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Letter from Laura Herrin | Black Lives Matter


The events of this past week have been devastating, heartbreaking, infuriating and a culmination of decades of racism and privilege in this country.
We must and will stand with the Black community, not only in a time of crisis, but at all times. Our country, our organization and each of us must stand up to racism, oppression, and injustice wherever it exists.

Never have we felt greater despair than during the recent week of pain. And at the same time we have seen glimmers of hope; large and peaceful protests, police marching in solidarity and kneeling with protesters and volunteers cleaning destroyed neighborhoods.

This hateful violence is not a new story — it is older than the nation. Too little has changed since then. 

While it is key to acknowledge the historic oppression of Black people and our collective role, it is equally important for ACE to fight against their continued oppression by working towards a more inclusive and equitable conservation workforce, where all people feel safe and respected. As we have confronted harassment–head on, gloves off and unfiltered, we will confront racism and inequity. We must.

I know that some of you are expecting a social media blitz and are angry that this has ‘taken so long’. I get it, but we have to be more than a statement or a hashtag.  Too many times over the years I have seen the statements, the links, the facebook posts and yet nothing changes. People and organizations post and act like that is the solution. 

ACE and other corps play a unique role in shaping future leaders in conservation. Within ACE we have an opportunity to help grow a more diverse workforce for the entire conservation field. In order to do so we must be truly inclusive and take a hard look at ourselves. This will not happen overnight and it will not be easy. We may ultimately make a small dent in a very large problem. But it is dent worth making

There is so much going on right now, please take a moment and take care of each other. 

Laura

American Conservation Experience Receives the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) Partnership Award

American Conservation Experience (ACE) is proud to announce that we have received the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) Partnership Award.

This award was presented to ACE CEO, Laura Herrin, by PCTA Executive Director, Liz Bergeron during their annual meeting in Sacramento. This award is in recognition of organizations such as ACE that have contributed to the Pacific Crest Trail System.

“In recognition of your tremendous contribution to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and collaboration with the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Our partnership is essential in completing significant projects, such as the Mountain Fire restoration. Thank you for your commitment to this work and the conservation ethic you have inspired in countless young adults, including the PCTA volunteers whom you’ve welcomed into your crews. The ACE-PCTA partnership will benefit generations of Pacific Crest Trail hikers and horseback riders for years to come.” -PCTA

PCTA and ACE launched this collaboration back in 2013. The results of this collaboration were presented by Jen Trip who is the PCTA Director of Trails Operations. We were delighted to learn that since our partnerships inception ACE coordinated 88,000 volunteer crew hours, including both PCTA volunteers and ACE members. We served over 20 National Forests and several BLM units rehabilitating trails destroyed by wildfires and maintaining over 400 miles of the iconic PCT.

ACE President and CEO Laura Herrin adds: “We are so appreciative to receive this partnership award from PCTA. This is a long standing and important partnership that has grown and developed over the years. It is an honor to provide our trails crews this experience and they are so proud to serve on one of the greatest trails in the nation. We look forward too many years and miles together.”

For more information on the great work that Pacific Crest Trail Association is doing visit their website at: www.pcta.org

Catalina Island | Planting Project

 

In partnership with the Catalina Island Conservancy, ACE Pacific West and Mountain West worked for two weeks on stunning Catalina Island. This 22-mile long island is a part of the Channel Islands of the California archipelago. Located approximately 29 miles south-southwest of Long Beach, CA, the island is home to a variety of flora and fauna.  It is estimated that the island has been inhabited for nearly 8,000 years. The island was originally inhabited by the indigenous people known as the Pimugnans or Pimuvit people who called the island Pimugna or Pimu. Territorial claims to the island passed from the Spanish Empire to Mexico and eventually to the United States. As a land of plenty, the island was used for hunting, mining, ranching and for military operations. The islands quirky history includes being once owned by William Wrigley, Jr. of Wrigley chewing gum and being the set of many Hollywood films. The land today remains largely undeveloped and wild due to Wrigley deeding 88% of the island to the Catalina Island Conservancy.  This February ACE deployed a six-person crew lead by ACE crew leader, Ali Gaugler. The objective of this project was to work alongside the Catalina Conservancy to assist them to complete funding from Natural Resource Conservation Service to restore 1111.1 acres of habitat by establishing native trees and shrubs. The mission of the Catalina Island Conservancy is to be responsible stewards of its lands through a balance of conservation, education, and recreation.By planting these native trees, this project will help restore and enhance Catalina Island’s native habitat. The crews were assisting with a process known as “out-planting.” This is the act of putting plants with established roots into the soil and usually follows with watering, as opposed to sowing, which involves tossing the seeds in a controlled manner into the soil to initiate their sprouting.

Flyways and Byways

Flyways and Byways

By: Lindsey Broadhead and Paul List

Each year millions of migratory birds utilize invisible superhighways to reach their nesting and wintering grounds. Our time surveying visitors these past few months was spent at a few important spots in the middle of one of these superhighways – the 4,000 mile long Pacific flyway. This flyway runs north-south from the Arctic to Mexico, crossing the entire west coast of the US and states such as Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. The diversity and abundance of birds in the wildlife refuges along the flyway bring joy to birders, photographers, hunters, and casual passersby alike as migration, one of nature’s grandest spectacles, occurs twice a year.

Snow geese along the Sacramento NWR auto tour. Photo by Lindsey Broadhead

Sacramento NWR Complex

In the heart of California’s Sacramento Valley lies the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The complex protects the last remaining riparian and wetland habitat in the valley, and is a vital wintering ground for thousands of waterfowl. While we were there, we spotted 5 species of goose (and a cackling/white-fronted goose hybrid!), 10 species of duck, tundra swans, and plenty of other migratory wetland birds such as long-billed curlews and sandhill cranes. With the influx of waterfowl comes an influx of predators, and birds of prey from bald eagles to great horned owls to red shouldered hawks were a common sight along the auto tours and viewing platforms of these refuges.

Our first three weeks in California were spent surveying visitors at Sacramento River NWR. This refuge is comprised of 30 disjointed units up and down the Sacramento River, all providing a safe haven for riparian wildlife and recreation opportunities for visitors. We were excited to learn that this refuge has frequent mountain lion sightings throughout its many units, but unfortunately neither of us were lucky enough to spot the elusive big cat. We were, however, just in time for prime sandhill crane viewing at the Llano Seco unit and met many birders and wildlife photographers that came to the unit specifically for the cranes.

