The Morning Report

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Investigation Underway Into Concession Employee Death

A search was begun on Tuesday, August 26th, for Kassandra “Kassie” Wieferich, 21, a park concession employee. Wieferich reportedly missed several shifts at work and failed to meet a family member the previous afternoon as planned.

After a brief search in the Old Faithful Lodge area, her body was found not far from the point she was reportedly last seen by a fellow employee. 

Details surrounding her discovery were withheld from the public until Wednesday afternoon to allow for notification of family members. The incident remains under investigation by National Park Service park rangers and special agents.

[Submitted by Al Nash, Public Affairs Officer]


Lake Mead NRA - AZ, NV
Body Recovered From Lake Mohave

A body has been recovered near Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave in an area where a man disappeared on August 16th.

On the afternoon of August 24th, visitor reported seeing a body floating near Cottonwood Cove. Rangers responded and recovered a man’s body.

A 31-year-old Southern California man was reported missing near this area after jumping off a boat without a lifejacket on August 16th. The National Park Service and Nevada Department of Wildlife have been searching for him ever since.

The Clark County medical examiner will confirm the victim’s identity and determine the cause of death. The incident is under investigation.

[Submitted by Christie Vanover, Public Affairs Officer]


NEWS AND NOTES



Director's Office
Three Call To Action Goals Completed

With two years to go until the National Park Service celebrates its centennial, parks across the country have more than answered the call of connecting people to parks, as shown in the completion of Call to Action items #6 Take a Hike, Call Me in the Morning; #7 Next Generation Stewards; and #8 Keep the Dream Alive.

The efforts of employees, partners, and volunteers helped increase public awareness of parks as a healing tool, create a new generation of citizen scientists and future stewards, and foster civic dialogue about the stories of the civil rights movement found within the parks.

As with all the goals and actions contained in the Call to Action, the work doesn’t end simply because we’ve checked off a box.  The accomplishments are a good start, but we are far from finished. Our dynamic, extensive work in all these areas will continue on in the years ahead as we take further steps on our path to a second century of stewardship and engagement.

Read more about their accomplishments below:

Action Item #6 – Take A Hike, Call me in the Morning

In expanding the healthy community’s use of parks as a healing tool, the NPS established well over 100 formal partnerships with medical providers, insurance companies, medical schools, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations nationwide in 2014, nearly doubling the Call to Action’s original goal of 50.

As a key component of the NPS Healthy Parks Healthy People program, the wide-reaching scope of the partnerships has increased public awareness of the many physical, mental, spiritual, and social benefits of using parks for health and fitness.  Innovative new programs, such as “Park Prescriptions” and “Walk with A Doc and a Ranger,” encourage people to use parks for outdoor recreation, exercise, rehabilitation, and mental rejuvenation.

Participation in such activities as outdoor walks, runs, bike rides, yoga clinics and music therapy concerts has helped people from all walks of life learn that parks can be essential resources for healthy living.

Action Item #7 – Next Generation Stewards

Scientists, educators, students, children, families, NPS staff, and park visitors worked toward the goal of creating a new generation of citizen scientists and future park stewards in 2014. By participating in biodiversity discovery activities of varying levels and scopes in 114 parks, at least 27,000 people contributed to the rapidly growing field of citizen science – an increasingly effective tool that engages the public in monitoring and collecting data on a widespread basis.

Joint NPS/National Geographic Society BioBlitzes have revealed more than 7,500 species, including some that were previously unknown to have existed in a specific park, as well as species that are new to science. Many of the biodiversity discovery projects will continue years into the future.

Action Item #9 – Keep the Dream Alive

The National Park Service’s commitment to “Keeping the Dream Alive” is stronger than ever, with an abundance of civil rights commemorative activities taking place nationwide.

As part of its ongoing goal to interpret nationally relevant thematic issues, the National Park Service honored and recognized such significant events as the end of racial segregation in public schools at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Site, the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s poignant Easter Sunday concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the inception of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a celebration of civil rights activist Maggie Walker’s 150th birthday at the Maggie Walker National Historic Site in Richmond, Virginia, and a special exhibit documenting the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom.

