Education Intern Blog - Spring 2010
Read below about the experiences of Spring 2010 Education Intern Kalie Gerenser
June 5, 2010 Week 9
I am writing this last entry as I sit at home, still in awe over how fast my internship has come and gone. The time I spent in Acadia National Park was absolutely wonderful, and I wish more than anything that I could go back. It really is a phenomenal place that could only be appreciated by quietly observing everything within its boundaries. And, I am glad to say that, for the most part, I was able to do that.
I would like to thank all the rangers I worked with for making this internship such an enjoyable one. I benefited so much from working with them. Because of this internship, I have walked away with such a great knowledge of Acadia, as well as the National Park Service as a whole. Hopefully sometime in the near future I will be able to work in a National Park again, and if I'm lucky enough, maybe I will get to work in Acadia again! So I guess it's time to say goodbye for now, but I will surely be back soon to visit!
Thanks again, Acadia!
On Monday, we all had a Junior Ranger Day at Sand Beach in the hot summer-like sun. It was almost too hot for me, as I prefer the cooler, but sunny, weather. Despite the heat, the busload of third and fourth graders arrived ready to work! They raked leaves, picked up sticks, and taught others about the park while hiking the loop around Sand Beach. After my Junior Ranger Day, I hiked Pemetic Mountain with my parents who were still visiting. It was a strenuous hike, especially in the hot and humid weather, but the views were phenomenal and we didn't see another soul on the entire trail. On Tuesday I had a Carroll Homestead program. It was my first, and last, time doing it on my own. It was good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped because the weather was awful. Although it was sunny, the temperature was well above 80 degrees and it was very humid. All the kids wanted to sit in the shade! They all wrote thank you letters after their program, so I am assuming they all had a great time.
On Wednesday, we all did a program called What's in a Pond?, which was a special program the school had requested. We did three stations around the Eagle Lake Carriage Roads to teach the kindergarten, first, and second graders about pond life. We did a web of life activity, and when we asked the kindergarteners if they knew what very important thing gives the plants their energy, one girl said, "it must be candy, because that's what gives me energy!" I must say that it was entertaining to teach that age group for a change. On Thursday, we had three programs scheduled and only three rangers available, so I did Where in the World is Tuzigoot? on my own. However, I did have help from an interpretation ranger who mainly leads public programs. Later that day, I hiked Kebo Mountain, which brought my mountain count to 22. Lastly, on Friday we had another Junior Ranger Day at the Nature Center. The kids raked the trails, searched for salamanders, and taught each other about the different types of trees along the trail. All of them loved learning about the condo tree, which is home to a variety of critters!
Unfortunately, this was my last weekend in Acadia National Park. Despite the crowds, I did try to make the best of it. I hiked Bernard and Mansell Mountains on Saturday with my new housemate, Dave, who will be an interpretation ranger this summer. On Sunday, I hiked South Bubble again, but this time I decided to continue on to the Jordon Pond Nature Trail all the way to the Pond House and back. Later that afternoon, we went on the scenic and historic cruise to Islesford. Lastly, on Monday (Memorial Day), I hiked Cadillac Mountain via the North Ridge Trail in the morning. Cadillac completed my quest to hike all 25 hikeable mountains in Acadia, and I must say that I saved one of the best for last. Later in the day I hiked the Ocean Path and biked the carriage roads to the south end of Eagle Lake so I could hike Conner's Nubble, which had great views.
So as Memorial Day weekend comes to an end, I am extremely saddened that I only have a few more days left in the park. I cannot believe how fast these past two months have flown by, and I guess all I have left to do is enjoy my last few programs. I have a Junior Ranger Day on Tuesday, I am observing a Fire and Ice on Wednesday, and I have a Shoreline Discovery on Thursday. After that, it's back to Rochester for a few days before heading to camp in the Adirondacks!
Week 7 May 24, 2010
I spent the entire weekend in Freeport to get re-certified in WFA, but I had Monday off so I decided to hike both Norumbega and Cedar Swamp Mountains. Cedar Swamp had one of the best views I had seen from the top of a mountain, even though the trails leading to its summit are some of the lesser-known ones in the park. On Tuesday, I did three What Do Rangers Do? programs; one with Ranger Kate and two with Ranger Michael. We also had a Carroll Homestead program scheduled for Wednesday, but the weather forecast called for rain all day, so the school cancelled. They were able to reschedule for a later date, though, which is great.
On Thursday, Ranger Michael and I each had a very large group for Shoreline Discovery. It was the first time I had led the program on my own, and although I was a little nervous, I had been preparing for days and it ended up turning out good. It definitely helped that the weather was beautiful and sunny yet again. I led another Shoreline Discovery program on Friday as well. It was a smaller group and they were very well behaved. My parents were (and still are) here visiting from New York so it was nice that they were able to tag along, learn about the forests, tidepools, and mudflats, and take some good pictures.