Sandhill crane at Sacramento River NWR. Photo by Lindsey Broadhead

After our time along the river, we spent our remaining two weeks at Sacramento NWR, the hub of the complex. This refuge has plenty to offer- from birding to hiking to hunting, and because of its convenient location along I-5, we were able to speak to hundreds of people from all over the United States. We even had spare time to help out with an elementary school field trip and man the front desk of the visitor center for a few hours, which was a nice change of pace from surveying. Our housing at this refuge (appropriately named The Blue Goose Inn) was within walking distance of the visitor center and the beautiful wetland walking trails where mule deer, striped skunks, and great horned owls were a common sight. We spent many evenings enjoying the sunset along the trails and watching the thousands of geese fly off to feed in the nearby rice fields for the night.

The warm sunny climate of this region was a welcome change from colder temperatures up north, and it was easy to see why waterfowl would take advantage of this. With food aplenty and days filled with sun, this refuge felt like a waterfowl vacation destination, with population numbers steadily increasing the 5 weeks we spent there. When we left in mid November, the total waterfowl population was estimated to be 604,893 at Sacramento NWR, and a staggering 1,448,948 throughout the complex’s many other refuges in the valley.

White-fronted geese at Sacramento River NWR. Photo by Lindsey Broadhead

Mid Columbia River NWR Complex

After our time in California, we returned to Washington to continue sampling at the Mid Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge complex, home to additional stops for migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway. We had already sampled salmon anglers at one location in this complex: Hanford Reach National Monument (previously known as Saddle Mountain National Wildlife Refuge). But the new season brought out a new source of visitation-waterfowl hunters- at two new refuges: Columbia and McNary.

Located in the northern part of the complex, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is a quiet site with dynamic scenery. With basalt cliffs shaped by volcanic activity and glacial flows thousands of years ago, this refuge attracts hunters seeking waterfowl, small upland game, and deer. While we had stayed at the Columbia bunkhouse when sampling at Saddle Mountain, we had not previously explored the refuge itself, and we enjoyed the opportunity to hike the trails and see our first snow of the season. While our exploring, Lindsey successfully uncovered one of the oldest geocaches in Washington, which is hidden somewhere beneath the refuge’s abundant sagebrush.

A hiking club out exploring the sagebrush wilderness. Photo by Lindsey Broadhead

Columbia NWR, with its protected wetlands and expansive habitat, is an important stopping point for many waterfowl during their migrations. It is home to an annual sandhill crane festival every spring as these great birds stop at the refuge on their way back north. Although we left a few months earlier than the sandhill cranes we saw at Sacramento NWR, it was nice to see the place where many of them would likely be stopping on their spring migration.

After Columbia, we had a short drive south to McNary National Wildlife Refuge, the headquarters for the Mid Columbia complex. Located along the Columbia River, this refuge featured ample opportunities for waterfowl hunting, viewing areas for photographers and birders, a two mile trail for walkers and explorers, and an environmental education center. While thick fog and ice on the water were less than ideal for visitation, the team was still able to meet a number of hunters and other visitors.

Lindsey surveys hunters at the hunt check station, which is also the environmental education building. Photo by Paul List.

In addition to visitors, Paul and Lindsey were able to meet with the Friends of Mid-Columbia River Wildlife Refuges. As was the case at other refuges, the friends group is instrumental in maintaining and growing the refuge, from manning the hunt check station to carrying out improvement projects around the headquarters. Paul and Lindsey got a taste of this sort of work by spending an afternoon volunteering with one of the Friends on various projects. They also got a taste of some delicious desserts at the Friends’ holiday party/planning meeting for the upcoming year. Paul is currently accepting suggestions for what to do with the new vest he won in the raffle (it has 14 pockets-he counted).

Paul and his 14-pocketed vest. Photo by Lindsey Broadhead

Like the birds that rely on these important refuges, we have spent the past four months migrating across the country. And like these birds, we found it necessary (or at least enjoyable) to make some stops along the way. The wildlife refuges discussed in our blog may have been our primary destinations (and worthy destinations they are), but our journey would not have been the same without many other stops. Should you find yourself in the Pacific Flyway (or Oklahoma), we encourage you to give these places a visit.

National Park System:
Rocky Mountain NP
Mesa Verde NP
Mt Rainier NP
Lassen Volcanic NP
Lava Beds NM
Golden Spike NHS

Restaurants:
Absolute Bakery & Cafe (Mancos, CO)
Yogurty Smogurty (Othello, WA)
Mayan Fusion (Fort Bragg, CA)
Anne’s Country Kitchen (Lawton, OK)
The Meers Store (Meers, OK)
Donut Wheel (Willows, CA)
Angie’s Restaurant (Logan, UT)
Black Bear Diner (CA chain)
Thai Orchid Cafe (Klamath Falls, CA)
Buckin’ Bean Coffee Roasters (Pendleton, OR)
Ironworks Cafe and Market (Othello, WA)
Smith’s-get the deli pizza (UT grocery store)

Attractions:
High Desert Museum (Bend, OR)
REACH Museum (Richland, WA)
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center (Baker City, OR)
Stokes Nature Center (Logan, UT)
NOYO Center (Fort Bragg, CA)
MacKerricher State Park (Fort Bragg, CA)
Three Island Crossing State Park (Glenn’s Ferry, ID)
Antelope Island State Park (Syracuse, UT)
North Cheyenne Canyon Park (Colorado Springs, CO)
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (Fort Bragg, CA)
Sacramento Zoo (Sacramento, CA)
Shoshone Falls (Twin Falls, Oregon)
Berkeley Pit-aka the “Death Pit” (Butte, MT)
Wilson’s Arch and Looking Glass Arch (Hwy 191, near Moab, UT)
Sierra Nevada Brewery (Chico, CA)
The World’s Largest Functioning Yo-Yo (Chico, CA)
Utah State University (Logan, UT)
Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuges (CA & OR) – shoutout to Jeremy who gave us pumice rocks and sugar pine cones at Klamath Marsh!

