Last week was a great experience boost for me since I got to meet the high schoolers from the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) who work in the park to preserve and maintain park property. Along with my supervisor, Ricardo and I got to teach the YCC about the park’s geologic features. We went on a tour of the Blue Mesa trail to explain the color of the soil. This was my first time leading a group of students and teaching them about the park. Even though I was nervous, Ricardo reassured me that I was doing a great job and that I did not have much to worry about. The students were very active and funny, so it made me it better for me to talk in public about the parks feature.
This was a great step for me since it really showed me how to be an interpretive ranger in the field and how I should go about my crowd. Since last week I have been developing new skills to not only cater to a different audience, but to also learn how to improvise my talk based on the audience.
Along with conducting a field trip along the Petrified Forest National Park, we also led a trip to show the YCC crew more about the ecology of the surrounding areas. We took them to the Holbrook Water Treatment Plant along with going to Pintail Lake to show them some of the native and non-native birds that live here in Arizona. Along with exploring the ecology around the town they lived in, we also took them in a historic tour showing them Petroglyphs; an image created by removing part of a rock surface as a form of rock art. We saw many petroglyphs which tell the history of the people who lived there for thousands of years. Even though we have the petroglyph, it is very hard to interpret them to due lost history and number of different cultures in the area who have different meanings for them.
Overall this was a very interesting week that challenged my ability to interpret along with learning more about how to reach your audience more effectively. I am happy to be here at Petrified Forest National Park with such great co-workers who not only keep me busy, but constantly help become a better interpreter. I am enjoying my internship, but not looking forward to leaving such a great and wonderful place.