
National Public Lands Day will be fast upon us--Saturday, September 26 from 9am to 4pm! As reported earlier, we have a wide variety of projects ready for volunteer hands to help with, including native plant revegetation, trail maintenance, and campground restoration.
After the event, we will be gathering, beginning at 3:30pm, at the Longmire Community Building for pizza and a preview showing of the new Ken Burns documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," which airs on PBS beginning the following night.
In order to help us know how many crew leaders to arrange and how much pizza to buy, we would appreciate it greatly if you could please RSVP at the following website:
You are welcome to register once for your entire group or family.
Thanks, and we'll look forward to seeing you here!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This year we commemorate the first September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. The tragic events of September 11, 2001 inspired Americans to come together in a remarkable spirit of unity and compassion. It was a stark reminder that our fate as individuals is inherently tied to the fate of our nation. Eight years later, September 11 continues to evoke strong emotion and is an homage to sacrifice and a call to action.
In April, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which, for the first time, officially recognizes September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year, on September 11, the President, the Corporation for National and Community Service, MyGoodDeed and the 9/11 families will ask all Americans to remember that Tuesday eight years ago and recommit to service in their communities throughout the year. We encourage you to continue to promote service by commemorating this milestone through the United We Serve initiative.
Hello Colleagues,It's always gratifying to see a "graduate" of volunteer service with the National Park Service get to put on the green-and-gray! In fact, many, many of us who have careers with NPS began as volunteers, often with SCA. I, myself, first worked as a volunteer at the South Rim Visitor Center at Grand Canyon National Park. I crossed paths with Jaya several times during the two summers she worked here, and am not surprised that North Cascades picked her up as an employee the first chance they got. Congratulations, Jaya!
I thought you would all enjoy seeing this photo shot by Kristin Mitchell of four year SCA alumnus Jaya Ghosh (Seattle Conservation leadership Corps, 2005-2008), in uniform this summer as an NPS interpretive ranger at North Cascades National Park.
Jaya participated in four years of our academic year program and spent her summers at Mount Rainier (twice, one as an apprentice crew leader), Hopewell Furnace NHS and the Glennallen Resource District (BLM) near the northern slope in Alaska. Along he way she also applied and received a City of Seattle grant for trail repair in one of Seattle’s city parks, presented on her Mount Rainier Recovery Initiative experience with two of her peers at Earth Vision and the Northwest Wilderness Conference and was a keynote speaker at Seattle’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebration and our kick off Earth Day event, sharing the dais with Mayor Nickels and Congressman Inslee.
Last week, Barbara Samora presented Alyssa Herr with the 2009 NCR Employee of the Year Award.
Alyssa was assigned the task of addressing wildlife food conditioning and habituation issues, in addition to her normal duties working on the spotted owl field monitoring crew. She was the field lead for the informational campaign to reduce feeding of wildlife throughout the park. She organized a huge volunteer effort to address wildlife feeding and habituation by recruiting volunteers and providing a hands on training session before sending them out into the field to patrol problem areas and educate visitors. Alyssa took the initiative to contact the local newspaper whose published article on the event aided in recruiting volunteers. She also took the initiative to develop a logo and had an unsolicited but interested donor provide t-shirts with the wildlife logo to provide to volunteers participating in the event.
Alyssa conducted patrols of campgrounds, employee quarters and outdoor concession facilities to address problems with improper food storage and educate employees and visitors on wildlife issues.
Alyssa also assisted the Ranger division staff in developing another wildlife campaign that focused on wildlife roadkill events as well as wildlife feeding. She worked closely with park Rangers and Interpreters to address these issues.
In addition, Alyssa assisted the Wildlife Ecologist by serving as field lead for spotted owl and other field wildlife projects in the absence of the lead bio tech.
Alyssa is enthusiastic, energetic and has taken incredible initiative in developing a program that educates both visitors and employees on the effects of wildlife food conditioning and habituation. She is well respected by her co-workers in all divisions. She is most deserving of the 2009 Natural and Cultural Resources Division annual award.
Please join with me in congratulating Alyssa for a job well.