ACE California | Pacific Crest Trail

ACE’s Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crews just wrapped up another season on the trail! These unique crews get to travel throughout California working on various parts of the iconic PCT, creating a safer and more sustainable trail for thousands to enjoy each year.

The PCT is a 2,654 mile trail that runs from the border of Mexico to Canada. The trail was first proposed in 1932 by Clinton C. Clarke. By 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson defined the PCT and the Appalachian Trail with the National Trails System Act and the trail was officially declared finished in 1993. The trail was built in cooperation with the federal government and volunteers organized by the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA). The PCTA continues to work on the trail and since 2013 has brought on ACE crews to work alongside them!

Approximately 700-800 hikers attempt to thru-hike the PCT each year, but the PCT also hosts weekend backpackers and day hikers all the same. The trail passes through the Laguna, Santa Rosa, San Jacinto, San Bernardino, San Gabriel, Liebre, Tehachapi, Sierra Nevada, and Klamath ranges in California, and the Cascade Range in California, Oregon, and Washington.

The ACE crew began work this past spring, working on southern parts of the trail and made their way north as the California summer weather crept in. We caught up with the crew while they were working out of the ACE Pacific West North branch in South Lake Tahoe in various locations including the Sierra Buttes, Donner Peak, and Echo Summit.

The work included everything from general trail maintenance to reroutes. The rugged terrain and bare mountain tops along the PCT brought a lot of complicated rockwork for the ACE crews this season. The crews were led by ACE crew leaders Matthew Rump and Sarah Phillips and ACE’s traveling project manager, Ginger Wojciechowski.

It’s not easy to sum up a season of work especially on a trail like the PCT but ACE crew leader, Matthew Rump reflected on the “why” of trail work, a concept that might be overlooked by many. 

Why do trail work? Don’t animals make the trails that we hike on? It’s remarkable how much is hidden from the user enjoying a hike on an established trail. The subtle changes in grade, cleared brush, buried retaining structures, or sneaky steps; all meticulously engineered to create a sustainable travel surface that allows the user to focus on the surrounding scenery, rather than the burn in their legs. Most well-designed trails will hardly look as though human hands carved them into a landscape.”

“Inevitably nature always has the final say, she may wish to move her rivers and replace your trail with a 15ft cliff. In these cases, the subtlety of trail work is pushed to the wayside and the evidence of our work is revealed. This is the process of creating a safe, sustainable passage for those wishing to explore the Sand to Snow National Monument and San Gorgonio Wilderness. Eliminating erosive scrambles up the cliff, sediment deposition into the nearby Whitewater River, and user-damage of the sensitive desert riparian area. A staircase of native rock, carried by hand, set without mortar. The work is backbreaking and occasionally makes one neurotic. This was an appropriate capstone to mine and my crew’s trail-building season.”

ACE crews are already looking forward to the next season on the PCT. https://www.pcta.org/

Trail Inventory and Maintenance | San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, CA

In 2019, ACE Pacific West South was awarded funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for trail restoration and trail improvement activities within the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (SGMNM). Together, the San Gabriel Mountains and nearby Angeles National Forest (ANF) are a tremendous resource for the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, accounting for a combined 70% of the region’s open space and providing roughly a third of Los Angeles’ drinking water. Each year, millions of visitors take advantage of a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, fishing, horseback riding, OHV use, and wildlife watching in the area. 

The ACE Pacific West South crew poses while completing trail work in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

This wild and rugged landscape, only 90 minutes away or less from over 15 million people, is also home to rare and unique wildlife like California condor, spotted owl, bighorn sheep, and 1000-year old limber pine. The grizzly bear, proudly displayed on the California State flag, used to roam these mountains in high density, but were hunted to extinction in the early 1900’s. Surprisingly, the black bear, which our crews encountered on several occasions during this project, are not native to Southern California. In an effort to put bears back into the “food chain” after the grizzlies were gone, as well as move some problematic “garbage bears” from Yosemite Valley, over a dozen black bears were transplanted from Yosemite into the San Gabriel Mountains near Crystal Lake in November 1933. 

Members enjoy the mountain view from the work site on a short break.

The project’s primary goals were to restore or maintain system trails to U.S. Forest Service standards, to improve habitat and water quality to support healthy ecosystems, and to create or enhance opportunities for trail users to understand and appreciate the natural and cultural heritage of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. In March 2019, ACE National Trails Coordinator, Mark Loseth, assisted Pacific West South staff with conducting a trail assessment and inventory to determine the scope of work needed to reach project goals. Due to an unprecedented amount of snow and rainfall in Southern California over the previous winter, area trails saw heavy impact, with a great deal of trees blown down onto the trail. Before beginning work on specific trail features, the crew was tasked with removing a bulk of these trees from trail paths in the San Gabriel Mountains area. Effects of inclement weather, as well as heavy trail use and deferred maintenance, meant the crew had their work cut out for them!

Members work to remove downed trees from the trail using crosscut saws.

 

Members carefully coordinate the movement of cut rounds out of the trail.

Even with the winter damage, the crews maintained 10 trails that totaled more than 45 miles over 11 weeks. By the end of the project, twenty-nine logs, ranging from 10 inches to 48 inches in diameter and from Jefferson Pine to Ponderosa Pine, were bucked from the trail. The crew maintained almost five miles of trail, installed or repaired 52 grade dips, and installed more than 20 square feet of rock retaining wall. The ACE team had the amazing opportunity to work alongside volunteers from San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders, learning crosscut saw techniques and valuable trail knowledge from experienced trail workers and C-level crosscut buckers.

Washington State | Access Fund

One very lucky ACE Southwest crew was sent to Washington state on an extended project at the end of this summer. The crew recently returned to Flagstaff after spending six project weeks working with the North Cascade Mountains backdrop. Led by ACE crew leader, AnnaMarie Rodenhausen, and in partnership with the Access Fund, the crew worked to create a more sustainable route to several climbing spots off of the Blue Lake Trail in the popular Liberty Bell climbing area. 

 The Access Fund is a not-for-profit rock climbing advocacy group in the US. Their mission is to keep climbing areas open and to gain access to currently closed climbing areas as well as promoting an ethic of responsible climbing and conservation of climbing. Many popular rock climbing areas are discovered unofficially by climbers resulting in many social trails leading up to the base of these rock walls. Social trails are typically not sustainable and usually where there is one, there are many. By establishing one main route up to these spots, the impact of hikers and climbers is concentrated on one sustainable path. This is especially important in areas such as the North Cascades which is a sensitive alpine environment. 

