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Anchors Away!

Anchors Away!

Alexa Rose


I am Alexa recent graduate of a B.A in Anthropology and Classical Civilizations from Arizona State University. This summer I have the privilege of interning at the San Francisco Maritime Museum.

It has been a really fun first two weeks! I got to captain two historic boats out on the San Francisco Bay! One thing that I noticed is how excited people on the shore and on other boats get when they see these beautiful old boats.

Also, the views of the city while on the water are absolutely incredible.

But, even though I get to go on these incredible sails the day to day life down on Hyde Street Pier is a bit different. Most of the boats we work on live in the collection or are being repaired at the small boats shop. It could be anything from repainting boats, repairing historic fabric or sanding the seams and old paint. It is a really different type of conservation then I am used to. Small artifacts are so easy to access what the problems to conserve are, but on such a large artifact such as a boat the problems are not as easily seen and require ample planning in order to make the boat useable again.

The only problem I have had so far is the cold! Coming from sunny Arizona I have been wearing almost four layers to stay warm, but when sailing it sometimes still is not enough. Mark Twain was right when he said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

I think I will get used to the cold soon, at least that’s what everyone says! Honestly, it is all worth it when knowing that we are saving historic artifacts or as I like to say “saving the world conserving one rotting boat at a time”. Some highlights from the past few weeks have been watching the sea lions who live on the dock next to the small boats. They laze around everyday and sigh every time I come to clean the boats then swiftly take off into the water. They are so lazy I have nicknamed one of them “anchor”, but to his credit sometimes he does do a bit of yoga to stay fit!

One of the most inspiring parts of my internship was that I got to march with the Park Rangers from all around the Bay Area in the Pride Parade. As a person who identifies as part of the LGBT+ community the march made me feel welcomed and loved within the ranger community.

Well that is about all! Anchors away for me at the Maritime Museum and I will update all of you readers soon!

-Alexa Rose (“Captain” and Conservation Intern of the Small Boat Shop)

P.S. I think the Maritime Museum looks like a giant smiley face.

Boston, its not just a Band

Boston, its not just a Band

by: Danielle Kronmiller

When I arrived in Boston, my basic familiarity with the city was sourced from various history books and the classic rock band that takes its name. Now, nearing the end of my second week here as the Curator’s Assistant with Boston National Historical Park, I can happily report that my foremost familiarity has come from first-hand experience, and I am loving every bit of it!

View of Downtown Boston from one of the piers in
Charlestown Navy Yard, where I am living and working

Before sharing more about my experiences here so far, I think it is important that we officially meet. My name is Danielle Kronmiller, and I graduated with a Master’s in Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland this past December. Prior to my journey across the Atlantic, I received my Bachelor’s degree in History from Truman State University in my home state of Missouri. I have worked in a special collections library, on exhibitions, and in various behind-the-scenes and front of house capacities within museums. My primary responsibility as the ACE CRDIP Curator’s Assistant intern is assisting with the annual inventory of the Park’s museum collections of over 400,000 objects, and I couldn’t be more excited to take it on!

Dry Dock 1 at Charlestown Navy Yard

My initial introduction to the project was a tour of collections storage, housed in an appropriately historic building. The Boston National Historical Park manages and partners with properties all over Boston, including Downtown, South Boston, and – the home base of my project – the Charlestown Navy Yard. In operation from 1800 to 1974, the Charlestown Navy Yard boasts one of the nation’s first dry docks for ship repair and is the present home of the USS Constitution – the Navy’s oldest commissioned ship – and the USS Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer. Many of the Naval buildings are preserved, managed, and used by BNHP. The Park’s collections encompass much of the Navy Yard’s history, including photographs, archival materials, shipyard materials and more, as well as collections that relate to the other sites connected to the Park. It has been enlightening learning about the collections while living and working in the Charlestown Navy Yard; though they are now properly stored and preserved as museum objects rather than used as working materials, they live within their original context, giving me a stronger appreciation of the site as a once functioning shipyard for the U.S. Navy. (Check out for more, or I will definitely keep writing…)

The USS Constitution docked at Charlestown Navy Yard

It is important to use white cotton gloves when handling many museum objects to prevent the transfer of harmful oils and residue from your hands

Getting (gloved) hands on with the management of such an extensive and varied collection has been a wonderful learning experience so far, and we are only in the beginning stages. The purpose of the annual inventory is to ensure accountability and proper collections management here at the Park. It involves locating an extensive list of objects and records within the collections generated by the Park’s collections database, checking their condition, and updating their documentation. In some cases, the inventory lists do not already include the location information for an item, and it was up to the curator and I to determine the location. The first few days of my internship were spent cross-referencing the computer database with manual catalog information including catalog cards, accession books and accession files to develop the list of locations to check when going into the collection stores.

What is an accession in the context of museum collections? The addition of a new item to an existing collection, by loan, gift, purchase or field collection. Museum collections, and the processes for managing them, were established long before we had computers, and it is vital to maintain up to date paper files in addition to our modern databases. They provide an invaluable back up of information, and they are often extremely helpful in determining additional knowledge about collections. Following the initial creation of the location list, I went back through accession files for particular accessions and objects to find out more about them, like their catalog numbers, and what they look like – very helpful when looking for one insignia pin in a drawer of many!

After generating the inventory lists, we were able to move into the stores and begin looking for our objects, a process that, as you can imagine within a collection so large, takes some time! Referencing back to the inventory lists, the curator and I commenced with archival records, often locating individual documents within boxes of many papers. This process speaks to the immense importance of documentation within museums. Proper documentation makes access possible, whether locating an object to put on exhibition in one of the Park’s museums or visitor centers or finding a specific pamphlet to answer a researcher’s question. The things that go on behind the scenes ensure you are able to have an interesting learning experience when visiting the Park or other museums!

Using manual catalog cards and accession files to add to the inventory lists

Once we locate an object, we confirm that the information on file is correct, make updates if necessary, check its condition, and continue on in this process that will endure through the summer. Though it may sound repetitive, it is fascinating to see and handle such a variety of historical artifacts. From old photographs, to architectural drawings, to massive anchor chains, I have seen and learned much more in this first week and a half than I could have imagined – and that’s just working on the inventory!

Part of the experience of being an ACE CRDIP intern is visiting other National Park Service sites and cultural repositories in the area. One of my favorite experiences thus far has been my visit to the Boston African American National Historic Site. I visited the Museum of African American History and toured their current exhibit on Frederick Douglass who is, as I discovered, the most photographed American of the 19th century. Even more interesting was discovering the intentionality Douglass, famed orator and abolitionist, maintained in the way he was photographed. In addition to the exhibit, I received a tour of the African Meeting House, a central location of the historic African American community and abolitionists in Boston.

The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial, the starting point for the Black Heritage Trail tour

Following my visit to the museum, I took an hour and a half walking tour, guided by an NPS ranger, of the Black Heritage Trail. The trail leaves from the Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Memorial at the edge of Boston Common and traverses through the Beacon Hill neighborhood, the home of the free black community of Boston in the 19th century. This has been the most striking site visit I have made so far. The tour covered topics of abolition, equal schooling, the Underground Railroad, and more, introducing me to fascinating historical figures that, otherwise, I would never have known. The Black Heritage Trail tour highlights an incredibly important aspect of Boston’s, and the nation’s, history that is so often glanced over in textbooks and shadowed by the spotlight of more widely known historic sites in the city. Emphasizing diversity in history is fundamental – there are so many stories to tell in order to weave together the whole complicated tapestry. If ever in Boston, the Black Heritage Trail tour should be on your list.

My very thematic blogging set up

Though I could go on and on about my experiences up to now, I suppose I need to save a bit for future posts and keep this at a reasonable length! Nearing the end of two weeks in this new city, I am simultaneously feeling like a seasoned Bostonian and marveling at all I have yet to discover and experience. I am eager to continue the inventory process and delve further into the BNHP’s collections, and I cannot wait to explore more historic and cultural sites here in Boston. On top of it all, I look forward recording and sharing my experiences here, and hope that I am able to truly convey the excitement and history that surrounds me here!

