Saturday, March 20, 2010

Solo Saturday

The training wheels have come off and I think I did just fine.  I am the only manager on duty this weekend and even though it was a very warm day and there was a lot going on in the park, everything ran just fine.  I was nervous this morning when I looked at the schedule.  It didn't seem like there were very many people on the schedule compared to a weekday and one of those few people called out.  The park staff here is really wonderful though.  They know what they are doing and they do it well.  They have all been very helpful to me and they do a great job in the park.  They really made it easy for me today.
I felt much more park rangery today than I have since I started.  The office was quiet and there wasn't much office work for me to do.  I stayed out in the park for the majority of the day.  I took some time to get to know the main area of the park and checked in with park staff throughout the day to get to know what they do and to provide assistance as I could.  It was nice to talk to park visitors and see the sights.  It was just amazing to drive through the park this morning.  There are so many new views of the morning sun that I get to find!

I headed out to the youth camp area this morning because a volunteer event kicked off today.  The youth camp area has many many cabins (I don't have a map handy to give you the exact count) and they are being painted this week.  It is a huge task and really amazing that its all happening for free.  The paint and supplies were purchased with money donated for the project and the work is being done by volunteers.  We had one park staff member coordinating the event and she did a great job to keep everyone organized.  I walked the area this morning to see the "before."  This is the cabin that I stayed in when I was here for Ranger Academy in 2005.

I wasn't the only one walking the area.  There were some deer behind the cabins as well.  It was the day for deer sightings.  My dog had to wait to go outside this morning until a big buck and a doe decided to leave my backyard.

The mountain of paint supplies was amazing.  It was also impressive to see how quickly the work was being completed throughout the day.  I spoke to some pre-teen boys who were helping out.  They told me that they were having a lot of fun and it was WAY better than they thought it would be when their mom told them that they had to come.  All of the volunteers seemed to be having a good time.

When I made my way down to the spring area, people were just starting to arrive.  One group of people had been busy for quite a while.  They were doing a turtle survey.  They catch as many turtles as they can find with live traps and by hand, load them into a canoe and then measure, weigh, and mark them.  Its something that they have done here for several years so we are getting some great information about our turtle populations.  It was also an awesome opportunity for me to see which turtles are in this area.  Park visitors were enjoying the show as well.

I got to see another visitor to the spring.  This Blue Heron was right on the edge of the spring and staying very focused on the water.  I was surprised that it didn't seem to care about my movement on the sidewalk and even more shocked that the swimmers in the water didn't disturb it.  Herons usually startle easily and won't put up with nearby humans.  This one was apparently very focused on what he came to do... catch some fish!

Another area that I saw for the first time today was the nature center.  I was really impressed with all that they have fit into the tiny building.  In addition to the extensive collection of taxidermy pictured below, there were some live critters too.  I saw a small alligator in a very cool, kid freindly enclosure.  Children can crawl under the alligators tank and poke their head up through a glass dome to be face to face with the gator.  They also had some live corn snakes, anoles, and a young Gopher Tortise named Lucky who has a damaged leg from an encounter with a car.
Today was a great day.  I hope tomorrow is just the same.

Thought of the Day #96
At Troy Springs, I was the only ranger and I had one other part time person employed by the state.  So, technically, we had 1.5 employees at the park.  There were other people but they were volunteers or paid by another organization.  There were never more than 10 people working for Troy Springs though.  At Wekiwa, there are 25 people paid by the state on our work schedule.  There are A LOT more people working in and around the park though.  Our district office is at this location, which is an additional 10 people or so.  Then there are the volunteers, community service workers, and Americorps members as well.  It is alot to keep track of.  I am doing pretty well with names so far, but I'm sure it will take me a while to learn them all.


Paula said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour of the park. I can hardly wait for more that you find and share. As always, love the photos!

Understanding Alice said...

This is all so interesting! thank you and... keep blogging! I especially enjoyed the picture of the deer :)