Monday, 22 June 2020 04:28

Going into the Fifth Week and Juneteenth

Hello everyone! 

Self-quarantine is over!!! It has been over for over two weeks. I was so excited to finally be out in the field. I am finally able to look at a couple of different invasive species and tell them apart. It finally all doesn’t look the same to me. I'm always amazed when looking at parks/green spaces and find out that what I used to think was native is actually not. The picture for this blog post mostly has invasive species that was on a site at the North Bridge (if you would have told me a month ago that those are all native species, you could have fooled me). Since we're talking about invasive species, that site also contained an invasive species called catchweed bedstraw (picture below and identified using inaturalist). This plant was found in a section of the park that is called sergeant field and is a wetland area. This place used to be a farm that included Elisha Jones’s house. Quick bit of history and lore on Elisha Jones house!

“When Thomas Jones died in 1774, his son Elisha inherited all of his property. In April 19, 1775, a day when Elisha Jones, his wife Elizabeth, and two young children at the time were living near the North Bridge when fighting broke out. According to legend, Elisha was watching the British retreat from the North Bridge when one of them took a shot at him; the bullet lodged in the shed. The hole can still be seen today, though whether or not it came from a bullet is up for debate” (source:


Back to the bedstraw, I found out that this flowering plant (bedstraw) was used for filling in mattresses that the soldiers used when coming to America (which is why it is called bedstraw).There are other species of bedstraw such as sweet-scented bedstraw (G. odoratum) that is used in perfumes and sachets and for flavoring beverages. Lady’s bedstraw (G. verum), is used in Europe to curdle milk and to color cheese. (source:



“Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures”


Juneteenth recently just passed; I was not sure how to include this in my post. In fact, I didn’t know about the exact details until the last couple of years. So, if you also don’t know exactly what this celebration is about. I will include some facts below (link of these sources will be below as well as some videos on the topic):

  • Two years after the emancipation proclamation (passed in 1863) Juneteenth is the anniversary of June 19,1865, the day that 200,000 Texan slaves found out they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. They were the last slaves to find out.
  • Major General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers delivered the news to the slaves and after that day it became a tradition for African Americans to celebrate freedom.
  • Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order Number 3:
    • "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
  • The Juneteenth flag with its rectangle and five-pointed star serves as a reminder that slavery was made illegal.
  • 41 other states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday or holiday observance, including Rhode Island earlier this year. 

Sources & video:,

If you choose not to watch any of the videos above, please consider watching these two:


Published in HAF intern blog
Monday, 01 June 2020 20:31

My thoughts on Concord and fresh cheese

Hi! Hello!

I hope you are all well and staying safe. There is some much going on and being away from home makes me wish things were different. That however does not change the fact that I am excited to be here, and that video chat has never been ever more present in my life. I have officially been here over a couple of days almost a week, but for now I want to talk about how last week went:

I left home last Tuesday and traveled from New Jersey (NJ) to Massachusetts (MA), made one stop. I stopped by a grocery store on my way to Concord and was nervous to walk around, staying six feet away at all times is challenging. During that stop, I put on hand sanitizer before and after, wore a mask, and made sure to keep the appropriate distance from everyone. I was on the lookout for something to drink, until I saw in the refrigerator section Mexican/Latin American products (gromex, tropical, queso fresco, and crema). I was surprised to see this at a random stop in Connecticut. I almost wanted to stop and take a picture to show my parents (I didn’t). I bought a can of soda and left. 

Arriving at Concord, I did not realize how beautiful it was going to be. Google street view and in person are two different things.Then I saw the inn that I would be staying and I was even more shocked. It is bigger than the apartment I live in back home. I was grateful to be given the chance to live here during my time at Minute Man National Historical Park. Early next morning, I was in front of the North Bridge. The feeling was nostalgic, especially during these times. I remembered geeking out with my friends back in 6th grade about US history on our trip to D.C. I felt lucky to be here. 

I met Margie, who has been very helpful and gave me some tips on where to get food. I was given a quick tour of some areas around the park and learned about some invasive species (e.g. Japanese knotweed) in the area when dropping off my car rental. I am always surprised by the differences between cities and small towns. Constant car horns are replaced with bird chirps. The night time is always a little more darker. People have preferences but I like both. Which brings me to that one afternoon on the porch when I was reading a book (an autobiography full of humor). As I looked up ahead at the intersection, the trees were rustling, a nice breeze came along, and I thought to myself...I should have bought fresh cheese and corn tortillas when I had the chance.

It is always an adjustment moving from one place to another even if it is temporary. I am however thankful and beyond grateful for being given the opportunity to be part of this internship and being given the permission to travel during uncertain times. Everyone here has been so kind and helpful. It has been a memorable first week and I can’t wait to go out to the field. 

Published in HAF intern blog
Thursday, 23 April 2020 21:50

Patsy Herrera

Patsy Herrera is an undergraduate Biology major with a concentration in Environmental Science and a minor in Anthropology from Montclair State University. Born and raised in New Jersey, Patsy and her twin brother are first generation Mexican-Americans. Her interests focus on research and doing fieldwork in ecological agriculture that aids in conservation and food scarcity in underprivileged communities. During her undergraduate studies, she was part of a research project in Madagascar led by a Montclair State professor as a field assistant, an intern for PSEG Institute for Sustainable Studies, STEM Pioneer Mentor, and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation mentor and scholar. She also enjoys learning about soil science, insects, data analytics, permaculture, and making GIS maps. In her free time she enjoys painting, gardening, going on picnics with friends, and volunteering for nonprofits that support underrepresented people. Patsy will be completing her undergraduate degree in May 2020. She is grateful to be part of LHIP this summer with the people at Minute Man National Historical Park.