Meet Me, My Park, and My Rocks

Meet Me, My Park, and My Rocks

by: Mariah Walzer

Trying on my Dad’s old Park Service hat

Hello everyone and welcome to the world of archaeology at Monocacy National Battlefield! First up, a couple quick introductions. My name is Mariah Walzer, and I am the Archaeological Research and Cultural Resource Management Intern at Monocacy this summer. I graduated from Hamilton College in 2017 with my Bachelor’s in archaeology and creative writing. I love getting my hands dirty and geeking out about old things. My dad is a retired National Park Ranger, so I’m excited to be continuing the family legacy!

A display at the Visitor Center. The quote reads: “Here was a race between the two great contending forces, the state of which was the capital of the nation, its treasure and its prestige.” – Civilian Glenn Worthington


Second introduction: the park! Monocacy National Battlefield is located just outside of Frederick, Maryland. It’s the site of an 1864 Civil War battle and also a camping place for Union and Confederate troops in 1862 and 1863. The Battle of Monocacy is not well-known, but was quite important to the outcome of the war. In short, Confederate troops were marching towards Washington D.C., and Major General Lew Wallace, with vastly outnumbered and largely unexperienced Union troops, held them off for a day, just enough time for Union reinforcements to arrive in D.C. to protect the nation’s capital. Who knows what would have happened if the Confederate Army had not been delayed and succeeded in capturing Washington?

Map of Monocacy National Battlefield. From the Monocacy National Battlefield website.

In addition to the Civil War history, Monocacy also showcases agricultural life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including slavery at L’Hermitage farm. Much of my work so far also involves the Native American artifacts found in the park, which date back more than 10,000 years ago. This is one of the things that I really love about archaeology: getting to discover and tell the stories of people who don’t have their own voice in history, the lesser known stories of a place.

I started my internship almost two weeks ago now, and I have been busy busy busy. The big project we’re working on right now is completing ASMIS surveys for the park. Essentially, this means going around to known archaeological sites and checking on them, making sure no one is digging or vandalizing them and looking for any artifacts that may have moved to the surface in the last year. Thankfully, the sites have all been in good condition so far, and we’ve found a few artifacts too!

View of Best Farm, also known as L’Hermitage. In 1800, this farm was home to ninety enslaved persons, the second largest population of slaves in Frederick County. Photo from the Monocacy National Battlefield Facebook page.

View of Thomas Farm from my living quarters. The building to the far right, most hidden by trees, is where I work on the days I’m in the office.

Taking notes on a projectile point we found during survey. This is the bottom of a Savannah River Point which dates somewhere between 3650 BC and 1525 BC.

When we find projectile points, I try to identify what type they belong to. Archaeologists group projectile points from a specific region by shape and size to create categories, known as types. Because we know roughly when each type of point was common, we can then use the projectile point types we find to date a site.

Another project I worked on last week was creating a display of stone tools for the Visitor Center. I identified the tools, wrote labels and little informational blurbs for them, and then used PowerPoint to design the layout of the whole display. It was fun putting my museum studies knowledge to work!

Laying out the artifacts for the display – five projectile points, a piece of groundstone broken in two, and a cupstone (a form of groundstone with a cup-shaped indentation).

I used PowerPoint to design the layout for the artifacts and accompanying text. PowerPoint is great because it allows you to make your slide fit the size of the display, so you can know exactly how much space every piece takes up.

I suppose now would be as good a time as any to go through some vocabulary that may come up:

  • Lithics – stone tools, including projectile points and groundstone
  • Projectile points – the term archaeologists use for the pointed tools that tip arrow and spear shafts, commonly known as “arrowheads”
  • Groundstone – stone that has been smoothed and shaped either for a specific purpose (like an axe or mortar and pestle) or through use (like a flour grinding stone)
  • Flake – a small piece of stone that is knocked off when making stone tools
  • Biface – a stone tool that has flakes taken off on two sides
  • Uniface – a stone tool that has flakes taken off on only one side
  • Ceramics – pottery of any kind
  • Sherd – a broken piece of pottery or glass
  • Survey – a systematic way of looking for artifacts or sites, usually on the surface; often a survey involves walking across an area in straight, parallel lines evenly spaced apart

Archaeologists use a lot of jargon, so feel free to leave me a comment if I ever use a term that you’re unfamiliar with, and I’ll be happy to define it for you!

That’s all for now!

Phoenix Field School Week 7: Aquatic Invasive Species Management

Project Location: Arivaca, Arizona

Project Partner: University of Arizona and US Fish and Wildlife Service

Hitch Accomplishments:  Removal of 6,988 invasive bullfrog tadpoles from critical habitat for the listed and endangered species.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018: For week seven of the 16-week Phoenix Field School program, the crew headed to southern Arizona to assist the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and research biologists from the University of Arizona (UA) with conducting vital aquatic invasive species management with the capture and removal of the invasive American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianu) to help native and endangered species, such as the endangered Chiricahua leopard frog, and the Northern mexican gartersnake flourish (species whose numbers have been drastically impacted and deteriorated due to predation from the invasive American bullfrog). On Tuesday morning, the crew met at ACYR at 7:00 a.m. and after conducting the weekly truck and trailer maintenance check, began the long drive down to Arivaca, AZ, located less than 20 miles from the US-Mexican border. After meeting with the Chris and Jace, field biologists from the UA (this week’s project sponsors), the crew dropped off the trailer at the campground located in Coronado National Forest before heading to the worksite. At the worksite – a cattle tank located 10 minutes southeast of the crew campsite- the crew conducted stretch and safety circle, led by Douglas, this week’s co-hitch leader. The crew then learned how to properly operate the seine net, as well as how to identify and handle the invasive and non native tadpoles and mosquito fish.  Chris and Jace demonstrated how to position and operate the net as well as how to move swiftly while handling the wildlife. After conducting a seine run, the crew collected the captured specimens. The mosquito fish were temporarily returned to the pond in order to reduce the number of mosquitoes present during the warmer months. Mosquito fish are also an introduced species in Arizona and are an unfortunate competitor to the endangered Gila topminnow. Both fish species appear the same and serve similar roles in the environment, however mosquito fish are cannibalistic and will ingest their young. Gila topminnow young will mistake adult mosquito fish as parents or a part of their community and end up being ingested which results in a major depletion to the native fish species population. Federal and state land agencies work together with ranchers to procure topminnow for tanks, though the process can be challenging and expensive due to its endangered status. The bullfrog tadpoles were removed from the net by the crew members and placed in five gallon buckets with water before further removal. The crew broke for lunch around 1pm before getting back to work around 1:30pm. The crew continued on working together with repeated hauls of the seine net across the tank until  5:00 p.m., removing 4007 with 14 seine net passes. The crew returned to the campsite, set up tents and the cooking area and debriefed the day. The crew enjoyed a dinner of grilled cheese and spinach orzo soup and awed at the glittery shimmer of the night sky.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018:  The Field School crew began their Wednesday workday at 8:30 am with a stretch and safety circle led by Douglas  prior to driving down to the day’s worksite (two tanks that had not yet been visited). Two passes with the seine net produced no finds (neither mosquito fish nor tadpoles) in the first tank. One pass produced no finds in the second tank. The crew decided to let the net dry out in the sun prior to returning to the larger tank from the previous day that yielded a large number of invasive tadpoles. While waiting for the net to dry, the crew took discussed the FWS Safe Harbor Agreement, as well as other initiatives that would encourage private landowners to modify or remediate parts of their property to accommodate endangered and native animals species. Once the net was dried, the crew returned to the tank from the previous day meeting  up with two BLM ACE interns, Kam and Sarah who came to join the project efforts. The crew, along with Kam and Sarah, jumped right back into project mode and began completing 11 seine passes collecting and removing 1124 invasive tadpoles before calling it a (successful) day and returning to camp for a dinner of coconut curry.