The crew worked closely alongside the Access Fund partners to build rock staircases, reroutes, and rock walls to armor switchbacks. Gathering rocks for these projects involved transporting rocks longer distances. The crew utilized nets and advanced rigging systems to move rocks from their source to the building sites. After the new route was established the crew worked to naturalize and rehabilitate the old social trails to enable vegetation regrowth. ACE is grateful to have been able to spend an extended amount of time in one of the most beautiful places in the US!

An EPIC Summer in Providence, RI | April Alix

This summer, ACE EPIC member April Alix worked with the Partnership for Providence Parks (PPP) in Providence, Rhode Island. The Partnership was established in the Spring of 2012 in order to bring the Parks Department and area Friends Groups together with nearby businesses, nonprofits and schools committed to their local neighborhoods and the value of flourishing community green spaces. April assisted the organization as an Urban Educator, focused on creating free and open play for children, as well as offering innovative programs and events to get children and adults healthy, moving, and inspired. Through an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Partnership for Providence Parks is able to continuously reach a wide-range of audiences and offer authentic outdoor experiences using city parks as exploratory spaces. 

Member April Alix interacts with a sloth at the Teacher Institute during her ACE EPIC term with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

During the program, April helped with a variety of trainings and programs connecting urban children and families to the outdoors. Partnering with the Roger Williams Park Zoo, she helped facilitate outdoor play dates at local libraries and parks that allowed children to play and explore. April also participated in an annual BioBlitz run by the RI Natural History Survey, in which volunteers, working scientists, and avocational naturalists worked to tally as many species of organisms as possible in 24 hours on a particular parcel of land. This year, the BioBlitz took place in a large city park with more than 1,127 species recorded! Through another collaboration with the Zoo, April took part in the Teacher Institute, a program engaging 10 Providence Public School teachers-in-training in the best practices for teaching outdoors. Teachers had the opportunity to learn about local biodiversity, conservation projects in the state, climate change education practices, and urban ecology. A fan favorite of this program was setting pit-fall traps to capture carrion beetles, baiting them with rotting chicken in the heat of July! 

Member April Alix works with the Teacher Institute to bait carrion beetles.

 

Member April Alix holds a container full of captured carrion beetles.

Throughout her term, April routinely assisted with field trips on Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, inspiring local Providence youth through activities such as hiking and seining in a salt pond. In the community event Cops and Bobbers, April joined partner organizations and local police officers to teach children how to fish while making positive interactions and meaningful conversation. 

Member April Alix works on conservation crafts with local youth.

Overall, it was exciting to see these urban spaces activated with so many programs! April thoroughly enjoyed working as an Urban Educator with a variety of partners throughout Rhode Island that make these meaningful programs possible. 

National Wildlife Day

These are the creatures that could disappear from each U.S. state

 

When you think of endangered animals, species found far inside a tropical rain forest or deep below the ocean’s surface might to spring to mind. However, each state in the U.S. is also home to its own unique animal at risk of going extinct.

 

“Recovering species is a biological question, not an economic question […] The new rules completely undermine the strength of the ESA. The point of the act is to prevent extinction; this is going to do the opposite. It’s going to undermine efforts to recover species.”

Leah Gerber
Prof. of Conservation Science, Arizona State University

 

To tie in with National Wildlife Day on September 4th, NetCredit has launched an illustrated tribute to shed light, and a bit of love, on those less-famous endangered species highlighted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service:

 

STATE SPECIES STATE SPECIES STATE SPECIES
Alabama Alabama beach mouse Louisiana Louisiana pine snake Ohio Copperbelly water snake
Alaska Blue whale Maine New England cottontail Oklahoma American burying beetle
Arizona Mount Graham red squirrel Maryland Maryland darter Oregon Loggerhead sea turtle
Arkansas Ivory billed woodpecker Massachusetts Humpback whale Pennsylvania Short-eared owl
California Point Arena mountain beaver Michigan Kirtland’s warbler Rhode Island Hawksbill sea turtle
Colorado Uncompahgre fritillary butterfly Minnesota Rusty patched bumble bee South Carolina Frosted flatwoods salamander
Connecticut Bog turtle Mississippi Mississippi sandhill crane South Dakota Black-footed ferret
Delaware Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel Missouri Ozark hellbender Tennessee Nashville crayfish
Florida: Red wolf Montana Whooping crane Texas Northern Aplomado falcon
Georgia Etowah darter Nebraska Salt creek tiger beetle Utah Utah prairie dog
Hawaii Akikiki Nevada Mount Charleston blue butterfly Vermont Spotted turtle
Idaho Woodland caribou New Hampshire Blanding’s turtle Virginia Shenandoah salamander
Indiana Indiana bat New Jersey Sei whale Washington Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit
Illinois Illinois cave amphipod New Mexico New Mexico meadow jumping mouse West Virginia Virginia big-eared bat
Iowa Iowa pleistocene snail New York Eastern massasauga Wisconsin Piping plover
Kansas Neosho mucket North Carolina Carolina northern flying squirrel Wyoming Wyoming toad
Kentucky Kentucky arrow darter North Dakota Least tern    

 

CREDIT: 

https://www.netcredit.com/blog/illustrated-tribute-to-the-most-endangered-wildlife-in-every-us-state/

 

 

San Juan National Historic Site | Puerto Rico

In 2015, ACE Puerto Rico was established through a partnership with San Juan National Historic Site. The site is managed by the National Park Service and its’ mission is to protect and interpret colonial-era forts, bastions, powder houses, and three-fourths of the old city wall. The ACE crew primarily works at the two forts, Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro. 

Due to the sites’ location in Puerto Rico’s capital, and given its’ great historical value, the site receives over a million visitors each year. The partnership began to assist the site in maintaining the facilities, including cleaning litter from the grounds. Since the onset of this partnership, the work has expanded into trail building and historic restoration. A new nature trail now exists around the perimeter of the old city wall that ends at a spectacular view of the ocean. 

A daily, ongoing part of the maintenance division’s duties at San Juan National Historic Site is preserving and repairing the two-and-a-half miles of fortress walls and three forts. Hurricane Maria accelerated the natural erosion that takes place from rain and wind and has caused a higher demand for repairs.