Roger J. Andrascik
Acting Deputy Superintendent
Mount Rainier National Park
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Phil and Lisa Hertzog spent several days this summer volunteering at Mount Rainier National Park. Phil teaches 10th Grade Biology at Stadium High School, while Lisa teaches 8th Grade Math at the new First Creek Middle School.
The Hertzogs served as Meadow Rovers on the trails surrounding Paradise on the west side of the Park. Their duties consisted of walking the trails and educating Park visitors on how to protect the fragile subalpine meadows. One footstep can destroy over 20 plants and 10 people walking across the meadows to the same snow patch can create a social path that can result in erosion and loss of native vegetation. With over 1.5 million visitors a year to Mount Rainier National Park, the Meadow Rover Program helps inform visitors to stay on the trails and to protect a significant national resource.
One of the biggest challenges Phil faced as a Meadow Rover was dealing with a group of fifty Korean Middle Schoolers. The students had never seen snow before and raced across the fragile meadows to have a snow ball fight. “As the students were trampling avalanche lilies, lupine, and pink mountain heather, I had to use hand gestures to communicate with the non-English speaking students about the damage being done to the meadows,” he said. Phil diplomatically got the students back on the trail and hiked them up another 300 yards where the students accessed a large snow field to continue their snowball fight without damaging the vegetation. Later the students spotted Phil at the Jackson Visitor Center and waved him over to join in a group photograph.
The Hertzogs also helped out with “The Shadows of the Past” Living History Program held at Longmire in the Park on the evening of August 15. Lisa carried a lantern to light the way for a group of 50 Park visitors on the “Trail of the Shadows” that runs 1 mile around Longmire Meadow. As an interpretive ranger made introductory remarks, volunteers dressed as historical characters, such as John Muir, would appear out of the darkness along the trail and describe their role in the history of Mount Rainier National Park. Lisa, Phil and other lantern bearers would light up the characters' faces as they acted out their parts and made for a magically evening in the shadow of Mount Rainier.
The Hertzogs plan to incorporate their volunteer experiences at Mount Rainier into their biology and math classroom lessons. Both Phil and Lisa encourage other Tacoma School District Teachers to consider volunteer opportunities at the Park.
Volunteer Opportunities at Mt. Rainier National ParkSeveral volunteer opportunities are available for both students and teachers at Mount Rainier National Park this fall and next summer. Volunteering at the Park can help you and your students improve science skills and help out our community. As a volunteer, you also have opportunities to participate in Park Service training sessions that may benefit your classroom curriculum.
This fall, the Park Service needs volunteers to help plant up to 140,000 plants at the site of the old Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise on the west side of the Park. The Park Service opened a new Visitor Center last fall and completed work this summer to allow revegetation of the old center site to start this month.
Will Arnesen, Mount Rainier National Park Restoration Ecologist, will lead the planting efforts and has set up the following the following weekends for groups who would like to help out: Sept. 19/20, Sept. 26/27, and Oct. 3/4.
Groups are encouraged to sign up for any of the above dates by contacting Will via e-mail at Will_Arnesen@nps.gov or calling (360) 569-2211 ext. 3374. Students under the age of 18 will need to have parents sign a National Park Service permission form. Individuals that would like to help out are welcome to drop by the old Visitor Center Site located in the lower Paradise Parking lot on Saturday September 26 and Saturday October 3. Individuals may be able to drop in on the other 4 dates listed above if we have other groups sign up for those days. Please contact Will to find out if planting will occur on those days if you have a strong interest. All volunteers should bring rain gear, work gloves and be ready to work in muddy conditions since our native plants need lots of water to get them growing upon planting.
The Park also has a number of volunteer opportunities next summer. These opportunities include patrolling the Paradise and Sunrise trails to educate visitors on how to protect the fragile sub alpine meadows, assisting with park research efforts, helping with trail maintenance, and participating in interpretive history programs. You can find out more information about these activities by going to the Park’s Volunteer Website at rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com or contacting Kevin Bacher, Mount Rainier National Park Volunteer and Outreach Program Manager, at Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov or (360) 569-2211 ext. 3385.