Thursday, March 8, 2018:  On Thursday morning, the crew began the workday once again at 8:30am with stretch and safety and returned to same stock tank to put in a final full day of work. The crew continued pulling tadpoles from the net and returning mosquito fish to the pond. The occasional juvenile bullfrog was scooped up and taken aside and disposed of by those who were comfortable with the task. The crew was met by BLM ACE interns and Field School Alumni, Kam and Sam around 11:00 am who assisted in the hauling of the seine net and the removal of the captured tadpoles. The crew broke for lunch around noon for thirty minutes before putting in three more hours of work, collecting and removing 1857 invasive tadpoles with 15 seine net passes. Kam and Sam assisted until they needed to leave at 2:00pm to return to the BLM. The crew continued until 3:30pm when Chris, UA Field Biologist and project sponsor declared a successful day and that the crew had already saved him and his field partner a solid month or so of labor. After saying thank yous and goodbyes, the crew headed back to camp as Chris headed back to Tucson to input the project data.  The crew settled down for the night, debriefing the project and the work week. The crew discussed different perspectives regarding invasive species management as well as the overall nature of plant and wildlife management. The crew ate a quick dinner of creamy avocado pasta, cleaned up camp, drove to a vantage point and enjoyed a beautiful sunset before returning to camp for some hot chocolate and laughs. The crew went to bed with some hot nalgenes for warmth for the chilly desert night to be ready for an early rise the next day.

Friday, March  9, 2018: On Friday morning, the Field School crew was up and at ‘em at 5:30am to break down camp, eat breakfast, pack lunch and road snacks and participate in Douglas’s education lesson on locating missing persons in the backcountry. After taking up the truck and trailer, the crew began the drive back to Phoenix, arriving at the BLM around lunch time. The crew separated to take on the various tasks of their first complete de-rig and finished up entirely by 2:30 pm. Afterwards, BLM Youth Coordinator, Lawrence and Associate District Manager, Patrick met with the students and debriefed the project and week before heading back to ACYR to complete timesheets to conclude the work week.


Phoenix Field School Week 6: Campground and Trails Stewardship

Grand Canyon South Rim Trail and Campground Stewardship and Maintenance

Project Location: Grand Canyon National Park

Project Partner:  National Park Service (NPS)

Hitch Accomplishments:  Collected and disposed of 61.4 lbs. of microtrash; Cleaned 174 campsites/firepits.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018:

This week, the Phoenix Field School headed northward to Grand Canyon National Park, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, to assist the National Park Service (NPS) with completing vital annual site stewardship efforts in the Park’s campground, visitor areas, and trails on the South Rim. Through completion of these projects, the Field School members directly aided the NPS with critical habitat management in high visitor use areas by removing micro-trash and litter that may endanger the health of the Park’s wildlife, such as the endangered California Condor which often mistake micro-trash as food which they cannot digest. The crew also completed routine maintenance of campground sites  by removing excess ash from fire pits at the popular Mather Ground helping keep the sites clean and enhancing the park experience for visitors. The Field School crew arrived at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by 8:00 am on Tuesday morning after spending the night in Flagstaff Monday night to ensure an early arrival to the park for the start of the week’s project. After checking into the Park’s volunteer cabins, the crew’s homestead for the week, the students performed a stretch and safety circle, team building activity, and headed to the South Rim while waiting to meet with the project sponsor for the day’s work project. For Tuesday’s project, the crew worked around the South Rim Visitor Center and the famous Mather Point, collecting and removing 28.5 lbs of micro trash, while getting to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Grand Canyon.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018:

On Wednesday morning, the Field School crew headed to the Park’s Headquarters at 8:30 am for an hour long presentation regarding the impacts of micro-trash in the park as well as the impact of lead toxicity and bioaccumulation in wildlife due to micro-trash consumption, particularly in California condors who often end of dying of starvation or impaction as they cannot digest micro trash. Afterwards, the crew traveled to Desert View and hiked around with the NPS project sponsors learning more about the Park’s diverse resources before breaking for an early lunch. After lunch, the crew jumped into project mode and picked up micro-trash for several hours around the Desert View visitor center, parking lot and Watchtower enjoying the views of the canyon despite the cold temperature. On the way back to Park Headquarters for the close of the day, the crew stopped at Grandview Point, site of the first place on the rim to be developed for tourists, including a hotel, back in 1895, though now it is home to the trailhead of the Grandview Trail. After scouring the area for microtrash, properly disposed of the day’s collected 32.9 lbs. of micro trash.

Thursday, March 1, 2018:  

On Thursday morning, the Field School crew headed to the Park Headquarters for an hour long educational presentation on how the park is making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint (Park received over 6 million visitors in 2017!) by improving their trash disposal practices by transitioning to a single stream waste disposal system that would be sorted and processed at the park. After the presentation, the crew met with NPS Park Maintenance Staff, Dwayne and Mary, and followed them to the Mather Campground. After conducting the day’s safety circle,  the students paired up to remove limestone and excess ash from campsites and fire pits. Park visitors often throw limestone into the fire pits under the assumption that the heat may intensify or last longer or will also bury their fires with rocks thinking the flames will be extinguished. However, limestone does not hold much heat and rather will crack, crumble, and create excess matter that needs to be removed. Throughout the day’s project, the crew had the opportunity to observe several members of one of the Park’s most famous inhabitants, Rocky Mountain Elk (nonnative to Grand Canyon, introduced in the early 20th Century for game). The crew kept a safe distance from the present elk as they removed limestone and excess ash  from 174 campsite fire pits of the total of 184 sites within three of the campground’s main loops (Aspen, Fir, and Juniper). Ten sites were skipped as they were either occupied by campers or elk. By completing maintenance ad stewardship of three of the seven loops (a total of 326 campsites), the Field School crew helped save the Park’s maintenance staff nearly a week and a half of labor, helping ensure that the campground sites were maintained and safe for upcoming visitor use.

Friday, March  2, 2018:

On Friday morning, the Field School crew started the day by “breaking down camp,” conducting a thorough cleaning of the cabins generously provided by the NPS before heading over to the park’s Emergency Response Center at 9:30am. Here the crew participated in an hour long educational presentation learning about the requirements necessary to conduct search and response and how the NPS responds to medical emergencies in the park throughout the year. Also, the students were able to see and learn more about the rescue equipment used by the Park.  The students, with their WFA training, were able to be fully engaged in the tour and lessons. Additionally, the students learned more about how to begin a career with the NPS, highlighting volunteering and internships as opportunities to gain practical work experience and networking with the agency. After bidding goodbye to the Grand Canyon NP and the week’s project sponsor’s, the crew stopped by the South Rim Visitor Center to participate in an educational lesson led by Field School member, Jeff regarding animal tracking before beginning the long drive back to Phoenix for the close of the week.

Phoenix Field School Week 5: Wildland Chainsaw and Off-Road Vehicle Training

Project Location: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Phoenix District Office and Agua Fria National Monument

Project Partner:  Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fire Program

Hitch Accomplishments: S-212 Wildland Chainsaw Training and Off-Road Vehicle (OHV/ATV) Training

Tuesday, February 20, 2018:  This week, the Phoenix Field School crew, in their 5th week of the program, completed the S-212 Wildland Chainsaw Training course led by the BLM Phoenix District Fire Program. This hands-on training course is designed to train and prepare individuals for proper use and maintenance of saws for resource and field projects. The hands-on course includes 16 hours of classroom instruction followed by a practical field training day.  On day one of the classroom instruction take the BLM Phoenix District Office, the Field School learned about the specific safety requirements for saw work including: identifying sources for chainsaw regulations and standards; examining Job Hazard Analyses (JHAs) associated with saw work; defining appropriate chainsaw PPE, and identifying situational awareness. Additionally, throughout the day, the students learned hands-on about the different chainsaw parts and associated maintenance and operation (including identifying basic chainsaw parts, adjustments) of tools and supplies to support chainsaw operation and use.  In the afternoon, the Field School began learning about fireline construction and Mop Up, defining the duties and responsibilities of the sawyer and swamper, explaining the tactical application of chainsaw use and methods in fireline and mop projects. It was a lot of new and exciting information but the crew’s previous wildland firefighting training experience (Week 2) allowed them to have a solid foundation going into the chainsaw training this week!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018:  On Wednesday, the Field School crew met at BLM for day two of the S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaw training course. After briefly reviewing the lessons from yesterday, the students began learning about the various chainsaw techniques including proper methods and applications as well as common errors in saw work and how to prevent and mitigate such issues. The crew covered the following saw techniques: chainsaw handling, bucking, limbing, brushing, slashing and felling. Much of the day was committed to theoretical application of these techniques to prepare the students for tomorrow practical field cut day.