The NPS staff have been conducting an in-depth study of the historic materials used to build the walls including sandstone, limestone, and brick, as well as learning the traditional construction techniques used in the original construction of the forts. This work is a finetuned science since modern materials, such as cement, are not compatible with the original structure. Using a mixture of lime, sand, water, and crushed brick and traditional application techniques, the NPS staff have been gracious enough to take ACE corps members under their wing and teach them this invaluable skill. 

Several of ACE members have moved onto NPS positions, including the NPS staff member pictured above, Kenneth De Graciani. “That is our goal, that we will work alongside the ACE crew members, train them, and then hire them on with the National Park Service,” stated Jose Santiago. ACE is so thankful that our corps members are treated as members of the team at the San Juan National Historic Site and are continuing to gain skills and experiences through this partnership. 

Brazilian Peppertree Removal – Padre Island National Seashore

This past summer, ACE Texas – Gulf Coast worked with the National Park Service (NPS) to remove invasive Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthefolia) on Padre Island National Seashore, located off the Gulf Coast of Texas. At 70 miles long, Padre Island remains the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and boasts a rich cultural history of nomadic hunters and gatherers, Spanish shipwreck survivors and ranchers, among others.  Beginning in 1941, Padre Island was established as a Naval Air Station and aerial bombing range, serving as the largest naval pilot training facility in the world through WWII. Today, the island is both a popular tourist destination and crucial habitat for a diverse number of animals and insects, including over 380 bird species and several endangered sea turtles.

The Texas crew, directed by Crew Leader Stefan Brisita, poses in the middle of a fresh-cut stand of Brazilian peppertree before applying chemical treatment.

For this project, the ACE – Texas crew spent a few days on the main island working with NPS botanists and ecologists to search for Brazilian peppertree seedlings in areas that were once completely inundated prior to treatment. Corpsmembers formed a walking grid in order to track and eradicate any new growth of peppertree in its earliest stage. The team gridded almost 200 acres while hand pulling invasive seedlings before moving to the adjacent Pepper Island to begin chemical treatment.

Originally from South America, the Brazilian peppertree, or “Florida holly”, was favored for its ornamental flowers and pink-red berries. While beautiful, these berries cause minor to severe allergic reactions in humans and are extremely toxic to bird species. The tree’s sap can produce skin reactions similar to those associated with poison ivy in sensitive individuals and will release particle toxins into the air when burned. The tree itself is considered highly invasive due to its toxicity to native soil and plants, along with its ability to spread quickly via seed dispersion and create independent basal shoots from stumps and horizontal root.

Southwest Texas Project Manager Josh Kalman stands next to a mature stand of Brazilian peppertree.

For the Texas division’s first official backcountry project, the crew took six trips via small boat to transport all necessary gear and supplies to the work site. Members used chainsaws and herbicide to slash and treat invasive Brazilian peppertree via the cut-stump method—a selective, systemic treatment designed to kill the tree at the roots with minimal impact to the surrounding area. Cut trunks and limbs were stacked into piles to avoid further dispersion, as well as to allow for new growth of native vegetation. Over 480 work hours on Pepper Island, the crew took out just under an acre of densely-packed peppertree.

While completing work on Padre Island National Seashore, the Texas corpsmembers also had the unique opportunity to attend an official turtle release with NPS, where 11 juvenile Pacific Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) were released  to begin their journey into the surf. Padre Island provides safe nesting areas for all five species of sea turtles found in the Gulf of Mexico, including the endangered kemp’s ridley, hawksbill, green, and leatherback sea turtles, as well as the classified threatened loggerhead sea turtle.

A corpsmember uses gloves to carefully release a green sea turtle into the water.

 

Green turtles are transported safely in large totes before being released.

To find out more about Padre Island National Seashore’s history, nature, and activities, please visit the NPS website here.

El Yunque National Forest | Puerto Rico

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, ACE Puerto Rico has been hard at work to reopen trails in the El Yunque National Forest. To give some background, ACE Puerto Rico was established in 2015 with its first project partner at San Juan National Historic Site (NPS). The branch has now expanded its’ reach to the east side of the island. Hurricane Maria hit soon after ACE and the US Forest Service began its partnership in El Yunque and fixing the damage has been the primary focus for the ACE crew. The crew members at this branch are all Puerto Rican locals, many of whom grew up in communities surrounding the forest. 

El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest within the US national forest system and provides 10% of the water for the whole island. The forest is located in the northeastern region of the island on the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo mountains. At 28,000 acres, it is the largest block of public land in Puerto Rico. “This forest is a powerful symbol for this community,” said crew leader Alberto Rivera, “I think for the rest of the island, the east is the Yunque.” The heavy rainfall creates a jungle-like setting with tree ferns, palms, and lush foliage as well as waterfalls and forest creatures, including the critically endangered Puerto Rican amazon parrot.

 In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated many areas around the island, including El Yunque. Many of the buildings and trails in the forest that were closed for repairs have since been reopened through the efforts of the US Forest Service and the ACE crew! El Yunque is a resilient forest that has recovered tremendously on its own from the initial damage of the hurricane but continues to see the effects of the immense rainfall and high winds. These impacts include down trees, debris clogging drains along the trail and road, and damage to the facilities within the forest. 

For some of the crew members this is their first job, Rivera stated, “ACE El Yunque has given the opportunity for young adults to learn valuable life skills, connect with nature, and create a second family. We’ve had the opportunity to learn and work side by side with El Yunque’s watershed, heritage, ecosystem, operations, and public services team on different projects.” The crew is comprised of Rivera and four community members, Estefany Gonzalez, Jan Carrasquillo, Wesley Santos, and Bryan Carrasquillo, who recently began employment with the US Forest Service. Over the last year, the crew has repainted the Yokahu Tower, performed trail maintenance on 13 miles of trail and helped open over six different trails, logged out over 70 trees, maintained forest roads and facilities, and assisted with volunteer groups. It’s safe to say that it has been a very busy and productive first year for this crew. ACE is so proud to be a part of El Yunque’s recovery and continued grandeur.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/elyunque/

Conducting an Annual Inventory

By Juan Davila

In this past week, we have worked solely on the Annual inventory of CHAM. Our team leader, Mark Calamia, asked for the help of Rodney Souter a conservator in Chamizal to help us on the process and teach us along the way. After a meeting and being briefed on what encompasses an Annual inventory and the 3 parts that separate the workload. The Annual Inventory is done every year, although I was told before it was done every 3 years in the NPS. It consists of three lists: Controlled Items,
Randomized Items and Accessioned items.

