The Morning Report

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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Director's Office
Director Meets With Young Honorary Ranger

Director Jarvis and honorary NPS Ranger Gabriel Lavan-Ying, a participant in the Make-A-Wish program, had a chance to sit down and talk last week after a two-day NPS Advisory Board meeting at Grand Canyon and just before the director met with park and Albright Center staff.

Eight-year-old Gabriel, who lives in Gainesville, Florida, visited Yosemite earlier this year after expressing a desire to be a ranger through Make-A-Wish America, a foundation that grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.

During his day-long visit to Yosemite, park staff put Gabriel to work performing a variety of duties of a park ranger. He worked with the Yosemite fire crew to put out a wildland fire, went on a naturalist walk through Cook's Meadow with a park ranger, worked on a search-and-rescue operation involving an injured hiker, and assisted the Yosemite medical team in transporting the hiker to a waiting helicopter.

After Gabriel's full day of work, United States Magistrate Judge Michael Seng and Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher presided over the ceremony in which Gabriel became an honorary park ranger and also received a wooden park ranger plaque and a flag that was flown over Yosemite Valley.
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Office of Learning and Development
New FY15 Learning Event Catalog Released

Just in time to add to your Individual Development Plan, you now have a one-stop-shop to find learning opportunities across the NPS.

This interim learning event catalog helps you find some of those hard to locate events and previews one of the many features to come on the new Common Learning Portal -- an interactive, collaborative learning and development site scheduled to roll out in early FY16.

The learning and development community compiled a starting list of events offered regionally and Servicewide in FY15. This list is being updated on a bi-weekly basis as new opportunities arise and current events are updated, so check back regularly.

The list is located on a searchable PDF file whereby employees can search by key words, program areas, or type of learning event (i.e. webinar). For more information on how to use the catalog, please click the link below.

[Submitted by Laura Congdon]

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Kenai Fjords National Park (AK)
Teacher Workshop Introduces Ocean Literacy

The Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center (OASLC), in conjunction with the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC), recently hosted its annual teacher workshop in Seward, Alaska. 

From October 17th to October 19th, teachers from Palmer, Anchorage, Wasilla, Seward, Soldotna, and Anchor Point gathered at the ASLC to learn about the seven Ocean Literacy Principles

This year's workshop targeted elementary teachers and there were 29 in attendance. They received a mix of background content on ocean science and curriculum ideas for presenting this material to their students.

Speakers included Dr. Russ Andrews of ASLC sharing his data and experiences tagging marine mammals with dive and life history recorders, Rick Thoman of the National Weather Service discussing concepts such as El Nino and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and local commercial fisherwoman Rhonda Hubbard sharing what it is like to make your living from the ocean. 

Teachers were also treated to up-close, behind the scenes "Animal Encounters" with some of the marine life housed at the SeaLife Center, as well as learning about the marine features and issues of Alaska's National Parks.  Here's what some of the teacher's had to say about the workshop:

  • "I came with expectations and I was astounded at the quality of this workshop.  By far the most organized and informative of workshops I've attended in the last four years."
  • "I teach shoreline science but had never heard of the Seven Ocean Literacy Principles. They will be immediately incorporated into my curriculum."
  • "Excellent content, exceptional presenters."
  • "Great to meet and hear from scientists on the front lines."
  • "Best workshop I have been to, of any agency."
  • "Thank you so much for putting together this great class. I will never think of the ocean the same again.  You have helped me grow as a teacher and a citizen of the world."

The Ocean Alaska Science and Learning Center is dedicated to understanding and preserving the marine ecosystem that connects Alaska's National Parks through research and education.

[Submitted by Jim Pfeiffenberger,, 907-422-0502]

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United States Park Police
SFFO Horse Mounted Color Guard Places First In Competition

Congratulations to the San Francisco Field Office Horse Mounted Color Guard for an impressive showing and placing first in the Grand National Rodeo Color Guard Competition.

The team consists of Officers Eric Evans riding "Stoney", Irma Javier riding "Harley", Andrew Muller riding "Relentless Con", and Andrew Ewing riding "Dollar Bill."

By placing first in the competition, the unit earned the honor of leading the "Parade of Champions" consisting of over 75 horses of other color guard and drill team units during the opening ceremonies of the Grand National Rodeo event.

[Submitted by Major Noreen T. Schirmer, Commander, San Francisco Field Office]

Northeast Region
NERO Staff Learn New Customer Service Techniques

On October 16th, two dozen National Park Service employees learned that excellence in communications and public service go hand in hand while attending the Customer Service Workshop: Expectations, Communication, and Building Relationships.

The all-day training session, open to all employees, was sponsored by the Northeast Regional Office (NERO) and led by Gregory Lantz from the American Management Association.

"Whether you realize it or not, you are responsible for much of what makes success or failure in the field,” NERO Deputy Regional Director Jonathan Meade shared in his welcome remarks to the group. “There is an additional level of nuance in how we serve our customers." At the end of the day, excellence in communications improves our credibility as an agency.

Using hands-on training methods and take-home materials, the attendees learned to:

  • Identify internal and external customers
  • Better understand what customers expect and how to manage those expectations
  • Deliver better, faster service and increase satisfaction
  • Manage stress and emotion more effectively
  • Recognize personality typology, and apply practical techniques for communicating with different types of personalities

"I'm not going to inundate you with Power-Points, I'm going to inundate you with activity," said instructor Greg Lantz, whose career spans 30 years of sales, marketing, and executive training.

Many participants agreed that the training was very helpful. NER Architectural Historian Catherine Turton, who "never really had customer service training" in any of her other jobs, enjoyed the role-playing exercise.  "It's a lot more than I expected.  I would have loved if it were a two-day" event.

Students learned to diagram four major personality types-- director, socializer, thinker and peacemaker -- and how their own personalities matched those categories.  More importantly, they learned how to recognize personality types different from  their own, and behaviors of people associated with those types.  Finally, and most importantly, students learned how to apply that knowledge when interacting with others to improve communications and customer service.

The training was open to all NPS staff in the Philadelphia area and offered .6 continuing education units (CEU). The participants included rangers and staff from interpretation, budget, preservation, IT, and human resources.

[Submitted by Colin Betts,, 215-327-9859]


Midwest Region
GS-0025-13 Superintendent

Dates: 10/28/2014 - 11/10/2014

A job opportunity announcement has been issued for a superintendent for Pea Ridge National Military Park.

Please click on the link below to access the job opportunity announcement with full details on duties, area information and procedures for applying.

This announcement closes on November 10th.

[Submitted by Barbara Golden,, 402-+661-1642]

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Midwest Region
GS-0340-13 Superintendent

A job opportunity announcement has been issued for a program manager (superintendent) at Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument.

Please click on the link below to access the job opportunity announcement with full details on duties, area information and procedures for applying.

This announcement closes on November 10th.

[Submitted by Barbara Golden,, 402-661-1642]

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Outer Banks Group
GS-0401-12/13 Chief Of Resources Management

The Outer Banks Group (Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Wright Brothers National Memorial) is recruiting for a chief of resource management.

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

The closing date on this announcement is Wednesday, November 5th.
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