Thursday, February 22, 2018:  On Thursday morning, the Field School crew traveled to the BLM managed Agua Fria National Monument (located north of Phoenix, AZ) for the field day of the S-212 training course to practice handling and cutting with saws. In addition to gaining hands-on experience handling and running a saw, the site of the training is an active juniper thinning project working to restore the original grassland habitat of the Monument for Sonoran pronghorn migration. Throughout the day, each student worked alongside the BLM instructors with assistance with Crew Leader, Ian to practice surveying, limbing, bucking, and making face cuts. The students rotated tasks getting considerable amount of hands-on training and mentoring with instructors and Ian to put the classroom learning into practice. Despite the chilly winter weather and wind on the Monument, the crew practiced their new skills  sawing and stacking fuel piles for the habitat restoration effort. Then, the crew packed up saws and headed back to the BLM office to complete saw maintenance including sharpening chains, cleaning powerheads, filing and cleaning bars, and checking filters, spark plugs and grease bearings.. After debriefing the week’s training, the crew received their S-212 certifications.

Friday, February 23, 2018:  On Friday, the Field School crew participated in another program training course – Off Road Vehicle (OHV and ATV) training. After meeting at the BLM at to rig up, the crew traveled a half hour north to the Ben Avery Shooting Range, the AZ Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) OHV training site.  The crew began the morning with a pre-ride safety inspection checklist for the ATV/UTVs. Once all Off Road vehicles were inspected and proved to be in safe, working order, the instructors went over safety expectations and required PPE for OHV use. Then, the crew participated in a variety of practical driving exercises learning how to operate and safely maneuver the ATV/UTVs. After lots of practice on the even ground of the training course, the students advanced to safely maneuvering over uneven surfaces driving up and down steep hills, over rocky and uneven surfaces, and through water and mud.

Phoenix Field School Week 4: Leave No Trace and Wilderness First Aid Training

Project Location: Hackberry Springs Trail, Superstition Mountains, Tonto National Forest; Phoenix College

Project Partner: Phoenix College Outdoor Adventure Skills Instructor, Dave Brown (Leave No Trace Training); SOLO Wilderness Medicine, (Wilderness First Aid Training)

Hitch Accomplishments:   Completion of Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification Training; Leave No Trace Field Training; Introduction to Backcountry/Wilderness  Backpacking and Camping

Tuesday, February 13, 2018: Following last week’s completion of the BLM Wildland Fire Training, the Phoenix Field School crew headed into the backcountry this week to first complete Leave No Trace Training (LNT) and then Wilderness First Aid (WFA). On Tuesday morning, the crew met bright and early at ACYR and were ready to leave for the Superstition Mountains by 8:00am. After braving a little sprinkle of precipitation, the crew arrived at the Hackberry Springs Trailhead by 9:40 a.m. After divvying up gear, backpacks packed, boots on, the crew was ready to hit the trail! The crew hiked in three miles and were able to enjoy the incredible desert scenery as well as discuss wilderness trail maintenance along the way.  After arriving at the designated campsite by 12:30pm, the crew broke for a lunch. and then scouted the surrounding canyons for a water source. After first only finding a shallow pool, the crew came upon the spring which was teeming with plentiful water (and tadpoles). The crew relaxed knowing there was fresh water nearby as they all were initially skeptical of being encouraged to leave behind extra full water bladders that took up unnecessary room in their packs and added unnecessary weight. Following lunch, the crew gathered around the spring and discussed methods of purification and participated in a demo of Aquamira (a chlorine based chemical purifier) and the Katadyn 6L gravity filter. Following the lesson the crew enjoyed their fresh water and returned to camp to conduct a lesson on tarp shelters. The crew learned to construct a lean to and A-frame tarp shelter without the need for trees. Using a tarp, some cordage, stakes, and trekking poles the crew learned to assemble the items using clove hitches, trucker’s hitches, deadman anchors, and a cow hitch. The crew participated in the setup of the A-frame as it was being taught and then applied all of the knowledge learned in order to work together to construct a lean to. The crew discussed pros and cons and scenarios in which either would be useful as well as what other items that could be used in order to improvise. As the lesson was wrapping up, Phoenix College, Outdoor Adventure Skills Instructor, Dave Brown and his daughter Carolan arrived, greeted us and set up camp. Once they were settled, the crew circled up and began their LNT lessons. One by one the crew went around sharing their subjects. The lessons lasted well into the evening and concluded after dark. While the crew was conducting their lessons and discussing backcountry etiquette with Dave and exchanging stories, Ian prepped a dinner for the crew consisting of dehydrated refried beans and instant rice. After a lively dinner, the crew cleaned up camp and retired for the night.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018: Phoenix Field School had a relaxing and gradual start to the day on Wednesday morning, waking up between 7:30am and 8:00 am ready to take on the day. After a breakfast of oatmeal and instant coffee, the crew broke down their tents and packed their bags. David chatted with the crew about the upcoming semester and future pursuits/ interests before finishing his breakfast and hitting the trail along with his daughter back to the trailhead. The crew stuck behind at the campsite/LNT outdoor classroom a bit longer in order to go over a backcountry stove lesson in which they received a demonstration of the MSR Whisperlite and Pocket Rocket and Snow Peak LiteMax. They discussed the pros, cons, and applications of each as well as typical field maintenance and cooking protocols. Once water was boiled, the crew then participated in a backcountry dish cleaning demonstration in which the water was strained, food particles disposed of in a trash bag and grey water dumped in a pre-dug sump hole. Once the dishes were clean, the sump hole was filled, the crew swept the camp for micro-trash, enjoyed a final Chocolove bar, adjusted their packs and began the hike out to the trailhead. Once the crew arrived at the trailhead, they broke for lunch before returning to Phoenix. The crew returned to ACYR by 1:45pm and all got situated in the computer lab and worked on the online training portion of their OHV/UTV course (the field training day will be next week). Within two hours time, all crew members all were certified. The crew concluded the day with discussing logistics for the remainder of the week and were lined out with expectations for upcoming two day Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course.

Thursday, February 15, 2018:  On Thursday morning, the Field School crew, joined by three ACE BLM Phoenix District interns and four ACE AmeriCorps Conservation Corps members from Flagstaff, met at Phoenix College at 7:45 am and got settled into the classroom.  This week’s WFA training was taught by Mike Englund, a SOLO WFA  instructor with the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association. After going over introductions, Mike went over the expectations of the scenario-based WFA training which focuses on the basic skills of assessing and responding to various medical injuries and emergencies while in an outdoor, wilderness setting. During day one of the training,  Field School Students learned about surveying the scene, patient assessment, charting vitals, emergency and evacuation plans, spine and head injuries, shock, and wilderness wound management. The students worked together during team-based scenarios to correct assess and respond to the different types of medical emergencies and injuries while in a field setting, as well as how to to perform traction on fractured long bones, receiving a demonstration of how to splint and stabilize fractures.