Once we had been briefed and given a reminder for how to handle and take care of the possible items we would find, we headed over to the vault and moved out all the big objects so that we could walk with ease. Along with my team, we prepared our cotton gloves and started to look for the items.  Controlled inventory was fast, since ICMS picked only paintings, and they were easy to find in the racks.

The randomized inventory was a whole other adventure that took us two days to complete. The items were stored in several locations and somewhere on the warehouse that I had mentioned in my previous blog. My team was very grateful that we had taken time in the summer to organize the warehouse because if not the random object would have been an even bigger task. We found many interesting objects, including a ring from U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ’s daughter gifted the ring to Chamizal because she felt it would honor her father and wanted it to be exposed in an exhibit of the Memorial. I also found correspondence between U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Mexican President Lopez Mateos concerning the treaty of Chamizal and the conversation that followed between Lopez Mateos and Lyndon B. Johnson after Kennedy’s assassination.

Figure 1: Working with my team at CHAM

After we finished the randomized  items list, we passed over to the non-accessioned items. This list was a headache because they had been wrongfully registered in the past. Instead of archival collections, each page or flyer was cataloged as its own item. To make it worst most items had inconsistent descriptions and we discovered many had the description of a different object. Most of the items were flyers or pamphlets from recitals or pianos. I got to see several flyers from the early 60’s promoting black face plays. This was shocking to me, I had read and seen them in class but once I saw the art in the posters, I could comprehend how atrocious those plays were. This week was a great learning experience. I gained valuable skills and knowledge from my peers and had a lot of fun finding objects in the vault.  I never expected I would find random pamphlets and signed documents from presidents.

Figure 2: Discovering Pamphlets and Documents from Signed Presidents

Discovering Women’s Suffrage Specific to Missouri

By Elizabeth Eikmann

Weeks 2 and 3 were filled with visits to the archive, with a few more visits to the archive, and ending with a visit to the archive! I spent the majority of the past few weeks diving into women’s suffrage related ephemera–images, objects, and papers.

My first archive visit was to the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center. The building was constructed in 1926 and was home to one of the largest Jewish synagogues in the nation for 62 years. In 1989, MHS purchased the building, renovating it to house their collections and archives. For more on the history of the building and to see a selection of historic images visit their website here.

Here are some images of the building I took while researching there:

Figure 1: Missouri History Museum Library

Figure: Beautiful Ceiling of Missouri History Museum Library

While at the Missouri History Museum Library and Research center, I explored the papers of the Couzin’s family–a nineteenth century St. Louis family with multiple family women involved in local and national suffrage activities. I reviewed the Civil War Claims books of Francis Minor, husband of suffragist Virginia Minor. I also sifted through what seems like hundreds of letters, pamphlets, and images related to suffrage.

Figure 3: Exploring the Papers of the Couzin’s family

Figure 4: St. Louis Public Library

Next I visited the St. Louis Public Library Central Branch, the first public library built in the city in 1865. The original building still houses the library and all of its archival collections. Though small, their women’s suffrage newspaper clippings and ephemera proved to be a mighty selection with some wonderful references and resources.

 

Here is a bird’s eye view of just a fraction of everything I uncovered the past two weeks:

Figure 5: Image of images!

Figure 6: Just a fraction of what I uncovered at the Library

…Now, back to work!

Figure 7: My work space

 

 

 

 

 

Minute Man National Historic Park Blog Post #3

By Allison Hillman

 

July 7th-13th 

This work week was full of Junior Ranger initiations, Parker’s Revenge tours, and North Bridge talks.

Junior Rangers, July 7th 

I mentioned in the last blog post that I get to swear in Junior Rangers and help them complete their activity books, and this week was no different. I got to help these adorable siblings aged four and six years old complete their activity books. The little girl insisted on calling me “teacher” and refused to let anybody but me help her, which was really sweet. This photo was taken by my supervisor who posted it on the official Minute Man Facebook page. If you can’t tell from my hair, it was very humid that day. The siblings got their badges and clutched their Junior Ranger certificates as they were leaving, and the little girl contemplated where she would hide it so that nobody would steal it from her.

Figure 1: Swearing in the Sweetest Junior Rangers!

Parker’s Revenge Talk, July 12th 

One of my duties as an intern ranger here is to give tours of the Parker’s Revenge archaeological site. A few years ago, a team of archaeologists came to Minute Man and excavated a site where it was speculated that a group of Minute Men ambushed the retreating British army. This talk is about thirty minutes and I get to take people on a short walk to the site itself. We have the thirty-two musket balls excavated from the site on display in the Minute Man Visitor’s Center. This talk pictured below was attended by over forty people which was by far the largest crowd I’ve had. We had people from California as far as Spain on this talk, which is part of the reason why I love this job so much. It is a delight to talk to these people and get their perspective on the history.

Figure 2: Guiding Tours on the Parker’s Revenge Archaeological Site

North Bridge Talk, July 13th 

I gave a few talks at the North Bridge in Concord where the “shot heard round the world” was fired. It is a twenty minute talk that details the events that took place at the bridge on April 19, 1775. The talk pictured here was attended by about fifteen people who were very interested in the history. This is the site where the colonists were ordered to fire against their own British army for the very first time, committing treason, and officially starting the Revolutionary War. This was the second talk I gave here at the bridge and I was very pleased with how it went.

Figure 3: Giving a Talk About “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”.

Cleaning Up and Moving Forward

By Anna Tiburzi

Another couple weeks have come and gone and I’ve been working near exclusively on model development. I’m going to go into a bit of what I’ve been focused on recently and, for those of you unfamiliar with SketchUp, I’ll describe a few of the tools and methods I’ve used.

One of the biggest challenges this past week has been cleaning up the meshes which I generated a couple weeks ago. These meshes act as the terrain for each model and are created from the existing contour information and layers from the CAD files for each of the six models. These contours can be brought into SketchUp from CAD and using the “From Contours” tool in the Sandbox Toolbar, can be turned into landforms.