Published in Intern Bios

Hello again!

The area today known as Concord was once owned by the Pennacook Native Americans who named the area Musketaquid—Algonquin for “grassy plain.” The highly productive soils are due, in no small part, to the confluence of the Assabet and Sudbury rivers, forming the Concord River near the center of town. The rich soils, close access to water, and the relatively level terrain has allowed for continual human settlement and subsequent farming for thousands of years. It was no doubt these features that first drew the Massachusetts Bay colonists to Musketaquid, as they scouted new lands for settlement.

By the time the events of April 19th, 1775 occurred, the colonists at Concord had greatly altered the surrounding landscape over the previous 140 years. Parcels of land were surveyed, subdivided, and cleared for cultivation. Most of the original forests had been cut down to make way for additional fields, as building materials for new houses and as fuel for heating and cooking needs. Today, many of these historic fields are still visible; their boundaries clearly marked by those classic New England stone walls, old farm paths, and rustic ox bridges—each a testament to the agrarian way of life that dominated the small subsistence holdings throughout the area.

Keep in mind, we are a very short 18 miles from the center of Boston, and while the majority of the landscape outside the park is a patchwork of affluent suburban neighborhoods, small scale farming is clearly still a part of the social fabric of the area. With Minute Man National Historic Park neatly situated amongst these communities, that strong agricultural heritage is reflected in the park’s roughly 100 acres of designated historic farm fields— some still worked as the Pennacook and English did almost 400 years ago.

This summer I will be working on a Cultural Landscape Report as well as an updated Agricultural Management Plan. Both will focus on the historic agricultural fields currently under cultivation as well as those which have been lost, but still show promise for future use. I will be inventorying the agricultural land, assessing the current conditions, determine their fertility potential, and help develop recommendations on how to improve them even further. Graphically, I will be compiling that information into a series of maps to better illustrate the findings. I have been using the last couple of weeks to pour over the mountain of background information, but I feel confident I will be up to speed in no time and moving on to gathering data and compiling my findings.  

Until the next time!

Marcos Gonzalez  

Published in HAF intern blog
Thursday, 06 June 2019 12:32

A Road Well Travelled


I am going to be working as a Resource Management Assistant at Minute Man National Historic Park in Concord, Massachusetts this summer. Located sixteen miles west of Boston, Minute Man National Historic Park spans three towns- Concord, Lincoln, and Lexington- and covers 1,038 acres. Established in 1959, the park encapsulates much of the original route the British troops used to march from Boston to Concord, culminating in a series of running battles on April 19th, 1775, which proved to be the opening of the Revolutionary War.

What has really struck me so far, is how old some of these sites are! This land was originally part of the Pennacook territory- an Algonquin speaking Native American Nation, who controlled an area from present-day southern Maine, through New Hampshire and south to northeastern Massachusetts. The Pennacook were decimated by a small pox epidemic in the early 1600s – a fate suffered most by the coastal nations prior to the permanent settlement of European colonist from England beginning in 1620. In 1635, the English negotiated the acquisition of a six-mile square parcel of land known as Musketaquid. Promptly renamed Concord, the farming community became the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s first inland settlement. As for the Pennacook, those who managed to survive further outbreaks of disease and most notably King Phillips War (1675-78) were forced to move north to Canada, or west to upstate New York.

By 1775, this region had been settled by the English Puritans for over 140 years. The park also maintains and interprets homes along the route known as “witness structures”- so called because they were there when the British troops marched past in 1775. The landscape is highly picturesque, with a series of rolling meadows, dense woodland, small farms, winding roads flanked by typical New England stone walls. The blending of the past and present- with the historic sites existing right alongside the everyday bustle of a very modern Concord- holds a certain charm unique to New England.

A unique challenge faced by the park is road congestion. Massachusetts Rt. 2A was built along several sections of the original “Battle Road” and now is a major east/west though fare for commuters headed in and out of Boston. Additionally, Rt. 2A is a major access point for Hanscom Air Force Base. I have observed a kind of ebb and flow of traffic each morning and evening along this historic corridor, Monday thru Friday, like clockwork. While vehicle traffic is part of modern life, especially in Boston, I found it unique that the park is challenged with preserving the integrity of the historic landscapes, really enabling visitors to feel fully immersed, while at the same time trying to mitigate the steady flow of commuters through the park, not necessarily here for the history.

Until the next time!

Marcos Gonzalez  

Published in HAF intern blog
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:37

Marcos Gonzalez

Hello! I am originally from Jacksonville, FL. I am a member of the graduating class of 2013 from the United States Coast Guard Academy, located in New London, Connecticut. I completed five years of active duty service in the US Coast Guard where I was stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia and Kings Bay, Georgia. I met my wife, Rachel B. Gonzalez, senior year at the academy and we were married in 2016. In summer of 2018, I left the service and we moved to Springfield, Massachusetts so I could attend graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I recently completed my first year of studies in Landscape Architecture. I enjoy cycling, skiing, hiking and all things history and politics.

Published in Intern Bios
Thursday, 29 November 2018 14:33

Karla Morales

Karla Morales is an upcoming third year college student at Rowan University, double majoring in History and Secondary Education. Karla hopes to become a high school history teacher. Her love for history and educating others motivates her, and she believes that everyone is capable of learning more. Karla loves a good challenge and adventure so she is looking forward to this internship through the Hispanic Access Foundation and National Park Service.

Published in Intern Bios