Friday, February 16, 2018:  On Friday morning, the students met again at Phoenix College by 7:45 am for the second and final day of the WFA training course. The crew dove deeper into SAMPLE Hx, medical concerns, environmental exposure (heat and cold illness, allergies, burns, cuts, gashes, abrasions, blisters, and the what not. The crew practiced a wide variety of bandaging procedures. The day concluded with an elaborate scenario in which four groups (1 victim, 1 primary, and 1 secondary each) had to go through the complete routine of scene size up, patient assessment, treatment, and evacuation. Once finishing the scenario, the crew debriefed and returned to the classroom to take their final quiz, receive their certificates, and tidy up the room. The crew thanked Mike for the course, debriefed the week before breaking for the week.

Phoenix Field School Week 3: Conservation Trails Training

Project Location: Black Canyon National Recreational Trail

Project Partner:  Bureau of Land Management, Hassayampa Field Office; Black Canyon Trail Coalition; ACE Trails Program.  

Hitch Accomplishments: Trail maintenance and restoration of 20 meters of multi-use trail.  Trail Skills; Back-Slope establishment; Corridor Brushing; Vegetation removal; Rockwork; Crush and Fill; Bench widening; Tread leveling; Tool Maintenance;

Tuesday, February 6, 2018:

This week, the Phoenix Field School crew  hit the trail for their first full field project week! On Tuesday morning, the students met at ACYR at 8:00 am and set off to the BLM Phoenix District Office to rig up the trailer with all tools and supplies and touch base with the BLM staff before heading out to the project site.  The crew arrived at the Black Canyon City Trailhead of the Black Canyon National Recreational Trail (BCNRT) at 9:45 am and met with ACE National Trails Coordinator and Trainer, Mark Loseth who would be working with the crew with learning and developing practical trail skills. With packs on and tools in hand, the crew hiked over 2.5 miles to the worksite on the BCNRT. At the worksite, the crew met with project sponsor with the Black Canyon Trail Coalition, Bob Cothern to discuss in-depth project expectations for the trail project. After inspecting and assessing the 20-meter stretch of trail and determining the needs and priorities, under the guidance of ACE Trails Trainer Mark and ACE Crew Leader, Ian, the crew set to work. Throughout the afternoon, Mark and Ian worked closely with each crew member to provide one-on-one instruction and support on as the crew members performed the trail maintenance which included leveling the bench, chipping through stone, proper rockbar and doublejack use and technique, learning how to preserve the critical edge, and establishing backslope and widening of the tread. As the afternoon progressed, it became clear that the rest of the week’s projects would be heavy with rock work on the trail section! Around 3pm, the crew created a tool cache and began the hike  back out to the trailhead. Upon arriving at trailhead, after assessing possible campsites, the crew exchanged goodbyes with Mark and Hannah who headed back up to the ACE office and began setting up camp, learning how to properly pick a tent site and about the different camp spike equipment. After enjoying a dinner of burgers, the crew, sore, happy, and well-fed, headed into their tents for a good (and well-deserved) night sleep.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018:

On Wednesday morning, the Field School crew started the workday at  7:00am. After conducting a thorough foot check to wrap any blisters and hot spots acquired during the previous day’s hikes, the crew conducted a safety circle before hiking the 2.5 miles to the worksite. With PPE on, the crew members grabbed tools from the cache and got to work on the trail! Douglas and Jeff took on chipping away at a solid band of granite that divided the dense strata of shale as Jeremiah chipped away at the granite backslope in order to widen the trail bench. Nic began the process of digging out a boulder on the corridor that interfered with safe through travel on the trail as Shay steadilt shaved away at the granite that spilled up from the ground creating an unstable and narrowed bench that threatened to direct trail users down the steep slope. Throughout the day, the crew continued to build their practical trail skills and after lunch, continued with the various project tasks into the afternoon. At 2:45pm, the crew received a lesson on tool maintenance (proper technique for removing dirt and debri from the tools and how to use the files on the various tools to maintain a desired and safe working edge). After sharpening and cleaning tools, the crew began the 2.5 mile hike back to the trailhead. While tired and sore, the crew debriefed the day expressing happiness with their work and an eagerness to relax and stretch before making dinner, completing camp chores, and calling it a night.

Thursday, February 8, 2018:  

The Field School crew began the Thursday workday at 7:00 am beginning with a safety circle before hiking back to the week’s project worksite. The crew arrived at the worksite around, enjoyed some water and a quick snack and jumped back into project mode on the trail! The crew members worked hard on the 20 meter stretch with various trail maintenance tasks to level the tread and widen the bench for enhance visitor use and safety.. Around noon, the crew broke for lunch and enjoyed a nearby shaded area that offered a cool reprieve from the desert sun. During lunch, four mountain bikers passed through the worksite. They expressed gratitude for the work that the crew accomplished and shared that the trail was already far better and safer than it previously had been.  After lunch, the Field School crew was back on the trail working to continue to bash remove the rock and open up the trail corridor for multi-use travel. Bob stopped by the worksite in the afternoon to check on project progress and expressed that the trail was “100% better” and safer for the ultra-runners who would be racing along the corridor passage in the upcoming weeks for a race. The crew assessed the remaining trail needs and developed a work plan for Friday morning and agreed to give it their all to finish the priority work state by Bob including removing a boulder from the tread and removing overhead brush over the trail. After performing tool maintenance, the crew hiked back out to the trailhead. Upon returning to camp, the crew enjoyed from well-deserved pie from the nearby famous Rock Springs Cafe as they reviewed standard camp breakdown procedure before having dinner at camp before hitting the hay for the evening.

Friday, February 9, 2018:  

On Friday, the crew began their workday a bit earlier at 6:00am and began their hike to the worksite on the Black Canyon National recreational Trail in the faint dawn light. The cool air and stars made for an exciting hike and the crew made it to the worksite with an incredible amount of energy and commitment to finishing the job. The crew took full advantage of beating the heat and cranked out two and a half hours of uninterrupted hard work on the trail! Jeff and Jeremiah worked together to remove a beach ball sized boulder from the corridor using rock bars followed by the crew collaboratively used the crush-fill method to fill the hole on the tread. Taking turns, the students smashed down the granite and shale into tiny fragments to fill the hole, tamping down each layer with tools.  Then, Nic and Shay worked together using loppers, hand saws, and cutter mattocks to remove the dense acacia surrounding the trail as Douglas continued to shave away at the shale on the far end of the trail at the worksite as the others focused on cleaning up and designating the critical edge, as well as widening the bench. At 10:30am, the crew cleaned and sharpened tools, divied up the weight and hiked back out to the trailhead with all tools, encountering several friendly trail users along the way. After packing up the truck and trailer, the crew headed south to the BLM and were briefed on how to perform a de-rig. following debrief, the crew met with Lawrence before completing timesheets. It was a great and rewarding week with lots of new conservation skills acquired!

Phoenix Field School Week 2: Wildland Firefighting Training

Project Location: BLM National Training Center, Phoenix, AZ

Project Partner: Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix District Fire Program

Hitch Accomplishments: Wildland Firefighting Training: S-130 (Firefighter Training); S-190 (Wildland Fire Behavior); I-100 (Incident Command); S-110 (Basic Wildland Fire Orientation); L-180 (Human Factors in Wildland Fire).

Tuesday, January 30, 2018:
The Phoenix Field School crew began their first project week participating in the interactive and intensive four-day wildland firefighting certification training course, instructed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Phoenix District Office Fire Program. The classroom and field course trains individuals to become educated, prepared, and certified to work as Type II Wildland Firefighters on an engine or hand crew. The Field School crew met at the BLM National Training Center on Tuesday morning and after signing in, under the instruction of the BLM PDO Safety Officer, Dean Fernandez, jumped right into the training beginning with L-180, Human Factors in Wildland Fire, S-110, Basic Wildland Fire Orientation and S-190, Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior. Throughout the day, the students learned about more about the history of wildland firefighting, basic language and concepts of wildland fire, as well as the influence of fuel, weather, and topography and the basics of wildland fire behavior in different areas.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018:
On Wednesday, the Phoenix Field School crew returned to the BLM National Training Center and began coursework material for the S-130, Firefighter Training portion of the training. During this training component, the students learned all about firefighter preparedness and gear. Then, the students progressed to I-100, Incident Command going into depth regarding risk-management while on a fire including covering the 10 Fire Orders, the specific 18 Watchout Situations and LCES (Lookouts, Communication, Escape Routes, Safety Zones) followed by learning about Fire Shelters, potential hazards and human factors on the fireline.

