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Education Intern Cindy Hannon

Intern in period dress helping two kids saw wood
Cindy working with children during the Carroll Homestead program
NPS/Cynthia Ocel

June 5, 2009

Why did you become an education intern at Acadia? Was the intern experience what you were expecting? Were there any surprises?
I was a history major in college and always had an interest in the outdoors. Upon graduating from college, many moons ago, I was interested in learning about the National Park Service (NPS) but at that time I wasn’t really sure where to start or how to get information and soon life took me in a different direction. I went on to graduate school and a career in public health but always had this thought in the back of my head saying "what about the NPS?" More time had passed and on a vacation out in Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the "voice" became stronger.

I had been living in Boston but was offered a job in Los Angeles, California, and decided to hit the open road, but after a few years realized that New England was my home and I wanted to be back home. Not knowing what I wanted to do next, career-wise, I figured this is as good a time as any to learn about the NPS.

I applied to Acadia because I had been here as a kid, and I liked Bar Harbor. I figured it was a good place to start because I was already familiar with what Acadia had to offer.

My internship has been a great experience. You really get a behind the scenes look at how a national park operates. I especially liked being here in the spring because you get to see what goes into getting Acadia ready for the massive amounts of visitors that will be coming, and you get to see Bar Harbor awaken from a long, cold winter.

What did you learn from your internship at Acadia? What did you enjoy the most?
The thing I learned most from this internship is about the tremendous possibilities working at a national park. Teaching What Do Rangers Do? to third graders on the surface can seem basic, but it really is a wonderful program to set the foundation and be able to see all the people it takes to run Acadia, or any park for that matter. This was the sort of information I was looking for many years ago.

Exploring Acadia through the eyes of kids is just the best way to see the park. Helping instill stewardship was probably the most fun I had. Seeing kids appreciate what they have "in their own backyard" and being able to use Acadia as a classroom was really cool. The satisfaction you feel from preparing for a program, learning the material, and teaching the kids is very rewarding.

What recommendations do you have for future interns?
My advice for future interns is to meet as many people as you can, and when working on projects together "pick their brains." Everyone has such amazing stories about how they got to Acadia and other places they worked. You can learn about other opportunities and get a feel for what else might be out there.

Has this experience influenced your future path?
I have been doing public health research administration for 10 years. In NPS terms, I would be an "administration ranger"—I am a paper pusher and never really saw the light of day, and in southern California there was a lot of light to be had!

My next steps will definitely be influenced by my experience here. I am very interested in getting back to working with children and families. Finding a work environment where your colleagues really like what they do makes what you do much more rewarding! I am not sure I want the office job anymore. Teaching outside was such a perk! I'll keep you posted wherever I end up.

What impressed you about Acadia National Park and the National Park Service?
The commitment and excitement everyone had for where they worked was super motivating!

Did You Know?

A Passamaquoddy birchbark basket with the image of a moose on it

The Passamaquoddy Kit is an educational tool for teachers to help teach students about Passamaquoddy culture in Maine. The kit is a collaboration between the Abbe Museum and Acadia National Park staff.