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The Morning Report

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY,PA)
Fisherman Survives Fall Into Frigid Delaware River

A local fisherman survived a fall into the frigid waters of the Delaware River on Monday, January 20th, because he heeded signs and was wearing a lifejacket. 

John Stravalle, 51, fell overboard from his canoe into the 33-degree water and was barely able to swim to shore. Once onshore, he crawled up the bank of the river and was assisted by a local homeowner.

Before launching his canoe, Stravalle read a sign on a park bulletin board that said that use of a lifejacket on the river was mandatory between November 1st and April 30th.

“This sign saved my life,” he said.

Rangers at Upper Delaware spend a great deal of time encouraging both boaters and swimmers to wear their lifejackets and enforcing boating regulations. The new mandatory wear requirement during cold water months was created in an attempt to decrease the number of cold weather boating fatalities due to hypothermia and resulting drowning.                           

[Submitted by Kevin Reish , Water Safety Program Manager]


Office of Communications
Director Jarvis To Hold Webchat Tomorrow

Director Jarvis will host his third national webchat tomorrow, January 29th, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST. He will discuss the Service’s priorities for 2014, particularly as they relate to preparation and readiness for the National Park Service centennial in 2016.

If you would like to submit a question, please email in the Office of Communications. Alternatively, you can submit a question during the event via the chat function.

[Submitted by Suki Baz]

Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site (GA)
Passing Of Deputy Superintendent Catherine Light

Catherine F. Light, deputy superintendent at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, passed away on Friday, January 24th, after an illness. 

Catherine was a 19-year veteran of the National Park Service who began her career as a co-op landscape architect at the Denver Service Center.  Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia, she became a permanent employee with the Southeast Regional Office’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) in Atlanta. 

Catherine’s time with RTCA allowed her to develop her landscape architecture skills and to learn new skills in facilitating partnerships.  It was the catalyst for her work with other federal, state, and local agencies, public entities, educational institutions and non-profit organizations who share a commitment to building community-driven partnerships.

Catherine left the Southeast Regional office in 2001 to serve as the site manager for the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Montgomery, Alabama.  She served as acting deputy superintendent, acting superintendent and superintendent for Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site and Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. 

In 2009 she became superintendent of Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas, and Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in Silver City, New Mexico.  She returned to Atlanta in 2012 to become deputy superintendent at Martin Luther King.

Catherine is survived by her husband, Xavier Light, and their four daughters, Kennedi, Moye’, Carington, and London.  Details for final arrangements will be forthcoming, and condolences can be sent to 5849 Millers Pond Lane, Powder Springs, GA 30127.

[Submitted by Bill Reynolds, Assistant Regional Director, Southeast Region]

Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM)
New Science Interpretation Training Course Begun

The new year began at Carlsbad Caverns National Park with ten permanent and seasonal interpretive rangers participating in a week-long pilot training program called iSWOOP – Interpreters and Scientists Working On-site at Our Parks. 

iSWOOP is the brainchild of Dr. Nick Hristov, a bat biologist who completed a three-year population study of Carlsbad’s summer Brazilian free-tailed bat colony.  Dr. Hristov and his fellow researchers from Boston University used thermal imaging technology to obtain the first accurate counts of the number of bats residing in the cavern.

During his research at Carlsbad, Dr. Hristov, who is a design researcher for the Center for Design Innovation and an assistant professor at Winston-Salem University, saw the need to bridge the gap between scientists and their research in parks and what interpretive rangers are relaying to the public. 

Collaborating with Louise Allen, a bat biologist and professor at Winston-Salem University, and Martha Merson, a science, technology, engineering and math educator from TERC, a non-profit education research and development organization, Dr. Hristov received a grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the program.

During iSWOOP training, interpreters participated in data collection in the cave using long-range laser scanning technology.  They learned to interpret data and make observations about bats using high-speed video and thermal imaging.  Each interpreter also created a program that featured visual data and graphs that engage visitors and communicate park-based research to the public.

Interpreters will present a program once a week using the iSWOOP cart, which consists of a mobile large screen monitor and a Macintosh computer, all funded through the grant.  Visitor responses, observations and questions will be documented on the online iSWOOP blog.  Rangers will also be writing visitor friendly “Did You Know?” articles for the iSWOOP website.

Later this year evaluators from TERC will examine iSWOOP’s success in:

  • Increasing interpreters’ science knowledge
  • Strategies for disseminating scientific research to park visitors
  • Increasing interpreters’ skills in explaining and manipulating complex scientific images
  • Engaging visitors in examining visual data, making observations, and raising questions related to park-based research
  • Piloting a model with relevance and transformative potential for national parks

Engaging in iSWOOP programming is one more way to build visitors’ familiarity with park phenomena, to solidify emotional and intellectual connections to nature and to lay a foundation for understanding the importance of scientific research in our national parks.

For more information about iSWOOP, visit .

[Submitted by Pam Cox, Supervisory Park Ranger]

Climate Change Response Program
Winter Climate Change Response Newsletter Posted

The winter 2013/2014 climate change response newsletter is now available. This edition highlights:

  • Teacher training in Glacier NP
  • IPCC updates
  • Training updates
  • Research on tree species in the Acadia region
  • Research on weather patterns in Alaska
  • South Atlantic LCC update
  • Communication products in the Pacific Islands, Biscayne NP and Jewel Cave NP

Download a copy(PDF) today.

An archive of past issues of the Climate Change Response Program's newsletter can be found at the program's public website at the link below.

[Submitted by Angie Richman,, 970-267-2136]

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Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (IN)
GS-1640-12/13 Supervisory Facility Operations Specialist

Indiana Dunes has issued an announcement for a chief of maintenance.

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

For more information about the position, contact Acting Superintendent Garry Traynham at 219-395-1680.

It closes on February 14th.
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