Several events sought to engage America’s younger generation in the civil rights conversation, including a youth dialogue summit in Washington, DC and a youth arts competition timed with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

For more information:

[Submitted by Nana Efua Embil, Assistant Centennial Coordinator]


Office of Communications
Quarterly Update Posted On Servicewide Digital Projects

Last week, Acting Assistant Director For Communications Roberta D’Amico and Associate Director, Information Resources Shane Compton issued a memorandum entitled “Quarterly Update: Servicewide Digital Projects” that provided a brief overview on the Service’s digital projects, part of the collective response to Call to Action Item #17, “Go Digital.”

The full text of the memorandum appears at the “More Information” link below. It includes details on:

  • Projects being developed for the Service’s centennial.
  • Changes to the content management system (CMS) that improve the functionality and appearance of NPS.gov.
  • Analysis of traffic on NPS.gov, which has been significant.
  • New regional and national program subject and organization websites.
  • Web training opportunities.
  • An update on the development of InsideNPS 2.0, which is nearing completion.

[Submitted by Jody Lyle, Chief, Digital Content Division]

 More Information...
Yosemite National Park (CA)
Passing Of Retired Wildlife Biologist Steve Thompson

Steve Thompson, the recently retired chief of the park’s wildlife management branch, died in an auto accident on the night of Tuesday, August 26th.

Superintendent Don Neubacher sent out the following note yesterday regarding his death:

*****

It is with great sadness that I share with you the news of the passing of Steve Thompson, our recently retired Branch Chief of Wildlife Management. He died last night in an unfortunate car accident. Steve worked in Yosemite for over 25 years and left a legacy of work that will positively impact the park and the Sierra for many, many years.

Steve is best known for his work on the Bear Management Program in the park. When he arrived in Yosemite in 1989, Steve was alarmed at the exceptionally high rate of incidents and property damage caused by bears. He astutely realized that the problem was a human issue, and not a bear issue, and sought to educate the public about proper food storage.  Steve established the Yosemite Bear Council (an interdisciplinary group devoted to public education about proper food storage), which is still active today. With Steve's vision and the work of the park staff, bear incidents and property damage have been significantly reduced.

He also led the effort to restore high-elevation aquatic ecosystems and championed saving the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad from extinction. He also built the Terrestrial Biodiversity Program and was an active participant in the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Interagency Advisory Group.

Steve has made a dramatic difference for wildlife during his 25 years in Yosemite National Park. Future visitors can thank Steve for enabling them to once again hear the lovely call of the Sierra Nevada yellow legged frog among the alpine lakes of Yosemite, observe black bears within a wild context or perhaps if they are lucky, see a bighorn sheep, great grey owl or Pacific fisher.

Steve retired from the National Park Service in January of this year. Steve's wife, Sue Beatty, serves as a Restoration Ecologist in the Division of Resources Management and Science.  Steve and Sue raised their son, Ryan, in Yosemite Valley.

Details about a memorial service are pending.

Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
Bison Conservation Actions Underway

In 2011 NPS Call to Action item #26, “Back Home on the Range,” challenged parks and employees to seek out new opportunities and innovative partnerships for wild bison conservation. 

Bison are the largest “quadraped” (four-legged) wildlife in North America and their complex life history plays out from day-to-day decisions about where to forage or roll about up to annual decisions about when to migrate across 10,000 square kilometers.  Almost everything about bison brings forth passionate feelings from multiple stakeholder groups, and public engagement is crucially important for bison conservation management. 

Several actions have been taken to rise to these challenges:

Another innovative partnership between the National Park Service and the George Washington University Museum Studies Program hosted a national webinar yesterday, entitled “The Bison, Going Beyond the Symbol.” 

Since 1917, the bison has served as an official symbol of the Department of the Interior, and since 1952 for the National Park Service.   Indeed, the bison represents a complex environmental and cultural history seen as painful rather than prideful for some.  

As part of a training event called “Co-Creating Narratives in Public Spaces,” this webinar brought together many experts and dedicated bison advocates, from within and outside the NPS to unpack the symbol of the bison, discuss the changing relationship between people and bison, and explore how new collaborations are working to heal the wounds of the past. 