 

Figure 1: The 1952 model before and after the mesh generation

While the meshes were informative and smoothed out much of the terrain, there were several areas in each model that had inconsistencies or generated incorrectly. Walkways were bumpy when they should be smooth, edges where the seawalls are were all over the place – anywhere where planar geometry was supposed to be (walls, stairs, etc.) didn’t quite generate accurately.

Figure 2: Errors in the mesh generation at the sea wall, before and after (1952 model)

I tried a couple different methods to smooth them out, but as tends to be the case, the hard way proved the most effective method – entering the terrain mesh groups and going in by hand to clean them up. Terrains generated in SketchUp result in a mesh “group” which you can enter and alter from inside without compromising the rest of the model.  Once inside, I erased incorrect connections and generated smaller terrain meshes in certain areas to patch them back up. There’s a certain amount of satisfaction when you fix up a mesh and see it fall back into place cleanly. I also started putting in some of that missing planar geometry, though there’s still a ways to go on that front, especially with the seawall.

Figure 3: Errors in the mesh generation are often associated with intersecting planar geometry such as stairs (top) and walls along paths (bottom). Here I’ve addressed the issues and resolved the geometry.

Now that the meshes are good to go, the next task I wanted to tackle was pathways. Going back to the CAD files once again for each model, I isolated the path information that I wanted and erased any extra data that wouldn’t be helpful and saved them each as new CAD files to be imported into the models. Like meshes, CAD files come in as a group. Using the “drape” tool, these lines can be dropped onto the new terrain mesh. This will make it possible later to add colors and textures to certain areas to separate out where different materials will go.

Figure 4: An axonometric of the 1952 model showing the model base (bottom), the terrain mesh with materials added (middle), and paths layer that was draped onto the mesh (top).

Unfortunately, not all of the paths draped successfully. This happens sometimes, it just means that the paths weren’t quite connected at all their corners and intersections. That’s easy enough to clean up – either redrawing lines with “hidden geometry” turned on (which makes it possible to see all the triangular planes that make up a mesh surface) or by drawing new lines and draping those down onto the mesh to connect back up all the gaps. Once they’re all connected up, materials (colors and textures) can be added to differentiate the surfaces.

Figure 5: Sometimes the lines that make up the paths aren’t quite connected at all their intersections, causing selections to be inaccurate. By closing the gaps, areas are separated and ready for material and texture fills.

I haven’t finished putting the meshes and materials together completely for each model, but they’re all well underway. While the before and after from two weeks ago to today may not look drastically different for each model, the time put in to clean them up and apply materials will make it much easier later on for when they’re brought into another program for further rendering.

Figure 6: Before and after of the 1937 model (top) and the 1952 model (bottom).

Finally, the last little bit I’ve been working on are building treatments. The buildings in the models aren’t very detailed and with a little work here and there they could be made more convincing. To get each one perfectly accurate however, would require a fair amount of legwork and time. Another option is to create general building “treatments” which could be applied quickly, relatively speaking, to the buildings. Going back through the historical photos, I’ve found general styles and ideas that could be added. Treatment options right now are focused on roofs, window style, and chimneys. Deciding what treatments we’re going to move forward with hasn’t been finalized or discussed yet – I’ll be working on that with my mentor, Professor Aidan Ackerman (at SUNY ESF), and the folks at NPS – but I’ve been collecting and creating some options that can be picked from or mixed and matched to keep the character of the buildings during each time period.

 

Figure 7: Examples of buildings from the historical photos and conceptual treatments to be further developed and applied at a later date.

There’s more to be done before the models are ready for rendering, but they’re coming along. Some days and tasks prove more challenging than others, but there’s a lot to be learned from them, both about my own skills and the nuances of the programs that I’m using. For now, I’ll keep moving the models along and getting them ready for the next stage.

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minute Man National Historic Park, Blog Post #2

By Allison Hillman

Black Powder Musket Training

The most exciting thing to take place these last few weeks was the black powder musket training we had. As part of my job here at Minute Man, I get to dress in traditional colonial garb and give musket firing demonstrations at Hartwell Tavern. So far, this is one of my favorite things I’ve done. However, getting dressed is incredibly complicated. There are more than thirteen costume pieces and a lot of steps to put on traditional colonial women’s clothing. It takes at least ten minutes every time to get dressed. A big part of this is because of the stay (corset). Lacing that up takes a majority of my time. We had two days of musket training. We learned all the steps in preparing to fire, of which there are fifteen. I had a fellow ranger take these pictures of me in my colonials. Clearly, I felt too cool to smile. Besides musket firing, one of the things we do at the tavern is wander about the home and tell visitors the history of the Hartwell family and their role in the war. We do not play specific characters which is nice, so we can talk to visitors freely and openly about a plethora of subjects.

Figure 1: Too cool to smile. Me in colonial garb.

Minute Man Visitors Center 

When I’m not doing the colonial reenactments, I spend a majority of my time at the Minute Man Visitor’s Center. We get between 400-1000 visitors a day depending on the day of the week, Friday through Sunday being the most busy. As the ranger on duty there, I have the wonderful honor of helping the Junior Rangers. They are primarily aged four through twelve and the activity books differ in difficulty based on age. This little girl, aged four, needed some help counting in order to finish the connect-the-dots activity in her Junior Ranger packet. Once the packet is complete, we get to swear them in and give them their badge. Most kids take this very seriously and are over the moon when they earn their badge. It is as cute as it sounds. I usually get to swear in a few Junior Rangers a day, and it is by far one of my favorite things about working at Minute Man.

Figure 2: Swearing in Junior Rangers. By far, my favorite task at Minute Man

The North Bridge 

I will typically spend one day a week at North Bridge and the North Bridge Visitor’s Center. I generally give people directions, tell them about the park, and take a plethora of family photos. Everyone is very kind and I’ve met people from all corners of the world. I’ve heard Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French, German, Swedish, and more spoken at the park since I’ve started. I have even had the chance to converse with a Deaf couple in ASL. It was nice to make that connection and they said they appreciated my help. I love being surrounded by so much diversity, I learn something new every day.

