Over at Petrified Forest National Park, the Interpretation Division has a lot of work to do on the daily. My supervisor, Ricardo Escobar, who is a past Mosaics-In-Science intern has done work with school groups from all parts of the state. As I continue my internship, I’ve had to do some similar tasks such as run school groups and lead talks to inform the public about the park. As hard as public speaking might be for some people, Ricardo makes it look like walk in the park. He can connect with his audience and relay the message is trying to get across with no trouble.

From seeing him do his talks, I have begun to do some fossil talks under his supervision. Even though I’m nervous I am always reassured of my position as intern, and that I am here to learn. I started at the Rainbow Forest Museum which has most of our displays on the Triassic Era of the park along with a nice hike behind the building. The talk consists of introducing visitors to the paleontology of the park, so that they can be informed about our daily work in the park. This is an important talk since the visitors can touch the fossils and learn more about them some of them. One of the biggest misconceptions about the petrified wood is visitors thinking the wood was cut by people. During the fossil talk we address how petrified wood was broken from the uplifting of the Colorado Plateau. The talk helps us interpret the parks resources as well as find out more information about our visitors, so we may interpret the best material possible. The park has many themes, but to explain them correctly we must have reliable information to project this information. This is the career of an interpretive ranger every day. 

Interpretation materials for our fossil talk in top of a Petrified Log!

This park proves to be a great place for people with disabilities since they can not only access most of the park, but they can also feel the petrified wood in the hand and learn about the geologic history of it. Working in the park has gave me very meaningful experiences which I will not forget for the rest of my life. Being an interpretive ranger does not only mean to interpret the parks resources, but to reach all visitors in a meaningful way.

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