And since my parents are here visiting, I, of course, planned a detailed itinerary filled with several great hikes in the park. On Friday I took them up the Beehive, and on Saturday we all hiked Day Mountain, North Bubble Mountain, and Penobscot Mountain. Yesterday, I took them over to the Schoodic Peninsula to hike up to Schoodic Head and explore on Little Moose Island during low tide. Later in the day we did the Beech Cliff Trail and Flying Mountain. That brings my mountain count to 20! All I have left to tackle are Bernard, Mansell, Cadillac, and Pemetic, which I will do this afternoon.
So although my weekend was great, I am excited to begin yet another full and diverse week of programs. I have a Junior Ranger Day today at Sand Beach, so it will be a nice change of scenery!
May 16, 2010 Weeks 5 and 6
Weeks 5 and 6 really flew by which is why I found myself far behind on my blog. During week 5, I had two Shoreline Discovery programs and two Carroll Homestead programs. Although I was still observing, I thought that they both went great. The weather was very nice for exploring the tidepools, and the kids had such a fun time on the trail, searching for burls, lichens, and various critters. Unfortunately, it rained on our first Carroll Homestead program, so most of it had to be taught inside the house. For the second Carroll Homestead program, though, the weather turned out very nice. The kids were well behaved and they even dressed up in clothing from the 1800s. It helps so much with the overall outcome of the program, because the kids are really able to get into the character and imagine life back then. Although Friday was sunny and warm, the weekend was not very nice, so I didn’t get much hiking done, but I sure made up for that this past week!
This past week started off with two Where in the World is Tuzigoot? programs. This time it was for 3rd grade, which proved to be very different given the large amount of reading the game requires. It still worked, though, and the kids had a lot of fun exploring their park. I also had two What Do Rangers Do? Programs, one of which was at the new school located on the Schoodic Peninsula. I had never been to Schoodic before, so Ranger Cynthia was nice enough to take me around the loop road to give me a mini tour. It was beautiful, and I loved taking pictures of the turquoise colored ocean along the rocky coast. I also had a Junior Ranger Day at the Sieur de Monts Nature Center. The kids got to search for salamanders, teach each other about different plants or animals in the park, and help with some raking on the trails. At the end of the program, they all recited the pledge and became official Junior Rangers!
I also managed to hike three more mountains after a few of my workdays this week: Champlain, St. Sauveur, and Flying. I also hiked The Triad on Friday after helping Resource Management located some sites infested with glossy buckthorn. Champlain, St. Sauveur, Flying, and The Triad all bring my count to 15! I get more and more excited as I come closer to my goal, and I can’t wait to hike more next week when my parents come to visit. I have a very busy itinerary planned so I hope the weather stays sunny and beautiful!
May 2, 2010 Week 4
Week 4 was a great week for me. I did five What Do Rangers Do? programs and one Where in the World is Tuzigoot? program. The What Do Rangers Do? programs were fun because, although they are only one hour long, the kids put on skits and pretend to be one of the six different types of rangers. Some of them really get into it and put on a good show. Since I pretty much did the same program all week, I really don’t have much more to write about, so I guess I will talk about my wonderful weekend.
Saturday was such a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 70s. It was what I would call perfect hiking weather. To start off, I hiked Gorham Mountain and made it a loop with the Ocean Path. In the afternoon, I hiked Dorr Mountain via Kurt Diedrich’s Climb. All three trails offered excellent ocean views. From Dorr Mountain I could see the cruise ship docked in the harbor. After finishing hiking, though, I quickly learned never to go into town when a cruise ship is present!
Sunday was cloudy, but very hot and humid. I decided to do a loop encompassing Bald Peak, Parkman Mountain, Gilmore Peak, and Sargent Mountain. All had similar views, but the trails were great, and I had them all to myself! So many people live in this epic setting and it seems like they barely hike. It’s a phenomenon I will never understand. But as they all sit locked up inside their homes, I will continue to savor the solitude in the great outdoors. I actually just decided that I am going to try and hike every hikable mountain in Acadia before my internship ends, so I guess I will have to return to the same spot another day to catch Penobscot, Cedar Swamp, and Norumbega. So far my count is at 11, but check back next week because that number is sure to change!
April 25, 2010 Week 3
Another beautiful spring week has come and gone much too quickly. The first two days of my week were spent familiarizing myself with two of the field-based programs, Shoreline Discovery and Carroll Homestead. During the Shoreline Discovery training, Ranger Michael, Ranger Donna, and I found several animals, ranging from the most commonly seen periwinkles and dogwinkles to the less commonly seen hermit crab and sea anemone. Ranger Michael also found a sea star surrounded by numerous sea star babies, so that was a great find! After having so much fun searching for critters, I really can't wait to go back with the school groups. During the Carroll Homestead training, I tried the crosscut saw as well as some of the old toys and games, such as Graces, buzz saws, the ball and cup, and the stilts. All were new and interesting for me. Ranger Michael said I was a natural at the stilts, but I think I may need some more practice if I want to impress the kids!
On Friday, a school group from Hawaii came to learn geology on the Great Head Trail in the morning and explore the tidepools near Otter Point in the afternoon. The weather more than held out, despite predictions of rain. Dark clouds blanketed the landscape, but not a single drop of rain fell during either of the programs. The kids were prepared for anything, and they all appeared to be very interested, especially since the landscape differs so much from the one they are used to in Hawaii. Most were amazed by the simple things in nature that most of us seem to take for granted, such as the squirrels, acorns, or conifer trees. From my perspective, it was good to see that the kids were so eager to learn about something new.
