Living history account of American pioneering mountaineer, P.B. Van Trump by volunteer coordinator, Kevin Bacher. Photo by self

“The chief aim of Interpretation is not instruction, but provocation.” – Freeman Tilden

How did Mount Rainier come to be? How did the rocks get here? Why are there ridges in seemingly random areas?

Park ranger Curt Jacquot giving an interpretive walk through the Trail of the Shadows. Photo by self.

Park ranger Curt Jacquot giving an interpretive walk through the Trail of the Shadows. Photo by self.

These are some questions a park ranger seeks to answer, without listing off hard facts. My job this summer as a park interpreter is to be an artist and an educator. There’s a certain finesse required to inspire a sense of wonder and awe among park visitors, to instill stewardship among visitors to uphold the National Park Service’s mission:

“The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”

Park staff preparing for the upcoming two-weeks of training. Photo by self.

Curt Jacquot and Darby Robinson of park staff preparing for the upcoming two-weeks of training. Photo by self.

After two weeks of training, I will develop my own programs to present to the public. As a geology major, these programs will be centered on the geology of Mount Rainier and designed to compel park visitors to the history of the region. I aim to capture the young spirit within all of us. I aim to have visitors leaving with more than knowledge, but an experience that will further reach those they come in contact with.

Wherever you may be, I hope my message, and the message of the National Park Service, spreads to you like wildfire. Mount Rainier is a beautiful sight, but it’s origins are even more rich and beautiful.

Photo taken within the old-growth forest at Grove of the Patriarchs. Photo by Savannah Sanford.

Photo taken within the old-growth forest at Grove of the Patriarchs. Photo by Savannah Sanford.

Demonstration of a butterfly selectively choosing flowers to pollinate. Photos by NPS/Marc Blackburn.

Demonstration of a butterfly selectively choosing flowers to pollinate. Photos by NPS/Marc Blackburn.

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