Thursday, August 6, 2009

Restful Day Off

I had a much needed day off today. I won't let you down though, I have a few photos to share with you that I took this week but didn't have room for yet on the blog. I also have a question to address from earlier this week.
The first three photos are of a Persimmon Tree. There are only a few in the park, and I am always reminded of this one because it grows right above the walkway that leads to the spring. The fruit falls when its ripe and splats a squishy mess right onto the walkway. If the fall wasn't enough force to squash the Persimmon into the sidewalk, somehow feet just can't avoid them and they get ground in even more... then the ants come. It is an inevitable mess every fall. The fruit in the photo is not yet ripe. It was knocked off of the tree during one of the last storms that we had and it was easily picked up. When the fruit ripens it becomes a pale, orangey-pink color. Persimmons are a popular food among wildlife and humans can eat them too. Their taste is similar to pumpkin. The bark of the tree is pretty distinctive because of its blockiness and the fruit falling to the ground is always a definite indicator of its identity as a Persimmon. I just read that they are very deeply rooted and that they are good for erosion control. That is something to keep in mind with our erosion troubles at the park. I might pick up some of the fruit and help to spread it around in some key areas, a job that is often done naturally by animals who eat the fruit containing the seeds and "drop" them later in another place.
The last two photos are just pretty views from closing the park on Tuesday. One is of the sunset from the river dock and the view up-river. The other is one of our favorite trees again. This time is has a pinkish glow to it from the light of the sunset.
The question, asked earlier in the week in the comments section, was about how my job performance is evaluated each year. As with any job, I do have annual performance evaluations. Though I work independently most of the time, I am evaluated by my supervisors who work at Ichetucknee Springs. My manager, Sherry, posted a nice note explaining what goes into her thought process during my evaluation. While my supervisors aren't physically watching me work, we communicate about things going on in the park, I work through problems with them, and they provide me with a lot of support when I have questions. Through our interactions, they really do have a pretty good idea of how I work... and now I have made it even easier on them because I am reporting to the world what I do every day!
Our evaluations do have an official format and we are rated in several areas with a traditional 1-5 below expectations, meets expectations but needs improvement, consistently achieves expectations, often exceeds expectations, and far exceeds expectations scale. The areas evaluated have to do with adhering to our agencies goals, working relationships, technical skills, dependability, self-direction, leadership, problem solving, and impact. Ideas that I think you would find in any job evaluation. Annually, my supervisors will assign a ranking for me in each of those areas and we will talk about what I can do to improve. This is often a good time to talk about additional skills and trainings to continue to progress in my career.
Thanks for the question, Lore! If anyone is curious about anything pertaining to being a ranger, please post your question in the comments section or e-mail me via the link in my profile.

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