National Park Service employees can view a recording of the webinar by going to the Department of the Interior's Livestream Channel: http://new.livestream.com/usinterior

More information on the training events can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/history/narratives_in_public_spaces.html.

[Submitted by Glenn Plumb, Chief Wildlife Biologist, National Park Service]


Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Successful Cooperative Invasive Plant Event Held

Over three days in early August, around 65 invasive vegetation specialists from the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA), including Yellowstone National Park, the Northern Rocky Mountain Exotic Plant Management Team and Gallatin National Forest staff, joined together to treat noxious invasive plants in the latest annual cooperative treatment event sponsored by the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC). 

Participants came from a three-state area, representing county and federal government agencies, a non-profit group and a private landowner.  These highly skilled certified invasive plant sprayers treated noxious invasive plants in the Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone on the first day and neighboring travertine quarries with heavy knapweed and mullein infestations within the Gallatin National Forest the next day.  

In Yellowstone, an area covering almost 500 acres was treated for spotted knapweed, houndstongue, bull and musk thistle, and Dalmatian toadflax, species considered high priority noxious weeds in the GYA.  This event afforded a coordinated and intensive effort to treat these patches in a single event, allowing Yellowstone staff to redirect invasive plant control efforts into more remote areas.  An estimated thirteen days of work were completed during the one-day event in Yellowstone.

Events such as this increase cooperation and enhance the effectiveness of treatments, a goal of managers striving to treat invasive vegetation in a comprehensive manner.  Other best practices employed in Yellowstone include weed prevention, survey, and follow-up monitoring. 

As a part of weed management, managers across jurisdictional boundaries work together to prevent and stop the threat of invasive weeds across the Yellowstone landscape.  This event is just one example where land managers worked collaboratively to control the spread of noxious weeds in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

For more information: http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/ycrvegetation.htm

Student Employee Network
NPS Student Employees Attend NextGen Training Summit

In July, eight student leaders from the NPS Student Employee Network (SEN), with the gracious support of the Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion Directorate, attended the fifth annual Next Generation of Government Training Summit (NextGen) in Arlington, Virginia.

This two-day leadership summit, sponsored by Gov Loop and the organization Young Government Leaders, was a rigorous and intensive training program for aspiring leaders in government who share a passion for innovation and creativity in public service. These NPS employees traveled from different parks and programs across the United States to join over 500 fellow emerging government leaders from all levels of federal, state, local and tribal government agencies.

Formed in 2010, SEN is a student-based network within the NPS that fosters idea-sharing, innovation, and professional development for current and future student employees of the National Park Service. SEN is a resource that supports all NPS employees who are current students; participation in a special program like Pathways is not required.

The conference agenda was packed full of excellent speakers and training sessions. Some notable speakers included OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, Department of State Office of Children’s Issues Director Beth Payne, and GSA Administrator Dan M. Tangherlini.

Workshops that were directly relevant to career development for NPS employees and the role of SEN within the NPS included a session by Paul Allen of Gallup on “Build Your Strengths,” a workshop with Ira Chaleff, author of Courageous Followership, on “Courageous Followership: How to be an Effective Leader and Follower,” and a session on communication skills with Michael Lawyer from the Department of Housing and Urban Development entitled “Memos, Meetings and Memes-Communicate All the Ways.” These sessions provided new ways to think about communication and capitalizing on one’s strengths to better your agency.

Participation in the 2014 NextGen Summit provided an invaluable opportunity for employees from various agencies and disciplines to connect and discover ways to collaborate towards achieving common goals. For additional insight on this topic, please visit the SEN Google Site.

For more information on the Student Employee Network, or to get involved, contact the Student Employee Network at nps_students@nps.gov or visit the following pages:

[Submitted by Jamie Richards, Kelsea Holbrook, Alexis Sanchez, and Rick Caceres-Rodriguez]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Mount Rushmore National Memorial (SD)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Dates: 08/26/2014 - 09/01/2014

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is seeking applicants interested in a non-competitive lateral reassignment to a permanent full-time protection ranger position at the GL-9 level.  Occupancy of government quarters is required.

Applications will be accepted from employees of the National Park Service with career or career-conditional status in the competitive service. Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will be authorized.

