Serving at Cape Lookout

Written by: Jonah Snead



My position at Cape Lookout National Seashore with the Traditional Trades Advancement Program (TTAP) has provided me with new skills, relationships, as well as a greater knowledge of what happens behind the scenes of our national parks. If I had to pick one thing that I’ve enjoyed the most it would be photographing the bird population at the park. Being a photographer, it’s given me an entirely new passion being able to photograph the migration season and share those photos with the park staff and visitors to show how much diversity is here. I’ve seen over 160 different species of birds in roughly 4 months. My hope is that this will encourage more people to visit and see what they can find.


Picture of a bird about to take flight


My position is part of the Historic Preservation crew. We work as a team to restore historic structures that have been affected over time by events like hurricanes. This past summer we worked to restore buildings in the Historic Village in Cape Lookout such as the Coast Guard Boathouse. We repainted the building, repaired windows, as well as restored the swinging doors that were used to protect the boats housed inside.


Cape Lookout Coast Guard boathouse


Something that fascinates me about Cape Lookout is that you could come here today, and a week from now it could look completely different.  Being a barrier island, Cape Lookout takes the full force of the ocean every day. The change day to day may be minimal, even unnoticeable, however when you get a hurricane, nor’easter, or even just a strong windy day, the changes become noticeable. It’s exciting to go out to the Cape nearly everyday and not know what will have changed.


Jonah on a boat riding the waves


Back in January my brother and I went to Alaska for a weeklong vacation, extremely cold but worth every second of it. During that time we stayed with a friend of his where we got on the topic of working for the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Fish and Wildlife. This conversation sparked something that I really hadn’t thought of seriously before. I of course went and applied for jobs on USA jobs without knowing what I was doing or having a decent resume for it. A few weeks passed and my brother sent me a link for a position with ACE. I continued to keep checking the job board and applied for whichever spots caught my eye until I was selected for the position at Cape Lookout, and it’s been an amazing experience. After my term here is over, I hope to either find a job within the National Park Service, or continue with ACE in another position growing my skillset.

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