Starting Wednesday July 23rd Expect Road Closures
July 23rd, Prosper Trail, North Slope & Middle Pass Trails - west side of the park CLOSED for forestry operations. McKenzie Farm Trail & McKenzie Rd will remain open for access between Prosper Parking Lot and the Pogue. CAUTION Heavy Equipment in use!
SCA Intern Blogs Summer 2011
View SCA Unilever Summer 2011 PowerPoint presentation.
The first few weeks have been a whirlwind as I've adjusted to my new job as the Junior Ranger Ambassador here at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park! There has been so much to learn about the park, and I've toured the mansion, done the activities in the current Junior Ranger booklet (getting a little lost along the way), and been to two conferences which I felt extremely lucky to attend.
My first week (after training at the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia) was mainly consumed by learning as much as possible about the park, its past owners, and its message of stewardship. George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings and Laurance Rockefeller had extremely diverse backgrounds and interests, so it was fascinating to learn about how their lives and ideas fed off of each other and progressed to create such a unique park! I also discovered that after Billings' death, his wife and three daughters really took charge of the sustainable forestry happening on the property, as well as reviving the farm from the brink of disaster. There is rarely a lot of press given to female conservationists in general, so it was extremely interesting to learn about their role in the management of the property.
After a tour of the gorgeous mansion, which is filled with period furniture and paintings from the Billings' time but also holds all the signs of being lived in by Mary and Laurance Rockefeller, I took my copy of the Junior Ranger booklet and set out to complete the short loop trail, which passes around the mansion, up past a mysterious white building, and around the spruce farm, then down past the Woodbarn and the new Forest Center, which is an extremely green (and beautiful) building used for workshops and conferences. The loop was beautiful and the activities were a lot of fun, even for me as a 19 year old, but I somehow managed to get completely off the path and made it almost all the way to the Pogue, which is over a mile away! My navigation skills have never been great; I tend to second-guess myself about the route and end up turning around to go the wrong way. Even so, it was a beautiful walk around the park; the forest is just lovely, and so peaceful. And luckily the structure of the paths makes it almost impossible to get truly lost.
I'll be blogging again soon!
Reflections on the Wellborn Conference
First Reflections from the Natural Resource Crew
About halfway into this summer, I am getting into the somewhat sporadic pace of the work around here. Some days have been filled with the steady, albeit stressful days due to the insects, walking transects through the forest to look for invasive plants. Others, the odd jobs pile up until I turn around and find the day has vanished. No contest the most time-consuming and strangest work I've had yet is the task of watering our baby pine tree plantation, a task that takes 2-3 days to manually water over a thousand saplings (if they even count as saplings- as they still look more like branches buried in the dirt!).
So far the most fulfilling part of this position has been getting to know the different forest stands and their history. I have long held a passion for the forest- in its many shapes and sizes- and the forest here is one of the most fascinating I've had the privilege to explore. Between the neatly planted rows of Norway spruce and red pines, relics of 19th century forestry techniques, and the classic mixed hardwoods of Vermont, with lots of blackberries, the Pogue, and wildlife to boot, my job often ceases to feel like a job at all.
I am quite excited to see what the rest of the summer will hold. We just got started on the summer forestry work, which involves help by a team of draft horses. This is not a form of reenactment, but is yet another example of the Park's excellent management (for those not in the know, horses are able to maneuver tight spaces better than heavy equipment, so beyond looking handsome, they also leave less of a mark on thickly grown areas). I will undoubtedly continue to learn a lot about forest management as this work unfolds and, frankly, I can't wait.
Taking it to the Tech and the Trails
Did You Know?
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP offers the system's first Civil War Home Front tour. 11 African-American veterans of the 54th Massachusetts are buried adjacent to the park. The Shaw Memorial, immortalizing the 54th, can be seen at Saint-Gaudens NHS and Boston African-American NHS.