Thank you to Phil Hertzog of Stadium High School, who wrote this article and can also talk to you about his volunteer experience at Mount Rainier. He can be reached via District phone at 253 571-3176 x-3176.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
A dozen members of the Federal Way United Methodist Church are here volunteering in the rain this weekend, camping in the Longmire Campground and continuing the work of cleaning up campsites for use by volunteers. "It looks as good as Ohanapecosh now!" enthused Jean Millan, the Longmire Campground host. The volunteers themselves were having a good time, too, raking up fallen branches and scattering them in the forest. "We should be thanking you," said one of the group leaders when I expressed my appreciation. "This is a great opportunity to camp out and give back."
Youth and adults from the church volunteered this morning and will do so again tomorrow, with time out for hiking at Longmire and Paradise. Above are some photos of their work. Click here for the full album.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Volunteers are still needed to staff Mount Rainier's booth at the Puyallup Fair. As you will recall from our previous post, volunteers will help cover three 3 1/2 hour shifts each day of the Fair: 10:00am-1:30pm; 1:30pm-5:00pm; and 5:00pm-8:30pm. The evening shifts are usually harder to fill.
Participants receive free parking and admission to the Fair. If you are interested in helping, please contact Jim Ross as soon as possible at Jim_Ross@nps.gov.
Look for the "OPEN" slots on the calendar to see what's still available: [update: as of 9/5, all spaces are full! If you're still interested in participating, however, contact Jim to be put on the alternates list.)
Jim can cover some (but not all) of the evening shifts on the 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, so the other remaining dates are higher priority. Thanks for your help!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This year we'll be working on a variety of projects including trail maintenance and construction, native planting, and campground restoration. All ages and abilities are welcome, though some projects will require more physical ability than others. Bring gloves, boots, sunscreen, water, and a lunch, and gather in front of the Transportation Exhibit next to the National Park Inn at 9am on Saturday September 26. We'll work till mid-afternoon and then gather at the park's Community Building for a preview showing of 45 minutes of footage from the upcoming Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks. Details on the timing will be forthcoming.
In addition to projects out of Longmire, the Washington Trails Association will be leading a trail construction project on the Glacier Basin Trail in the northeast corner of the park, out of White River Campground. Visit their website for more information or to sign up for this specific event.
Mount Rainier, of course, will not be the only national park sponsoring volunteer projects on National Public Lands Day. If you don't live near Mount Rainier, visit the "America's Best Idea" page on the National Park Service website for information about projects near you. They even feature a photo of Student Conservation Association volunteers working at Mount Rainier last year!
Mount Rainier's National Public Lands Day project is its biggest volunteer event of the year, and is presented in cooperation with the Student Conservation Association, Washington Trails Association, National Parks Conservation Association, and Washington's National Park Fund. Come join our team to help protect the natural and cultural treasures of Mount Rainier National Park!
For more information about visiting either individually or as a group, contact Kevin Bacher at 360-569-2211 ext. 3385, or write to Kevin_Bacher@nps.gov. See you here!
As you know from previous blog entries, our revegetation program has more than 130,000 plants to put into the ground at Paradise before the snow flies, or as many as we can manage with volunteer help. We are still looking for volunteer groups who can help out; and individual volunteers are welcome to drop in and volunteer on any date when groups are scheduled.
Here are the current dates on the calendar:
- Saturday September 19 and Sunday September 20 - [UPDATED] Join Nisqually Middle School! Individual drop-in volunteers are welcome both Saturday and Sunday.
- Saturday September 26 - National Public Lands Day. The Mount Rainier National Park Associates will be working at Paradise; all other volunteers are welcome to join them! More details about NPLD will be coming out shortly.
- Sunday September 27 - No groups have signed up yet. We will plant on this date only if a group signs up.
- Saturday October 3 - REI employees will be volunteering, so individual drop-in volunteers are also welcome.
- Sunday October 4 - No groups have signed up yet. We will plant on this date only if a group signs up.
If you'd like to sign up as a group, please contact Will Arnesen at 360-569-2211 ext. 3374, or Will_Arnesen@nps.gov. Will can also answer any questions you may have. If you'd like to volunteer as an individual, you can drop in at the site of the old Jackson Visitor Center at Paradise on any of the dates when groups are working, currently September 26 and/or October 3. If you need overnight camping any of these dates, contact Nick Abel at Nicholas_Abel@partner.nps.gov.