Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Mount Rainier National Park (WA) Injured Hiker Rescued From Skyline Trail
On the afternoon of Sunday, December 8th, park dispatch received a report that a man had fallen down a steep slope in the area between Panorama Point and Glacier Vista along the Skyline Trail.
The 51-year-old man from Tumwater, Washington, had been hiking with crampons when one snagged on his pants leg, causing him to trip and fall about 60 feet down the slope. Several reporting parties said that the man was conscious, but had a head laceration and back pain.
Rangers Erik Wiita and Joe Spillane hiked to the scene to assess the man and prepare for an evacuation. Teams from Tacoma and Olympic Mountain Rescue were called to assist as a backup to park teams.
With the aid of several bystanders also on scene, the rangers were able to package the patient, construct a landing zone on the hard-packed snow, and move the man about 600 yards to the landing zone. He was evacuated at dusk by an Airlift Northwest helicopter and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Ranger Kevin Ross was IC for the incident.
[Submitted by R. Chuck Young, Chief Ranger]
NEWS AND NOTES
Homestead National Monument of America (NE) NPS Team Studies Historic Sod House
Staff from Homestead National Monument of America and the Midwest Archaeological Center visited a historic sod house on a rural piece of land in Custer County, Nebraska, in mid-November.
On this site, in the depths of the majestic Sandhills, stands a home that has become an iconic symbol of homesteading and westward expansion in the United States. The home was built in 1903 by homesteader Eugene Chrisman, complete with walls, doors, and windows like any other home. However, this home was built of bricks carved from the soil.
These prairie dwellings were aptly named sod houses and were ideal homes for those moving to the vast, treeless landscape of the Great Plains. Today, these buildings hold special meaning for communities where the pioneer spirit has been an intimate part of their historic identity, and for people whose ancestors grew up in such homes.
The NPS staff joined scholars and students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the Nebraska State Historical Society, media representatives, and members of the general public to learn from this sod house, one of the few still standing.
The reason for the interdisciplinary gathering was bittersweet. The home had stood for 110 years; an eternity for a sod house. Over the years the landscape change dramatically around it, with nearby farms expanding, the construction of modern buildings, and the trees planted by the original settlers that would eventually tower overhead. Unfortunately, these years and developments had taken their toll on the structural integrity of the house. All that remained were some sections of the walls and fragments of the additional materials that had once made it a cozy home. It was sure to collapse in the near future and was past the point of repair.
Instead, this house afforded a unique opportunity to collect valuable samples for research. In fact, a four-foot by eight-foot section of one of the standing walls was carefully cut away from the rest of the home, bound, and sent to be studied in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Early goals of researchers include attempting to germinate the century-old seeds of native grasses preserved in the sod and analyzing the soil in an effort to see what held this structure up for so long. Other researchers on site were compiling a three-dimensional model of the sod house using laser imaging technology on its walls. Meanwhile, anthropologists mapped the entire site in hopes of finding signs of other historic structures or artifacts that may have been located nearby.
Homestead sent a park ranger and a historian to document the event and gather information that will allow them to better understand and interpret the history, construction, and role of sod houses in the early homesteading era. The park was given three sod bricks to preserve and be added to the National Homesteading Museum’s permanent collection.
This was a one of a kind experience that has the potential to strengthen understanding of the natural and cultural history of homesteading in the 19th Century. This learning and preservation process can already answer many historical questions, but what makes this especially exciting, as with most scientific endeavors, is that it could answer questions researchers have not yet thought to ask.
[Submitted by Blake Bell and Molly Watters]
Steamtown National Historic Site (PA) Funeral Arrangements Set For Superintendent Kip Hagen
Funeral arrangements have been set for Harold H. “Kip” Hagen Jr., 62, superintendent of Steamtown National Historic Site, who passed away suddenly from a heart attack this past Saturday, December 14th
Kip died at his home in Tafton, Pennsylvania, where he lived with his wife Donna, who works for WASO’s Park Facility Management Division.
Over his 37-year career in the National Park Service, Kip served with distinction in numerous roles. A native of Scranton and superintendent at Steamtown since 2002, Kip made an indelible mark on the park, initiating new programs and forging strong partnerships in the surrounding communities. In 2006, he received the Department of the Interior’s Take Pride in America Federal Land Manager Award for his support of the park’s Volunteers-in-Park program.
Prior to joining Steamtown in 1998 as assistant superintendent, Kip spent eight years in WASO’s Park Facility Management Division.
Our deepest sympathies go to Kip's wife, Donna; their son, Jim; daughters, Sarah and Ashley; and three grandchildren.