Thursday, February 1, 2018:
On Thursday, the final day of classroom instruction, the Field School crew delved into training covering transportation safety while on a fire, fire devices and water use, lead by Field School Crew Leader, Ian Cockrill. Afterwards, the students learned more about the specific hands tools used on wildland fires, fire suppression, and mop up followed by covering fire patrolling and communication and discussing hazardous material awareness and wildland-urban interface safety before concluding the day with a final course examination.

Friday, February 2, 2018:
Friday Field Day! The Field School crew met at 7:15am on Friday morning and travelled to the BLM Phoenix District Office to pack PPE, stock up on water, and make lunches before driving out to the State Forestry compound for the day’s field experience exercises. Working alongside other BLM course participants, the students separated into four work groups – Burn Operations, Fire Shelters, Line Construction, and Engine Inspection. The students spend about 40 minutes participating in various practice exercises at each station. At the Engine Inspection station, the students received a briefing on the standard rigging and responsibilities of an engine crew and were able to acutely observe and inspect the layout of the fire engine while participating in a dialogue with the BLM instructor. At the Fire Shelter Stations, the students reviewed the conditions in which deploying a shelter would be necessary, discussed deployment techniques, communication, and hazards/concerns before actually practicing a timed deployment using old shelters that had been de-issued (as there was no active fire occurring). At the Burn Operations station, the students received hands-on experience with a fuse and drip torch and were able to practice what it would be like to initiate a burn for suppression efforts. The group then reviewed the necessary PPE, proper handling, associated hazards, proper communication, and extinguishing methods. At the fourth station- Line Construction- the students reviewed the various types of hands tools commonly used for line construction in the lower 48 states for wildland fire and then, with PPE secure, practiced constructing lines and communicating with their peers regarding the quality of the line. The students rotated through each station receiving direct hands-on instruction from the BLM Fire Instructors. Following completion of the station exercises, the Field School crew volunteered to re-organize and clean the equipment trailers before debriefing the course and learning more about wildland fire careers with Dean and the BLM Fire staff and receiving course certificates. Afterwards, the crew returned to the BLM to put away gear, fill out timesheets, and prepare for the upcoming project week-Trails Skills Training.

Phoenix Field School Week 1: Welcome Spring 2018 Crew!





Location: BLM Phoenix District Office, ACYR, Phoenix College

Project Partner: ACE, BLM, Phoenix College, ACYR

Hitch Accomplishments:
Field School Program Orientation; Backcountry/Outdoor Safety and Risk Management; Trails Theory and Training; Introduction to the BLM and Federal Land Agencies; Conservation 101 and Ecosystems of Arizona; Phoenix College Courses and Campus Orientation; Work Readiness Skills; Leadership Development; and Map Reading and GPS/Compass Training.

Monday, January 22, 2018:

On the first day of orientation, we welcomed the 14th cohort to the Phoenix Field School Program -Douglas, Shay, Nicole, Jeff, and Jeremiah! The new Field School crew met bright and early at Phoenix College for crew introductions and a campus tour before attending the first day of classes. During the morning session, the students learned about the available student resources and educational pursuits available at Phoenix College, as well as attended their Wildlife Management (BIO 274) class. After lunch, the students attended their Career and Work Experience Class and Outdoor Adventure Skills Class. It was a busy day but the students had the chance to learn all about the exciting topics to be covered in the upcoming 16 weeks!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018:

On Tuesday morning, the crew met at ACYR and jumped right into program orientation learning the in’s-and-out’s of the Field School Program including a history of the program, program expectations – both academic and field projects- and learning how to fully get the img_2150best of their academic and field semester. During the afternoon, the students participated in a Conservation 101 workshop led by ACE Crew Leader, Ian learning about all the diverse ecosystems of Arizona and a history of conservation and the different types of land management agencies. The students finished the day testing their knowledge with a lively game of Conservation Jeopardy!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018:

On Wednesday morning, the Field School crew continued their program orientation by actively participating in the ACE Outdoor Safety and Risk Management training learning about the potential risks associated with conservation field work in the southwest and how to stay safe throughout the program and on specific field projects. The crew also learned about the different types of hand tools they may be using in the field and how to properly use tools as well as how to mitigate environmental hazards in the field. After lunch, the crew was joined by Field School alum, Morgan (Fall 2016), who spoke with the crew about her experience with Field School and discussed with the students how to approach the many facets of Field School and the personal and professional opportunities that may arise. Afterwards, the crew participated in the afternoon workshop, “School, Work, and Life”, led by Ian, learning and discussing how individually, as well as collectively as a team, they can create a healthy balance between classes, field hitches, and personal time, as well as explored different strategies to aid them throughout the semester to ensure success in all aspects of Field School.

Thursday, January 25, 2018:

In full Field School uniforms and breaking in their new work field boots, the Field School crew headed up to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Phoenix District Office (PDO) to learn more about the BLM, its diverse programs, the history of BLM and Field School, and of course – more about the different opportunities of Field School! At the BLM, the students had the opportunity to meet and speak with the BLM Phoenix District Leadership Management team, including Associate District Manager, Patrick Putnam, and Angie Meece, PDO Administrative Officer, as well as BLM Youth Coordinator, Lawrence Harper to learn more about their BLM experiences, why they care about Field School, and the different responsibilities of the BLM in Arizona. After a tour of the Phoenix District Office, the crew participated in an in-depth, hands-on GPS, navigation, and map and compass lesson led by BLM Youth Coordinator, Lawrence and BLM Youth and Volunteer Programs Intern, Cici (2017 Field School Graduate!). After learning the theory of map and compass, as well as GPS, the crew concluded the by heading out into the field to practice hands-on navigating by map and compass.


screen-shot-2018-02-22-at-3-46-18-pmFriday, January 26, 2018:

The Field School crew started Friday morning off by participating in an interactive leadership development workshop, allowing each student to explore their personal leadership styles, determining the different strengths and how to employ various leadership tactics in different field situations. Around 11 am, the crew was joined by ACE Trails Trainer, Jack McMullin who engaged the crew in an interactive lesson regarding trails theory and overview of the different types of trail construction and maintenance. Afterwards, the students completed a time management activity during which they worked together to prioritize daily tasks, habits, and responsibilities in regards to the Field School program, helping visual how to dedicate time to the different aspects of the program. The crew ended the day reviewing the orientation week and preparing for the upcoming week – BLM Wildland Fighting School, as well as going over outdoor gear, packing techniques, and menu planning.

Assessing Cultural Resources at Independence NHP

Assessing Cultural Resources at Independence NHP

by Clare Flynn

Happy New Year, everyone!

Things are starting to get back to normal at the Olmsted Center after the holidays as the snow outside from the recent “bomb cyclone” begins to melt during a little 30+ degree heat wave we’re having in Boston. I’m now the only intern left from our merry band of summer interns, but I’m very happy to report that my internship has been extended, and I’ll be sticking around for a few more months to continue my work with the CRSAs for  parks in the region.

There are a lot of fascinating new projects ahead for OCLP in 2018, but I want to take us back to 2017 briefly for today’s post.  Before the holidays, Bob Page, Director of the Olmsted Center, and I had the privilege of taking a trip down to Philadelphia to complete one of the last steps before we finish the CRSA for Independence National Historical Park: a meeting with the full team of staff who have been part of the effort to assess the current conditions and program health of cultural resources at Independence National Historical Park.

