“From climate change to civil rights, the job of the National Park Service is to stand behind and represent our nation’s most challenging stories.”

On the first day of what will be two weeks of seasonal staff training, one of my supervisors stood at the front of the thirty members of the Division of Interpretation and Education for the East side of Rocky Mountain National Park and said these words. I was struck and excited, reminded of exactly why (and how) I am excited by the Park Service and my role here as the Science Education Intern.

This last week has been a whirlwind of long days, note taking and research, as the entire department convenes for seasonal training and explore our relationships with one another, the Park, our jobs and roles. I’ve really valued this first week, with opportunities ranging from beginning to research our own programs to develop, to traveling through the tundra, to engaging with our counterparts on the Western side of the Park, because of the emphasis every single one of our supervisors has placed on value, originality and depth. It is incredible to be part of a team that strives not only to represent the Park to its visitors and use the natural beauty and significance of Rocky to unlock an appreciation for natural spaces and environmental protection, but also properly arming and empowering its staff.

Each supervisor, with precise training, workshops, resources and sessions has asked each of us on the staff to be reflective in regard to how we see ourselves and others and think critically about our mission and task. Even as I am daunted by the prospect of having just one more week of training before I have to give my very first public programs, I feel relaxed knowing I have been entrusted with a plethora of techniques, skills and trainings to help me feel comfortable — with myself, the resources, the park and leading programming. The level of care and warmth I feel from this team is a big shift coming from New York, but a welcomed one. I was happy for the short break of this weekend and the opportunity to explore some more of Rocky by myself, but I am delighted by the prospect of next week’s training.

Elk cow and baby spotted during one our training roves!

At our visit to the West side of the park near the portal town of Grand Lake. It was amazing to meet our counterparts and learn the similarities of our jobs, despite deep differences in the ecology of the two sides of the Continental Divide.

Views of the historic Holzwarth Ranch, a homestead operated within the West side of the Park located along the head waters of the Colorado River.

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