A viewing will be held on Tuesday, December 17th, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Snowden Funeral Home, 1810 Sanderson Ave., Scranton, PA. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, December 18th, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Paul’s Church, 1510 Penn Ave., Scranton, PA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Rail Historical Society, PO Box 3452, Scranton PA 18505-0452, and should be payable to "Locomotive Restoration Fund."
Condolences to the family may be sent to 165 Shore Road, Tafton, PA 18464.
[Submitted by Beth Sciumeca]
Office of Human Resources Individual Development Plans And What They Mean to You
With the end of the annual rating cycle coming up, it is a good idea to think about creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP) for 2014. Your IDP identifies developmental goals in the context of supporting your park or office’s goals, and ultimately NPS’s goals and strategic plan.
The IDP identifies where you fit into the agency and what you can do to make your job – and office, park, or program – better. This plan can consist of education, training, developmental activities, and other goals that you set.
Your IDP should be collaboratively developed with your supervisor and shared at your rating session and at regular check-ins with them. While your IDP does not guarantee that your goals will happen (it is not a binding document), it does make your supervisor aware of your desire for personal and professional development. This makes it easier for your supervisor to understand your goals, and allows them to help you in a more efficient manner.
There are four steps to creating your IDP:
- Prepare for the IDP discussion – Know your duties, strengths, and needs. Be prepared to discuss ideas with your supervisor about your future career goals, and where you need to develop in order to get there.
- Discuss with your supervisor and create a draft IDP – Here, you can show your supervisor where you’d like to grow, as well as receiving feedback from him or her as to where you could develop. Drafting the plan together ensures that your professional development is a collaborative effort and will remain a common interest between the two of you. You can also find out from your supervisor what is possible in terms of funding your professional development this year and in the future.
- Finalize the IDP – Proofread your draft and determine what is more desirable and achievable within the course of the year. Once your IDP is finalized, you can schedule regular check-ins with your supervisor to ensure that your goals are being recognized and achieved.
- Implement and measure progress – Put your plan into action. You can begin your coursework, training, or other facets that you have drafted into your IDP. Remember, your supervisor cannot hold your hand the entire way. Your IDP begins with you.
IDPs do not have to have a specific format, but if you are stuck and are not sure where to begin, click here to see the recommended IDP template.
Contact the HROC or your local SHRO if you have any questions on drafting your IDP. You can reach the HROC at 1-877-642-4743 or anytime at http://hrhelp.nps.gov.
Superintendent Jock Whitworth Announces Retirement
Jock Whitworth, superintendent of Zion National Park and a 36-year veteran of federal service, has announced his retirement. His last day will be on January 3rd.
Jock’s first federal job was as a firefighter on the USFS’s Mormon Lake Hotshot Crew in Arizona in 1977. In 1978, he joined the NPS as a seasonal ranger at Montezuma Castle NM. Two months later, Jock landed his first permanent job as a commissioned dispatcher at Grand Canyon NP.
From then on, Jock has proudly worn the NPS “flat hat,” serving with law enforcement, interpretation, resource management and administration at 11 national park sites -- Montezuma Castle NM, Grand Canyon NP, Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano NMs, Carlsbad Caverns NP, Theodore Roosevelt NP, Big Hole NB, Rocky Mountain NP, Chamizal NMem, Padre Island NS and Zion NP.
Jock’s wife, Robin, worked as a school teacher in park “gateway” communities as they raised their children Sarah, Nathanael, and John.
Over the years, Jock has championed resource conservation, sustainable practices, and wilderness protection. At Padre Island NS, he earned the Director’s Award for Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship for his work with the Ridley sea turtle project. In 2003, Jock became superintendent at Zion NP and is the longest, continuous serving superintendent in Zion NP history. '
Under Jock’s leadership, the park has received two National Environmental Achievement Awards and become a showcase for sustainability within the NPS. In 2009, Jock received the IMR Regional Director’s Award for Superintendent of the Year for Natural Resource Stewardship. Jock served on the NPS National Wilderness Leadership Council, the Natural Resource Advisory Group and the IMR Wilderness Executive Committee. He was selected to mentor Kenya’s parks in sustainability and established a sister park in China, where he has helped with ecotourism and resource management issues.
Jock is known for his low-key, management-by-roving style, open door policy, informal meetings on trails and his Hawaiian shirt collection. When asked for advice, Jock often answers with a favorite saying from the author and humorist Mark Twain: “Always do right. This will gratify some and astonish the rest.”
Some of Jock’s finest memories include solving a 17-year-old burglary and recovering the famous Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph’s peace pipe at Big Hole NB, working with the seas turtles at Padre Island NS, and starting Zion NP’s annual Plein Air Artist Invitational.