This is a lateral reassignment for a commissioned ranger into a special retirement covered position. The person selected will be responsible for independently performing law enforcement duties, including detection, investigation, apprehension, and prosecution under applicable laws, rules, and regulations. In addition to law enforcement, the person selected will also be required to perform wildland firefighting, and emergency medical services.

This job presents an opportunity to be part of a team serving visitors and protecting one of the unique areas of the National Park System. It is a great job for someone who is interested in working with varied, complex and ever changing operations on a daily basis.

There are opportunities to develop leadership skills, provide training, research and develop SOPs and enhance resource protection skills in a fascinating cultural setting. Numerous other duties occur daily and as assigned. There are also opportunities to train and work with other national parks and law enforcement agencies in the area.

Situated in the central Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located near Keystone, SD.  With an annual visitation of nearly 3 million visitors, the 1,278 acre park is always a flurry of activity.  Coined the “Shrine of Democracy”, Mount Rushmore National Memorial hosts many special events and dignitary visits in addition to its’ interpretive programs.  Backcountry hiking and rock climbing round out activities that are available to visitors.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is also one of the icons of the National Park Service.  Security of the mountain sculpture and protection of the park’s visitors in a rural environment is a complex operation that is performed on a daily basis. 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located approximately 25 miles south of Rapid City.  With a population of approximately 70,000 and an elevation of 3,500 ft., Rapid City provides all basic amenities including doctors, dentists, hospital, schools (K-12), churches, and shopping.  Opportunities to hike, bike, rock climb, cycle, snowmobile, snow ski, fish, hunt and motor-recreate are numerous and varied.

Interested individuals should email the following documents to Supervisory Park Ranger Darin Oestmann at darin_oestmann@nps.gov or mail the documents to Mount Rushmore National Memorial,  Attn: Darin Oestmann, 13000 Hwy 244, Building 31, Suite 1, Keystone, SD  57751:

  •  A resume detailing work history, supervisory experience, educational background, and any special qualifications or training they might possess.
  • A copy of the most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action showing current federal career status (Non-Award SF-50)
  • Verification of a valid NPS Law Enforcement Commission (picture omitted)
  • Copies of Wildland Fire Red Card, EMS Qualifications,  All Hazard Qualification Card
  • A copy of most recent performance appraisal
  • A list of professional and personal references, including contact info

Application packages from qualified candidates must be received or postmarked by September 1st.  Please list in the subject line of the email: MORU GL 9 LE Ranger Lateral

For additional information about the position, please contact Chief Ranger Don Hart at 605-574-3135 or Don_Hart@nps.gov or Supervisory Park Ranger Darin Oestmann at 605-574-3123 or Darin_Oestmann@nps.gov

[Submitted by Darin Oestmann, darin_oestmann@nps.gov, 605-574-3123]


Cedar Breaks National Monument (UT)
Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative Partnership Director

The intergovernmental Internship Cooperative at Southern Utah University, a federal partner, is seeking a director.

This is a great career building opportunity to lead a unique partnership organization that was recently awarded a Partners in Conservation Award from Secretary Jewell. The Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) is located in Cedar City, Utah, on the campus of Southern Utah University (SUU). The IIC’s mission is to “provide a unique organizational structure to network and communicate, access and share resources, and efficiently create and administer shared programs on behalf of all partners”.

Through cooperative agreements, the IIC works with six National Park Service units, the Bureau of Land Management, the Dixie National Forest,  the Bureau of Indian Affairs, two Paiute tribal governments and other partners to develop the public land leaders of tomorrow. The IIC is a centralized resource of committed and engaged partners who collaborate to provide relevant and meaningful educational experiences and career opportunities to University and other youth in the region and to meet Partner needs for a diverse workforce.  Applications are due by September 15th.

For more information, please follow this link: https://jobs.suu.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=52838.

Or contact either Briget Tyson Eastep, Ph.D., Director of Outdoor Engagement  and Associate Professor of Outdoor Recreation, Southern Utah University (eastep@suu.edu or 435-586-7829) or Paul Roelandt, Superintendent, Cedar Breaks NM (paul_roelandt@nps.gov or 435-586-9451 ext. 4421).