After months of trading emails and conducting hours of phone calls with park and regional archaeologists, historic architects, landscape architects, ethnographers, museum specialists, historians, archivists, etc., it was so exciting to finally meet this very skilled and knowledgeable group of people face-to-face. During our meeting, the team had a chance to review the findings of the assessment and discuss broad management topics that affect all cultural resource types, such as Section 106 compliance, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), NAGPRA compliance (Native American Graves Repatriation Act), and climate stressors.

Perhaps the most important result of our efforts was being able to work with this multidisciplinary team to determine several priority actions for the park to pursue in the months and years ahead based on areas of need we had identified.

Prior to our meeting, I also had the opportunity to spend a full day exploring the park. The park’s Chief of Cultural Resources, Doris Fanelli, organized a full day of activities and meetings for me, starting with a private tour of the Bishop White House and the portrait gallery housed inside the Second Bank of the United States. Although the temperatures had dropped down to the teens outside, there were some definite perks of visiting the park on a cold, winter day: there were only 11 people on the usually crowded tour of Independence Hall, and I got to enjoy a private visit of Congress Hall when no one else turned up for the normally scheduled talk. From there, I explored many of the other sites that were open to the public, including Congress Hall, Old City Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and Franklin Court.

Independence Square

The Second Bank of the United States

Inside the Bishop White House

The Assembly Room inside Independence Hall

From there, I was treated to an “insider” view of the park, as Doris had scheduled me to meet with several members of the park staff. First, I got to sit down with Andrew McDougall, the park’s special event coordinator. I wrote my master’s dissertation on the use of historic buildings and sites as filming locations (Read a summary here), so I was particularly interested in talking to Andrew about his experiences coordinating special use permits for filming activity in the park.

Next, I visited the architectural study collection with Museum Specialist Nicole Altman. Coming from a background in architectural conservation, I was fascinated by this treasure trove of original fragments from buildings in the park as well as molds and reproductions that have been used in restoration work.

Lastly, Nicole and I met with the park’s historical architect, Winston Clement, who helped us end the day on a few literal high notes. He first took us up the tower of the Merchant’s Exchange Building. Originally built between 1832 and 1843, the magnificent Greek Revival building was the financial center for Philadelphia in the 19th century, housing commercial houses, marine insurance companies, the Philadelphia Board of Trade, and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Merchants would climb its tower to watch ships come in. During our visit, we were able to enjoy the same view and observe the tower’s unique construction and internal bracing.

While that was an unforgettable experience by itself, the best was certainly saved for last: a trip up the bell tower of Independence Hall. The tower has been demolished, altered, and restored a number of times since the building was originally constructed between 1732 and 1753. From inside, we could see physical traces of the many phases of its life and view the mechanisms that operate the clocks on its exterior. Our visit was perfectly timed to fully experience this ingenious piece of engineering. As the sun set and the clock struck 5 o’clock, the clock mechanism sprang to life, and with the whirring of gears and chiming of bells, I said goodbye to Winston and a magical day at Independence National Historical Park.

IMG_1083Merchant’s Exchange Building 

The Independence Hall bell tower

The clock mechanism inside the tower of Independence Hall




Clare Flynn | January 11, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Categories: 2018, CRSA, Independence NHP, OCLP | URL:

Geospatial Surveys in the San Juan Islands

In August of 2017, the National GPS Program Coordinator for the National Park Service joined San Juan Island National Historical Park (NHP) staff members to conduct geospatial surveys at both American Camp and English Camp—the two units of the park located at opposite ends of San Juan Island, Washington. After setting up base stations and additional markers at strategic points near the park’s numerous shorelines, the advanced spatial equipment used will allow park staff to inventory and monitor environmental change over time with an extremely high degree of precision—often within millimeters of accuracy.

Sea level rise, ecosystem exploitation, and unsustainable urban development are issues of increasing concern for cultural and natural resource managers throughout the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea engaged in the preservation and conservation of maritime heritage landscapes. With the arrival of European and American colonial settlers and the displacement of Coast Salish peoples from their traditional landscapes since the nineteenth century, maritime resources have been extracted as lucrative commodities. Voices calling for the preservation and conservation of shoreline ecosystems have challenged San Juan Island NHP to look for new ways to enhance and improve park management systems. The data collected will be used by researchers in years to come, primarily to monitor shoreline erosion and the health of landscapes that are critically endangered.

For more information on the Inventory and Monitoring Program at San Juan Island NPH, visit


Battlefield (Shipwreck) Nomination, final post

I successfully completed every shipwreck nomination assigned to me during my last two weeks of the internship. Our team decided to combine two of the wreck-sites, U-166 and SS Robert E. Lee, into one battlefield site nomination. U-166 and SS Robert E. Lee were both engaged and sank due to the same war related conflict. Since both shipwrecks are within close proximity of one another and were involved in the same battle, the site can be justified as a battlefield site. Battlefield nominations are more complex than single site nominations, because they require extra research, time, and supporting evidence to prove the site to be an unequivocal icon of historical significance. This nomination is particularly special to me, because of the intense amount of research and writing that went into telling this amazing story.

Figure 2. (Left) Tyler Ball (BOEM intern) editing and proofing shipwreck nominations. (Right) ACE/NPS Intern Tyler Ball standing next to his list of completed shipwreck nomination for the NRHP. 2017

Figure 2. (Left) Tyler Ball (BOEM intern) editing and proofing shipwreck nominations. (Right) ACE/NPS Intern Tyler Ball standing next to his list of completed shipwreck nomination for the NRHP. 2017

At the end of my 10-week internship, I am proud to say that I accomplished what I set out to do and complete all 9 of my shipwreck nominations for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The majority of the shipwreck nominations sank in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II. Each nomination is more than a shipwreck site, but also a story of our past deserving to be told, remembered, and preserved for future generations to experience. Producing nominations for the NRHP is important, because if nobody is willing to tell the story then it could be lost forever.

  • SS Halo
  • SS M. Parker Jr.
  • SS Alcoa Puritan
  • SS Gulfpenn
  • SS Virginia
  • SS Robert E. Lee & U-166
  • MV Sheherazade
  • SS Gulfoil
  • Steam Yacht Anona

Through this internship I have enhanced my skills as a researcher, writer, editor, and my overall professionalism. In the future, I hope to work again with the amazing teams at the American Conservation Experience (ACE), AmeriCorps, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of the Interior (DOI), and the National Park Service (NPS).



Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Weeks seven to eight were very busy. I spent much of the time researching, editing, proofing, and tweaking the nomination. Some of the shipwreck data previously gathered was in a variety of stages, some of which were outdated and incorrectly cited, or no longer available. I found that the Library of Congress is an extremely valuable national resource for examining primary source historical information.

Figure 1. The fountains outside of the Library of Congress, 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 1. The fountains outside of the Library of Congress, 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

During Week 8 I was given the chance to visit the Washington Navy Yard Museums. It was a fantastic experience, getting to see so many pieces of naval history displayed and properly cared for. Some exhibits were in the process of being exchanged out for new pieces, which was very encouraging to see how popular the museums are within the community. The first museum my group visited was the Cold War museum, which was incredibly informative on a subject that I found myself knowing surprisingly little about.

ACE capstone presentation


Last Friday, September 22, I gave my final presentation of my work to several staff at Cuyahoga Valley National Park covering all of the deliverables I have produced in my eleven weeks with NPS. To review some of my “stats” during my service, I completed a National Register of Historic Places nomination form, created a spreadsheet of archaeological data for Cuyahoga Valley National Parks prehistoric sites, drafted a new site discovery form, wrote a summary of the various prehistoric and historic Outstanding Remarkable Values (ORVs), discovered and documented four new sites within the park, updated five archaeological site forms, and cataloged eleven newly discovered artifacts. Needless to say, I was very busy during my internship!

