Friday, July 31, 2009

Enjoy the View

Another day off and another one of my favorite trees. This poor tree is jutting out from a very steep river bank. To look at it, you would think that it is a branch that fell to the ground from a bigger tree and the leaves will die off any day. The scraggly little, crooked tree has had a larger tree fall on it, fishing hooks caught in it, children climbing in it, countless floods have left it completely submerged for weeks at a time, as well as being exposed to drought for long periods of time, yet it still lives on. It provides the only bit of shade for fishermen near the dock which is also a good fishing spot when the sun is hot and heavy. I love it because it provides a gorgeous focal point for down river views.
I also want to keep with my initial idea of sharing some information or answering questions on days off. Because I haven't gotten many suggestions, I will try to fill you in on topics that I think you might be wondering about. If you have any ideas for discussion or questions, please post them in the comments section. Don't be shy!
I obviously don't keep the whole park running by myself, it would kill me. I mention other people from time to time, but I don't want to invade their privacy so I don't talk about them specifically online. I would like to fill you in on the whole picture though. I am the only FTE or Full Time Employee at Troy, I am the only Park Ranger. There is also one OPS (Other Personnel Services) position assigned to Troy, a part time employee. We are the only two park employees. We have more help though. We have a handful of very dedicated volunteers who do just about everything that I do. They also put unique talents and skills at our disposal. Some volunteers live locally and come to the park to work a few days a week. Other volunteers are RVers. They exchange volunteer work for a stay in the park. We do not have a campground, but we have one volunteer host site for RVing volunteers. We also work with a program called Experience Works which is a national, charitable organization. The program provides low income seniors with training and employment. Experience Works pays an individual to come and work at the park. The person gets a job and training in all of the responsibilities at the park and we have some valuable help. Between the lot of us; myself, 1 OPS position, 2-6 volunteers, and up to 2 Experience Works employees we keep the park in top condition, make sure that visitors are happy and safe, and open and close the park. It takes more than that to keep the park running though. We also have support staff at a nearby park, Ichetucknee Springs. The Park Manager, the Assistant Park Manager, an Administrative Assistant, and a Park Biologist all work at Ichetucknee Springs, but they cover Troy Springs as well. I also have a separate Park Manager and Administrative Assistant that I work with regarding Adams Tract.
I hope that adds some light to the big picture that is my job.


Lorena said...

Here's a question - last night at dinner we were talking about job reviews, and how people get reviewed by a supervisor. Aunt Gay asked how you got reviewed, since there's nobody immediately above you on your property. I said that was a good question, and didn't know if the comment cards you talked about earlier had anything to do with your review process? So... how do you, or what process is it, for you to get a yearly job review? Do they just say "good job not burning the park down" or...?

Ranger Amy said...

Thanks for the timely question. I will wait to answer it until Thursday or Friday so that I have a topic for a day off. I will even go through that process soon because I just had an anniversary.

Anonymous said...

I thought I would help Amy answer your question. My name is Sherry McGowan and I am the Park Manager that oversees Troy and Ichetucknee Springs. I am a fan of the blog also as it reminds me of my time spent as a “Ranger” and all the fun stuff I got to do.

You are correct that it may seem difficult to evaluate an individual from a far, especially during “season” at Ichetucknee. This position requires an individual that is capable of performing the job expectations with minimum supervision and the incumbent is aware of that requirement prior to appointment. Evaluations are determined by site visits (not many of those lately since we are short staffed at Ichetucknee), dependability, paperwork, attitude, report cards, enthusiasm, creativity, good judgement, the ability to communicate effectively, maintenance skills, resource management skills, attention to detail and thoroughness. Though this may seem difficult to evaluate from afar, it really isn’t…complaints will sail in at break neck speed but compliments take a much more leisurely trip and sometimes don’t arrive at their destination at all. I guess what I am trying to say is the lack of complaints validates that Ms. Conyers is performing her job exceptionally well.

Amy is truly an “exceptional employee" and I am very grateful she is a part of our staff.