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This past summer Oregon Caves National Monument hosted geosciences volunteers Peter Wojcik (UK) and Ove Meisel (Germany). Both geology students, Peter and Ove were seeking to enrich their academic experience during summer break by participating in the International Volunteers-in-Parks program. Peter’s main projects were geological mapping and developing a cross-section of rock types and structures. Ove completed a study of clastic cave sediments and sampled sediment cores for a future pollen analysis.
“This was the best summer of my life,” Ove said. For Ove, this position fulfilled an internship requirement for his degree program and provided an opportunity to improve his English. In addition to gaining practical work experience, Peter and Ove enjoyed many of the region’s highlights such as the Pacific coast, wild and scenic rivers, and nearby national parks through geological field trips and recreational outings. “The area’s natural beauty is amazing for an Englishman,” Peter said.
Hosting the international volunteers (IVIPs) was an overwhelmingly positive experience for the staff at Oregon Caves. Peter and Ove were extremely dedicated and capable, and their enthusiasm for the volunteer work and their stay in the US was contagious. The park hosted volunteers in the past from England, Scotland, and Canada, but had not hosted an IVIP in eight years. The hiring process, though initially intimidating, turned out to be very manageable and went smoothly, especially thanks to the support of Linda Bennett in the Office of International Affairs.