My 11 weeks with Cuyahoga Valley National Park was a very special time for me. I learned a lot about the application of archaeology within the National Park Service, how sites are managed and preserved from a federal perspective, and saw the various facets of archaeology and historic preservation at work. Bill Hunter, my site supervisor, was amazing and very attentive to my project progress. I would not have been able to do my work as efficiently without his help every step of the way. I enjoyed going into the office, going into the field, and every minute I was serving NPS, and I’ve taken many lessons from this experience, from erosion control to conducting meetings.

Now that I’ve completed my American Conservation Experience, I’ve been busy analyzing potsherds and lithics from the Fort Ancient and Newark earthworks as part of the Ohio History Fund grant that the University of Akron received this past March. I’ve also been busy coordinating events and program for the non-profit Stewards of Historical Preservation, of which I am now president. Now, every time I go for a hike, I take each step with a new perspective thanks to ACE and my experience at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.



Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


Figure 2. View from the outside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 2. View from the outside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

During weeks 5 and 6, I needed to do more in depth research, specifically focusing on data found in shipping records of merchant shipping companies during World War II. These records can be tricky to find, and in some cases classified and not published on the internet. To do this research I needed to visit the National Archives and The Library of Congress, located in Washington, DC. Incorporating the information from these documents provides a stronger case in explaining the over significance of the shipwreck, both during their career and potential for future archaeological research.

Figure 1. View from the inside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.

Figure 1. View from the inside of the Library of Congress. 2017. Photo by Tyler Ball.




Tyler Ball – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) reading up on previous research done with BOEM’s Environmental Program Division. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

During my third and fourth weeks working at BOEM, I was given the opportunity to attend weekly staff meetings discussing a variety of topics within each branch of the Division of Environmental Assessment in the Office of Environmental Programs (OEP/DEA). The OEP/DEA includes research in a variety of topics from oil spill modeling, and marine life protection to oceanography and maritime archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico. This gave me a deeper understanding of how important the other areas are in the bigger picture. I finished creating maps displaying the suggested site boundaries for the shipwreck nominations. It was important to create the boundaries in a geo-rectified ArcGIS map to give precise coordinates and measurements of the sites.  After the map boundaries were created and scaled appropriately, the points were added to the shipwreck nomination database. Images and charts were added to the database.

Shipwrecks are an important part of history. For many people it reflects more than a job, but rather an identity. Having the privilege to help voice the urgency for these icons of maritime history has brought me a strong sense of pride and a new respect for the field that I work in.

2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) creating maps in ArcGIS for shipwreck boundaries for the National Register of Historic Places nomination forms. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

2017 BOEM Intern Tyler Ball (ECU) creating maps in ArcGIS for shipwreck boundaries for the National Register of Historic Places nomination forms. Photo by Marjorie Weisskohl, BOEM.

Shipwrecks are an important part of history. For many people it reflects more than a job, but rather an identity. Having the privilege to help voice the urgency for these icons of maritime history has brought me a strong sense of pride and a new respect for the field that I work in.

 Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by Tyler Ball 2017.

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo by Tyler Ball 2017.

The William H. Hunt Estate

The William H. Hunt Estate

By Eric C. Olson

During the last two weeks I’ve had the great pleasure of learning about one of Cleveland’s unsung civic heroes, William H. Hunt. Hunt was a huge entrepreneur in Northeast Ohio, who got his start working at what would eventually become First Merit Bank in Akron, and eventually becoming the president of the Cleveland Life Insurance Company. Hunt is an uncredited funder and supporter of the Hiram House, the first settlement house in Ohio, and a prominent founder of the St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland. Hunt was also selected as the president of the Cuyahoga County Centennial Celebration of 1910. I had the opportunity to go to the Western Reserve Historical Society and read Hunt’s letters to Teddy Roosevelt and Glenn Curtis. Roosevelt declined, in a very presidential way, to attend the ceremony, but Glenn Curtis personally spoke in Cleveland and had the first airplanes land in Cleveland thanks to William Hunt’s efforts.

I could go on about how interesting William Hunt was, but the estate itself is an amazing historic mining landscape that William Hunt transformed into his millionaire’s estate, Terraced Lakes. I have hiked around the estate several times and photographed the contributing elements of this National Register (NRHP) eligible property. I have been working on writing the NRHP nomination form for Terraced Lakes these past two weeks, among other projects. The mining landscape is just as incredible as the twin lakes and dam that William Hunt erected to manage the water on his property in the 1920s. I did not figure I would see “pyramids” in the Cuyahoga Valley, but some of the spoil piles from the mining operations of H. C. Currier in the 1870s are twice my size composed of waste sandstone that never made it to out of the quarry. These quarries were among the many of Independence, Ohio, that literally formed the foundation stones of Cleveland’s first buildings.

In the coming two weeks I hope to finish my first draft of the NRHP nomination form, with all of the data I have collected on the historic quarry and the Terraced Lakes Estate.

Picture of one of the two spoil piles of sandstone from the Currier Quarry known as the “pyramids.”

Picture of one of the two spoil piles of sandstone from the Currier Quarry known as the “pyramids.”

Picture looking west of “Terraced Lake;” the lake has silted-in since the 1950s. The dam is to the right out of frame.

Picture looking west of “Terraced Lake;” the lake has silted-in since the 1950s. The dam is to the right out of frame.

The Terraced Lake Dam; the dam breached in 1929 during a historic flood and was re-habilitated.

The Terraced Lake Dam; the dam breached in 1929 during a historic flood and was re-habilitated.

Leah’s blog August 4 and beyond part II

August 4th and Beyond Part II

by: Leah Chisolm-Allison

At the end of my internship we had a Youth Summit at Marsh Billings with interns from SCA and VYCC. This was a wrap-up for all interns where we could meet each other and give a presentation on our summer internship so that everyone could see the work that we have done. It was a great way to get in touch with other organizations and to see other areas within a park service and the needs that it requires. We also got to know each other through games and making homemade pizza and by taking a mini nature hike. Afterwards we got meet up with Mary-Ann to see and tour the archives for Marsh Billings.



OUR HOMER EXHIBIT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! Towards the end we were worried that we were not going to finish in time but we did. Through hard work and dedication Abigail, Elizabeth, and I were able to finish the exhibit. Our research from Rauner paved the way to create an indepth story of Homer Saint-Gaudens that will give the audience a view and glimpse into his life. Countless time was spent on editing to make sure that the information was both correct and in chronological order. Once done, Elizabeth and Henry reviewed our work and made sure that it was correct. Afterwards we printed it out and mounted it on foam core. We then went on to gather the objects for the exhibit and made tombstone labels that give all the necessary information about the objects. Once everything was done we gathered boxes that we would use to transport the items to be set up on friday which is opening day.


Leah’s Blog August 4 and Beyond Pt 1

August 4th and Beyond Part I

by: Leah Chisolm-Allison

Highlights from the weeks of 7/23-8/5  consisted of our our Process Tour presentations of our mini exhibits that we put together, a surprise thank you brunch from the staff at Saga, and our research and construction of our biggest and final exhibit on Homer Saint-Gaudens.

Presenting our exhibit to the public has been amazing. It is quite the accomplishment for Abigail and I to both present on the research we have done on our assigned topics. Also seeing the interest that visitors have on what we were talking about and engaging with us and discussing about it with us felt great. I loved talking about an important piece of American history, the twenty dollar gold piece, that Saint-Gaudens commissioned to represent America.


Our Surprise Brunch was fantastic. ACE and SCA Interns had no idea that we were in for a surprise. Members of the SAGA staff gave out praise and thanks for our hard work and help during this season. Afterwards we were all able to enjoy the delicious baked goods and fruit that was laid out on the table to be enjoyed and consumed.


Lastly, for our final and upcoming exhibit on Homer Saint-Gaudens went spent an entire day in the Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College. While there we had access and read through piles of written correspondences from the Saint-Gaudens family. We also got to hold and read through some of Homer’s personal belongings, letters, checkbooks, textbooks, and letters to and from his family. This helped us get an insider’s view to who he was as a person and to read about his life and accomplishments.