Figure 3: Surrounded by Diversity and Guiding those visiting is a daily task when I am at the North Bridge

Lincoln Home Blog

By Christian Rice

When I found out that I would need to write a few blog posts throughout the summer for this internship, I was … worried. Worried about making the posts interesting, and informative, and funny. And then I realized I would have to do them no matter what, so I just said … well, I don’t think I can repeat what I said, but you probably get the gist.

Now enter stage going-to-invoke-mid-2000s-peak-hipster-blogging-realness. 

The Goal:  Find a cute coffee shop with decent coffee and good Wi-Fi, set up shop in said coffee house and let the creative genius flow, instantaneously become world-wide blogging sensation (because are you really a member of our generation if you’re not seeking instant gratification?), look cute while doing all the above.

The Reality:  My plan started out great; it was like divine intervention. Right across the street from the Lincoln Home site is the historic Lindsey/Maisenbacher home which houses Wm. Van’s Coffee House. It has everything: the coffee, the internet, it’s a short walk from work, and as a bonus they even serve great, vegetarian friendly food. (The veggie naan is amazing).

FUN FACT: Lindsey borrowed money from Abraham Lincoln to help cover the down payment on the house.

Figure 1: Inside Wm. Van’s Coffee House. Photo courtesy of EnjoyIllinois

Unfortunately, that’s about as far into the checklist as I got. The endless flow of creative genius I was hoping for? More like a dried-up creek. I, for the life of me, could not think of anything to write. I’d get a sentence or two, read it over, delete it. It was like that for a good half hour or so until I finally gave up.

That was a week ago, when this post probably should have been turned in. Fast forward to today, and I am on the couch writing this, in my pajamas, hair in a bun, and reruns of Bones are playing on the TV in the background.

Is it the blog-writing experience I was gunning for? No.

Have the words been spilling onto the page? Also no. This is taking forever.

Is there a moral to this story that you should walk away with? Yes.

And that is? Don’t wait until the last minute to turn your -ish in.

No, but in all seriousness, what little advice I do have is this: Don’t let your expectations, whether they be high or low, rule your experiences.

Okay, with that little preface out of the way, I can finally share what the first few weeks of my internship have been like.

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is in Springfield, Illinois. This site, which consists of 13 historic homes on four-and-a-half square blocks within the city, was authorized by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and was officially established on October 9, 1972.

Figure 2: The Lincoln Home Photo courtesy of NPS

Whether it be through a tour of the Lincoln Home, or by exploring the many indoor and outdoor exhibits, visitors can uniquely discover what life was like in 1860s Springfield.

 

I grew up in southern Illinois, only a couple of hours from Springfield. I think I can speak for many of us who have grown up in Illinois when I say that, no matter what part of the state we are from, we often feel a sense of pride in the connection we have to Lincoln and his story. So, when I discovered this CRDIP internship opportunity at the Lincoln Home Site, I applied for it immediately. Not only would I have the chance to work close to home, but I would be doing work related to my academic studies (anthropology/archaeology), and I could feed off that “hometown” pride associated with Lincoln.  

FUN FACT:Lincoln and his family lived in this home for 17 years, and it is the only home Lincoln owned.

 

My job at Lincoln Home is to catalog and store artifacts collected from the restoration of the homes and outbuildings at the site. Some of the artifacts I work with include doors, windows, plaster, nails, and other building materials.

My supervisor, Susan Haake, didn’t hold back when she assigned me my first task at the site. It was tough. It was back breaking. It was … picking up tiny rocks off the floor of the Lincoln Home. You laugh, but what I said is true. Spend several minutes hunched over the floor and then come back. You’ll see.

Figure 3: An example of the types of Artifacts I work with

My next job involved the artifacts housed in storage. I was tasked with pulling out all the artifacts that came from the DuBois House and sorting through them. We’re talking windows, and boards, and plaster (piece of cake after those Lincoln Home rocks). I then wrote down detailed descriptions of each artifact and gave them catalog numbers, both of which I will be entering into the online database as the next step.

My background in archaeology mainly focuses on pre- contact peoples and associated artifacts. I’ve had limited interaction with historic artifacts before this internship, so there’s been a bit of a learning curve, but I’ve enjoyed learning about these new-to-me artifacts and the insight they hold into Lincoln’s life.

Figure 4: DuBois House Photo courtesy of NPS

Over the past three weeks, I’ve also had the opportunity to visit some of the other Lincoln- centered attractions in Springfield. My first weekend in town, I spent some time walking through the beautiful Lincoln Memorial Gardens. I also had the opportunity to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential museum.

 

Figure 5: Areas features around the Lincoln Memorial site

My First Days at Chamizal National Memorial

By Juan Davila

Hello everybody!!

My name is Juan Davila I am a recent college graduate. I graduated in May 2019 from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). I graduated with a bachelors in World History and a minor in Museum Studies. Most of my career courses I took them in border studies and the history in the border.

In May I started an Internship in as a Museum Curator at the Chamizal National Memorial (CHAM)and it has been a very interesting experience. The park was created to commemorate the harmonious settlement of a 100-year dispute between United States and Mexico as to where the border started and ended. The park was created at the same time with a sister park in the side of Mexico with the mission to celebrate the cultures of the borderland and promote mutual respect between both countries.

 

Figure 1: Chamizal National Memorial

I was not able to work the first week due to my background check not being processed on time. Since June started and our backgrounds checks had not been processed I was tasked to help with the Centennial Museum at UTEP. I was tasked with translating oral interviews for an exhibition that will be exposed in august. The interviews are from people who lived in Smeltertown or worked in the Asarco an American Smelting and Refining Company. The smelter opened in 1894 and closed in 2013. The smelter closed because the city of El Paso grew around the smelter and its pollution was affecting its citizens. It was really eye opening to read all the hardships people lived while working in the company and living in the small town created outside the company called Smeltertown.

 

Figure 2: Asarco, an American Smelting and Refining Company

On June 10 my background check passed, and I was able to start working inside the CHAM premises. I was tasked with the duty of assisting in the augmentation of the list of non-accessioned items. The museum has a really big collection that needs organizing and one of the firsts steps towards it is to realize just how big its collection is. Along with my team we finished listing all accessioned items on June 22 and moved on to organizing the warehouse to be able to store more objects inside of it. The warehouse is where all things come to end and its been fun and tiring organizing the artifacts and finding random things in weird places.