A retirement celebration for Jock will be held on Friday, January 24th, at 5:00 p.m. in the Zion Nature Center. Everyone is welcome. RSVP Aly Baltrus (Alyssa_baltrus@nps.gov) by Jan. 21. Those who cannot attend can send remembrances (narratives, photos, videos, etc.) to Aly.
In retirement, Jock plans to continue his personal interests in photography, art appreciation, world travel, hiking, and active volunteerism with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks and other nonprofits. He can be reached either by trying to catch up to his Hawaiian shirt on a trail or emailing him at email@example.com.
[Submitted by Alyssa Baltrus, firstname.lastname@example.org, 435-772-0160]
United States Park Police Officer Hakim Farthing Remembered At Annual Ceremony
On December 12th, the Maryland Highway Safety Office hosted the tenth annual “Maryland Remembers” ceremony to honor the victims of impaired driving-related crashes. This ceremony is open to all families and friends of those loved ones lost in these terrible tragedies.
Law enforcement officers were asked to attend and escort the victims' family members and friends down the aisle as a sign of their ongoing commitment to ending impaired driving.
USPP officers of all grades attended to show both support for one of our own, killed by a drunk driver, and to show support to other families that lost loved ones.
Park Police Officer Hakim A. Farthing was struck and killed by a drunk driver on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway on August 10, 2002.
The Maryland Remembers ceremony is not only a time to remember our own fallen hero but also a day to reflect on the work that is needed to continue to eliminate such tragedies.
[Submitted by Sergeant Lelani Woods, Public Information Officer]
Everglades National Park (FL) Ellen Hand Heads To Everglades
Ellen Hand, currently the program manager for Southeast Region’s East Administrative Servicing Unit, will join Everglades National Park on December 29th as the chief of administration and manager of the South Administrative Servicing Unit, which provides acquisition and HR services to 21 parks in Florida and the Caribbean.
Ellen has been with the Department of the Interior for 29 years, 27 of those with the National Park Service. She began her NPS career at the North Cascades National Park, where she worked with the facilities division for four years and then became the park’s contracting officer for five years.
Ellen was the administrative officer for Big Cypress National Preserve and Gulf Islands National Seashore from 1993 to 2006. She spent 2006 and 2007 in Albuquerque working with DOI’s National Business Center to establish the National Indian Program Training Center.
Ellen returned to Southeast Region and the Outer Banks Group in 2008. She has been the manager of Southeast Region’s East Administrative Servicing Unit (MABO and SHRO) in Atlanta since 2011, and also supervises the region’s personal property program and business support services team.
Ellen and her husband, David Croyle, enjoy fishing, boating, and traveling. David is also a National Park Service employee and works in the Facilities Support Division in Southeast Region as a project specialist and FBMS requisitioner.
[Submitted by Marianne Mills, Public Affairs Specialist, Southeast Region]
Death Valley National Park (CA) AmeriCorps Team Helps Restore Wilderness
A nine-member AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team is working alongside NPS staff to restore and enhance several park areas. The team arrived on November 14th and will be staying until December 19th while camping at an NPS campground and working alongside Ranger Charlie Callagan.
The AmeriCorps NCCC team is working to further the mission of preserving America’s national parks’ natural scenery for public enjoyment. Callagan has worked at numerous national parks throughout the country and has been at Death Valley for over 20 years. He has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team throughout its weeks of service.
During their time in Death Valley NP, the team worked at various sites doing stream restoration, invasive species removal, and removing over 3,000 pounds of metal fencing to clear land for wildlife to access water from springs. The team is also clearing plane wreckage, removing over 1200 pounds of metal debris to make the site conform with wilderness character.
“We are eager to continue our work to restore the natural beauty of Death Valley so that others can enjoy the amazing things we see every day,” said team member Stephen Long regarding the team’s commitment to the park,
This commitment to service is exemplified in the work of the AmeriCorps NCCC members and shared throughout the National Park Service. Together, they are working to maintain and preserve Death Valley as the national treasure it has always been.
The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and its FEMA Corps units engage 2,800 young Americans in a full-time, ten-month commitment to service each year. AmeriCorps NCCC members address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, and urban and rural development; FEMA Corps members are solely dedicated to disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery work.
The programs are administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). CNCS is the federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.
[Submitted by Sean Savage, Team Media Representative]
Independence National Historical Park (PA) GS-1601-11 Facility Management Systems Specialist
Dates: 12/13/2013 - 01/09/2014
Independence has issued an announcement for facility management systems specialist.
Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.
It closes on January 9th.