The Morning Report

Friday, April 24, 2015

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Centennial, Partnership and Communications Offices
President Obama Visits Everglades For Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, President Obama visited Everglades National Park yesterday with Secretary Jewell and Director Jarvis to discuss the impact that climate change is having on America’s natural and cultural resources.

The President also made several NPS-related announcements, including the selection of the Centennial Challenge projects. More than 100 projects will leverage a $10 million congressional appropriation with $15.9 million matching funds from more than 90 partner organizations. From trail repairs to new wayside interpretive panels, road and bridge repairs and programs to engage youth, the Centennial Challenge projects are designed to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and leverage partnerships to reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities to prepare parks for the centennial.

Director Jarvis said that “Turning a $10 million Congressional appropriation into $26 million for national parks isn’t magic, but it tells us people love their national parks and want to make personal contributions to help ensure future generations will be able to learn about the stories of America’s natural landscapes and our cultural and historic riches.”

Another exciting announcement is that the Department of the Interior and NPS have designated the Marjory Stoneman Douglas House in Miami, Florida as the Nation’s newest National Historic Landmark. Additionally, a total of $3 million in grants funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund will assist these eight cities in constructing and enhancing parks and other outdoor recreation facilities in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Projects include the renovation of an athletic complex in Detroit, Michigan and the construction of a new skate park in Madison, Wisconsin.

The President also announced the release of the 2014 NPS Visitor Spending Effects Report showing that every $1 invested by American taxpayers in the NPS  returns $10 to the U.S. economy. In 2014, a record 293 million national park visitors spent $15.7 billion in communities around national parks, providing a $29.7 billion benefit to the U.S. economy and supporting 277,000 jobs.

Other mentions include the release of an NPS and U.S. Geological Survey report entitled Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration in the National Parks that, for the first time, calculates the value of national parks for storing carbon and mitigating climate change. The report concludes that national park lands in the lower 48 states store 14.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and that providing this service is valued at more than $580 million each year.

George Washington Carver National Monument (MO)
George Washington Carver Inducted Into Missouri Hall Of Fame

On April 17th, George Washington Carver joined Harry Truman as the annual Legacy Award inductee into the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

Staff, volunteers and partners from the George Washington Carver National Monument as well as representatives from Tuskegee University and the State Historical Society of Missouri, attended the Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the White River Conference Center in Springfield, Missouri.

Carver, along with living inductees Eric Grietens and Simone Bernstein, were chosen as citizens with a connection to the state of Missouri who serve as examples of global citizens by defining the essence of public affairs, and who have acted consistently for the benefit of others.       

George Washington Carver was a renowned scientist, educator and humanitarian. His life began in Diamond Grove, Missouri circa 1864.  His 47 years of work at Tuskegee Agricultural and Normal School in Alabama was aimed at freeing African American farmers from the tyranny of king cotton. With innovative farming methods, he convinced them to grow such soil-enriching crops as soybeans and peanuts.

Carver came to public attention in 1921 with his captivating testimony before a U.S. Congress House committee debating a peanut tariff bill. Carver died at Tuskegee on Jan. 5, 1943. That July, Congress designated George Washington Carver National Monument as the first National Park to honor an African American.

“I think we are all introduced to Carver in grade school as the venerable Peanut Guy,” said Superintendent Jim Heaney. “But if you get to know him as an adult, his story is remarkably complex, and really one of the most inspiring in American history… George Washington Carver is an enduring symbol of American public service.”   

To learn more about the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame please visit the Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame website for more information.

[Submitted by Randall Becker]

Independence National Historical Park (PA)
Park Hosts Interagency Active Shooter Response Drill

The Visitor and Resource Protection Division at Independence National Historical Park, in close coordination with the Independence Visitor Center and the city of Philadelphia’s Police and Fire Departments, hosted an interagency active shooter threat response drill during the evening of April 15th at the Independence Visitor Center, the visitor center for the park and the city of Philadelphia. 

The drill focused on conducting an effective and efficient joint law enforcement response between the NPS and the police department in conjunction with a simultaneous drill designed to train officers on escorting medical personnel safely in and out of a medium threat environment allowing for the triage, treatment and evacuation of wounded victims. 

During the drill, members of the park’s Interpretation and Education Division along with staff from the visitor center served as role players, which significantly enhanced the overall effectiveness of the exercise.

The drill was comprised of three main phases.  The first phase involved a member of the police department’s SWAT unit entering the building in a manner simulating a possible active shooter.  This allowed Interpretive and center employees who regularly work inside the building to practice what actions they should take in the event of a similar incident.  The second phase involved park protection rangers joining with city officers in teams to take appropriate action in handling the emergency.  The teams were assisted by park and police instructors as each group worked through the drill to ensure safety and in order to meet the training objectives.  The final phase allowed these teams of officers to join up with fire department medics in treating the victims and evacuating them to safety. 

During the drill, 14 park rangers, 93 city officers and 14 fire department medics completed the scenarios.  According to the SWAT senior training officer, Sgt. Bill Frazier, this number far exceeded the previous high recorded during other drills conducted at other city locations.

Independence’s active shooter response trainer Vince Clark coordinated the training and has brought multiple successful interagency training opportunities to the rangers. The actual drill was the culmination of an ongoing and multi-faceted training process between the park and its neighbors and cooperators. 

Over the past year, park staff members instructed or were involved in numerous other training activities centering on this type of incident. Most of the V&RP Divisions staff completed the city’s basic officer response class taught by the SWAT unit which certifies them as fully trained team members eligible to work alongside city officers during active shooting incidents.  Several rangers from neighboring parks also participated in this training experience. 