Yesterday was the highly anticipated National Junior Ranger Day! I had been helping Ranger Kate set up for the past two days, so I was eager for the festivities to begin. For most of the afternoon, I was at the water station, teaching the hopeful junior rangers about how important it is to conserve water and keep it clean because there is so little fresh water on Earth that is readily available. When I asked one group how they could conserve more water at home, one of the kids said, "put it in the freezer"! It's nice to know they're thinking even though their answers may not save the world.
Well I guess all I have to do now is look forward to another busy and exciting week. We have several What Do Rangers Do? programs this week, as well as one more Where in the World is Tuzigoot? program. I am also going to go out in the field with resource management on Tuesday to help with bird surveys! It's hard to call this work because it's so much fun. And although I like to be busy, I really am enjoying my time off. Today I hiked the Acadia Mountain Trail and biked the Carriage Roads down to Eagle Lake. It was a wonderful spring day for enjoying the outdoors, and I could not think of a better way to spend it!
April 15, 2010 Week 2
Hello everyone! It's Kalie again! Wow, I can't believe how fast this week has flown by. It seems like only yesterday I was leaving Rochester, NY and heading up to Acadia National Park. Acadia has been great so far and I am beginning to love everything about the park, from the rocky coastline, to the lush forests, to the amazing wildlife. On Tuesday, I actually saw a white deer two different times near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. At first, I didn't think much of it, but afterwards I learned that a few of the rangers have been walking miles on the carriage roads just in hopes of spotting the famous white deer! There was a visitor who came up to me afterwards asking if it was a llama. I have a feeling we are going to get many more questions like that throughout these next few weeks, especially since today marks the day that the Visitor Center is officially open to the public.
Last week I wrote about how great the weather was, and I am happy to say that it has remained beautiful. We have had sun almost every day and the daytime temperature has not gotten below 50! It's too bad we have only had classroom programs though, because it really would have been great weather for some of the field-based programs. Ranger Donna and I have actually had five Where in the World is Tuzigoot? classroom programs this week. We didn't have to travel far, though, because the first three were right here in Bar Harbor.
Where in the World is Tuzigoot? is a program designed for 5th grade students that allows them to explore a few of the 392 sites within the National Park Service. The program revolves around a game in which they have to figure out the name of their park based on some clues given to them in a letter from a pretend ranger. Then they get to explore a packet filled with artifacts and information about their park. Some of the artifacts are really neat! For example, Yellowstone National Park has a big deer antler and St. Croix Island International Historic Site has a wooden shoe! Those two definitely seem to be the kid's favorites. Besides the artifacts, the kids have a lot of fun exploring their park and reading the materials. It's fun to watch them, too. One group on Monday had Yellowstone, and they kept calling the geysers geezers, even after their teacher told them that a geezer was a 120-year old man! That was definitely a great laugh!
On Wednesday we all went to the Carroll Homestead to set up for the season. We cleaned the entire place, hauled some logs for the woodpile, and started to set up some of the props inside the house. It was really neat to see the inside, especially since I had heard so much about it, but really had no prior knowledge of the place. The Carroll Homestead programs do not start until May, but I am excited to go back next week to practice before the kids come. Since next week is spring break for the kids, we also have some free time to go and practice the Shoreline Discovery program, so that should be fun as well. I am looking forward to searching the tide pools for some really interesting critters!
Well, that's all I can write for now. I will be writing again next week!
April 8, 2010 Week 1
Hello everyone! My name is Kalie and I am the new Education Intern here in Acadia National Park for the spring. I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology this past February with a BS Degree in Environmental Science. My concentration was field biology and ecology, so over the years, I have become familiar with some plant identification, water quality testing, invasive species, and various environmental issues. Now I am excited to be able to put all this knowledge to use in Acadia National Park!
My connection with the National Park Service began many years ago. I had visited a few parks in my early years, but my real love for them emerged from a paper I wrote on Ansel Adams in high school, which later led to a trip to Yosemite National Park. Since then, I have continued to travel across the country experiencing every beautiful park along the way. This devotion to nature has even brought me as far away as the remote Alaskan wilderness. My latest adventure has landed me here in beautiful Acadia, and I am super excited to be a part of the Education Team.
I have only been here for a few days, but so far the weather has been great, which is unexpected, considering it is early April! On my first day in the park, I went to Sand Beach and saw handfuls of people sunbathing! That was definitely a surprise. Since then, I have seen so much more of Acadia. The rangers here have given me tours of both the east and west sides of Mount Desert Island, and as of now, I am training hard so I can help teach some of the school programs that start as early as next week. It looks like we have many Where in the World is Tuzigoot? and What Do Rangers Do? programs for the month of April, which should definitely be interesting for both myself and the kids! Everyone here seems great, and I know I will learn so much from the education rangers. I am really looking forward to working with the kids, and sharing with them my environmental knowledge and my love for the outdoors.
Well, that’s all for now. I will write again next week after the programs have begun.