From the Guest Editor: Reflecting on the detail(s)

I am inspired to consider new ways of thinking about our parks, hopeful to see new opportunities for stewardship, energized to listen and partner, and inspired to think of new ways to make science a meaningful part of a park experience.

AS AN EDUCATION SPECIALIST with the Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center at Congaree National Park, South Carolina, I typically collaborate with park staff and partners to share “CongaReeSource” science and “CongaReeSearch” results with a wide variety of audiences. I love my job, but last spring I was thrilled to consider a summer–fall detail as guest editor for Park Science. I was excited about challenging the boundaries of my network and expertise. Now, preparing the final layout and with the privilege of hindsight, I find myself reflecting on what I learned along the way. The short summary is that the collaborative effort of editing is humbling.

The National Park Service cares for a tremendously diverse and dynamic suite of sites, resources, and programs. This responsibility is made more manageable, however, because of our collaboration with an equally diverse array of talented academic partners who help us to better understand our resources and ourselves. The studies presented here do not “happen” quickly, cheaply, or easily, but reflect the constant efforts of staff and partners to move our programs forward. While I often sense this at my own park, Park Science helps remind me that this collaboration operates on a grander scale, too.

As guest editor I was gently reminded of the effort that collaboration takes. I mean the honest kind of effort that is joyous and rewarding even as it can be uncomfortable and tiresome. I needed to learn—on a deadline—about topics like Gammarus, MWDS, and nitrogen reduction plans (all in this issue!) while delving into the minutiae of grammar, writing conventions, and style guides. Another dimension of effort involved working with diverse teams of authors who each bring their own expertise and voice. The artful challenge was to probe for clarity, flow, and efficiency without compromising that voice. As a whole, both dimensions of this work have been a healthy reminder of the challenges faced by visitors and students as they discover our parks. This is true both in terms of visitors’ own “learning curves,” as well as the sensitivities of respecting individual voices while dealing with scientific topics that need to be discussed with accuracy and precision.

Freeman Tilden, the great teacher of national park interpretation, describes humility as “the patience born of gratitude for the opportunity to have had an experience.” Looking at this layout, I am simply glad that I have had the opportunity to contribute to this collaborative effort. In the grand view of the diverse partnerships, studies, and voices represented here I find patience, born of gratitude, to strive harder in my NPS work. I am inspired to consider new ways of thinking about our parks, hopeful to see new opportunities for stewardship, energized to listen and partner, and inspired to think of new ways to make science a meaningful part of a park experience. I hope that you, too, will discover some detail of yourself in this issue.

David C. Shelley, Guest Editor


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This article published

Online: 6 May 2016; In print: 25 March 2016

URL

https://www.nps.gov/ParkScience/articles/parkscience32_2_2_editorial_3827.htm

Suggested citation

Shelley, D. C.. 2016. Reflecting on the detail(s). Park Science 32(2):2.

This page updated

5 May 2016

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