Volunteer Picnics Coming Up August 15 and 16
Join us on Friday, August 15 at the Longmire Community Building or Saturday, August 16 at the Sunrise Picnic Area for our annual Volunteer Picnics! Both picnics begin at 4:30pm and are potluck, so bring something to share. The volunteer program will provide drinks, paper plates, glasses, and plasticware at Longmire, and will bring hamburger patties and veggie burgers at Sunrise. As in previous years, we'll be grilling at Sunrise, so if you have a portable grill to share, please let us know. Both gatherings will be an informal celebration of volunteer activities and a great opportunity to meet fellow volunteers, and are open to all park employees, as well as those interested in learning more about the volunteer program.
To give us a sense for how many people to expect, please RSVP for the Longmire Picnic to Kevin Bacher at Kevin_Bacher (at) nps.gov, and for the Sunrise Picnic to Lynn Kittridge at Lynn_Kittridge (at) partner.nps.gov.
Who Was That Masked Postcard Donor?
Mount Rainier National Park Receives 2014 America’s Best Idea Grant from the National Park Foundation to Support Student Conservation Association Youth Crews
Mount Rainier National Park is one of 39 national parks selected to receive a 2014 America’s Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. Inspired by Ken Burns’ critically acclaimed documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” this program builds partnerships between national parks and community, state, and other public organizations, and engages diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks and inspires participants to become stewards of our National Park System.
“The America’s Best Idea program connects people – particularly youth – to America’s national parks, often for the first time,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Through meaningful and memorable in-park experiences that highlight the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in our National Park System, we are able to inspire the next generation of park-goers.”
“We want everyone to find themselves in a national park,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. “These National Park Foundation grants will help people acquire a better understanding of their national parks and, hopefully, of themselves, through place-based learning and recreational activities. Native Americans who will visit traditional homelands, budding scientists who will study environmental impacts, and students from Gallaudet University who will examine aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act are among the many groups which will benefit from the grants.”
At Mount Rainier, National Park Foundation funding will support three teams of youth recruited by the Student Conservation Association (SCA) from communities in Seattle, and from Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) through SCA’s “Base to Base Camp” program. Eight high school students and two crew leaders in each Community Crew will spend fifteen days working on trail maintenance projects throughout the national park, repairing trail tread and building bridges at sites like Klapatche Park and the Wonderland Trail. This is SCA’s 20th year fielding Community Crews at Mount Rainier, and the third for its Base to Base Camp program. Eleven students from JBLM joined thirteen from Seattle on last year’s crews. This year’s crews will be in the park from July 6th through August 31st.
“We are pleased to have Community Crews back at Mount Rainier this year,” said Superintendent Randy King. “These young people play an important part in the protection and care of our national parks, and they also represent the next generation of park stewards.” Many graduates of past Community Crews have gone on to serve as seasonal or career rangers with the National Park Service or other agencies.
Tom and Gracie Pauly of the Starryhill planetarium (starryhill.org): Yes, they have their own planetarium and observatory! These retired teachers are top notch at helping people connect to the wonder of the night sky (Thursdays only).
Don West-Wilke: Our returning Tacoma Astronomical Society Astronomer of the Year. He annually records more visitor contacts than anyone in the park. One of the most knowledgeable and colorful astronomers in Washington. Sometimes called "the Singing Astronomer" (Saturdays only).
Pat Beatie: This Bellevue college astronomy teacher will be helping people connect to the night sky five nights a week (Thursdays through Mondays). He often also sets up a solar viewing scope during the day next to the JVC.
September 6: Planting Day
September 27: National Public Lands Day
Laura Davis is looking for volunteers to help conduct surveys to document the presence or absence of amphibian species at various lakes, ponds and wetlands with an emphasis on historical Western Toad sites. The surveys will involved hiking to predetermined sites and will be concerned with finding, identifying and measuring amphibians at all stages of development. You do not need any previous experience and surveying equipment will be provided. You may volunteer once or multiple times throughout the season. If you need to stay overnight, free camping is available at Cougar Rock, White River, Ohanapecosh and Longmire campgrounds. Longmire since is the closest to the meeting point. Both day trip and overnight backpacking surveys will be done throughout the park.
If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact Laura Davis via laura_davis(at)partner.nps.gov
What's Been Going On
BSA, GSA, MRNPA, REI, SCA, WNPF, WTA, and Starbucks (Oh My!)
To say that July and August have been busy with volunteer groups would be a bit of an understatement! Here's a quick and incomplete sampling of those who've been working with us this month. Our eternal gratitude goes to all of our volunteers who help keep their national park running in excellent condition!