The park’s active shooter threat instructor conducted five separate training sessions for non-enforcement staff members and managers from both the park and the visitor center focusing on how to recognize and respond to this type of emergency.  The park also hosted a presentation by the local FBI office on responding to active shooter threats and V&RP Division supervisors recently participated in a region-wide Active Shooter Tabletop Training Exercise sponsored by the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office which was held at the National Constitution Center, also in Independence NHP.

The coming year promises to be a busy one for the city of Philadelphia and Independence NHP with several high-profile events on the horizon.  In addition to the annual July Fourth celebrations, this September will have the world’s attention focused on the Pope’s visit to the city followed by the Democratic National Convention the following summer. 

Through joint training such as this drill with the city and all of the cooperating neighbors and organizations, it is clear that the managers and staff at Independence will be ready to not only meet the approaching challenges but to also take a lead role in ensuring that the residents and visitors to the area can enjoy the activities in a safe environment.

[Submitted by Trouper Snow]

 More Information...
Petrified Forest National Park (AZ)
Facebook Posting Of Mounted Ranger Goes Viral

A photo of a ranger on horseback at a park entrance station that was posted on Facebook in March has gone viral, with over 123,000 hits as of earlier this week.

Ranger Ross was riding his horse, Trooper, by the visitor center on the day the photo was taken, talking with visitors, particularly kids. As he headed out towards some of the overlooks, he stopped to chat with Wanda at the north entrance station, where the above photo was taken.

The 123,000 hits is more than four times the number of hits registered by any previous park Facebook posting.

Asked why he thought the image was so popular, Richard Ullman, the park’s chief of interpretation, had this to offer: “My best guess – it involves an animal, a sharp looking ranger, and it has some humor – all around, a simple candid moment in a 'typical' National Park Service/Petrified Forest day.”

The Facebook post can also be seen at the link below.

[Submitted by Richard Ullman and Hallie Larsen]

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Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Cathy And Bill Halainen To Retire

Cathy Halainen, budget technician for the resource management division at Delaware Water Gap NRA, and Bill Halainen, a retired NPS employee who edits InsideNPS and the Morning Report, will both be retiring in September.

Cathy will bring to a close 20 years with the park’s Division of Resource Management and Science, where she has been responsible for almost all administrative functions for divisional staff. Before working for the National Park Service, she worked in a similar capacity for several colleges (the University of Massachusetts, Brandeis, and William and Mary) and government contractors, principally McDonnell-Douglas.

Bill worked as an interpretive and protection ranger, program manager and management assistant in various parks and offices from 1974 to 2007, during which time he created and edited the NPS Morning Report. He also became editor of InsideNPS in 2002, and continued editing both publications via contract after his retirement from the Service in 2007. He’s edited and published about 6,900 editions of the Morning Report since 1986 and about 3,000 editions of InsideNPS.

They will continue to reside in northeast Pennsylvania for now, but are considering a move to western Massachusetts.

(Editor's note: In light of Bill Halainen’s “second” retirement, a transition plan will be developed in regards to the InsideNPS homepage and the Morning Report. Additional information will be forthcoming early this summer.)

George Washington Memorial Parkway (MD)
Brent O’Neill Named North District Ranger

Brent O’Neill has been selected as the district ranger for the North District at George Washington Memorial Parkway.

His appointment was one of a number of personnel changes in the park, which recently reorganized to better meet the needs of the millions of people who visit the urban park while continuing to operate within its current fiscal appropriations. 

 “The management team and I went through a rigorous interview process to ensure the best candidates were selected not only leading up to the National Park Service Centennial in 2016, but for the next decade,” said Superintendent Alex Romero. “I believe we have accomplished that with all the selections we have made.”

Brent has been with the park since 1997.  He began as an interpretive ranger at Great Falls Park and has served as the environmental protection specialist and as the site manager at Arlington House and Great Falls Park. 

Brent grew up in New Mexico and California, graduating from Humboldt State University with a BA in natural resource planning.  Prior to his NPS career, Brent worked with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at Alcatraz in the early days of the audio tour. 

He is a proud returned Peace Corps volunteer, where he spent two years in Paraguay teaching farmers about agroforestry, and afterwards traveling throughout South America. 

“I am excited to be a part of the visitor services operation at the George Washington Memorial Parkway,” he says. “This park has so many unique and compelling resources with a strong urban backing, and staff and partners who are devoted to the mission.”

Outside of work, Brent dedicates himself to his two sons, engaging in their sports and a myriad of activities, including exploring the richness the National Capital Region has to offer in the outdoors.

[Submitted by Aaron LaRocca, Chief of Staff ]


Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
GS-0025-12 District Rangers

Yellowstone National Park has issued an announcement for two district protection rangers, one in the Mammoth District and the other in the Canyon District.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

f you are up to the challenge, and are interested in more information please contact Deputy Chief Ranger Pete Webster at 307-344-2124 or

It closes on May 1st.
 More Information...
Grand Teton National Park (WY)
GS-0193-9/11 Archeologist

Grand Teton National Park is seeking to fill a permanent subject-to-furlough archaeologist position in its Science and Resource Management Division. 

The position is being advertised at the GS-9/11 level (recent graduates) and at the GS-11 level (merit promotion).  The person selected for the position will be responsible for implementing the park's archaeology program and will be responsible for Section 106 compliance, working with partners and contractors, and supporting other areas of the cultural resources program, including collections management, historic preservation, and tribal consultation. 

Click on the links below for copies of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

Please email Cultural Resources Branch Chief Shannon Dennison at with any questions. 

Both close on May 1st.

Fort Union National Monument (NM)
GS-1702-5/7 Education Technician

Fort Union National Monument is seeking candidates for a permanent, full-time education technician position.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

Information on this position can be obtained from Chief of Interpretation Lorenzo Vigil (505-425-8025, x226, 

It closes on April 28th.