Displaying items by tag: Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
Saturday, 18 July 2020 15:21

Learning how to "work and play"

As might be aware, I am not at my site this summer. Following my work plan, I was instructed to visit a park with the goal to see its attractions through the eyes of a visitor and as a professional. It was clear to me what I was looking for, from educational signs, to interviews with interpretation and education staff; all while having the experiences the park had to offer. I coordinated the visit to Toroverde Adventure Park located in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. It is recognized for having the longest zip-line in the world (2.5 Kilometers). I interviewed a staff member who identified himself as "Jose" who was very helpful telling me about the history of the park, their mission and their goals. I appreciate they want to promote ecotourism in the center of the island. You can visit their website here http://toroverdepr.com/.

That was the work part, now comes the play... I arrived at 9 a.m. and after preventive Covid 19 measures were taken, I was received by an interpreter (Jose) and proceeded to jump straight into action. They lead us to a tent outside the visitor center that was dedicated to gearing up visitors with harnesses, helmets and gloves. At the first zip line, my group, composed of only 3 people, was carefully instructed on the correct and safe ways to travel. After that, there were 8 zip lines- each with an average distance of 850+ feet ) had us ricocheting off the mountains! Let me tell you, after pumps of adrenaline filling my body because I was continuously being pushed off ledges I thought I'd mastered my zip line skills, until I realized that the final 2 rides (main attractions) were not only high-speed but also had the highest launch points. So, as I walked to the top of a tower, I think it's right to say I was underestimating the situation. When reality took over, I was next in line to be hooked up. Unlike the first 8 zip lines, the way to ride the "Monster" was head first, face down. My only sense of safety was holding on to the harness dangling on the cable and the dude that was securing my gear-not Jose! I didn't dare look towards the ledge or I would've been in the border of a nervous wreck.  I received the"go ahead" signal and was pushed off the ledge, for a second I forgot EVERYTHING the interpreter had said to me. For about two seconds I was 30 feet above the ground... after I passed the visitor center, and this is a rough estimate, I was about a thousand feet above the ground! The sensation of the rapidly increasing speed and my eyes watering made me laugh out of excitement. With that same happy feeling I started to tilt my upper body forward in hopes of increasing the speed-as if I wasn't already going 60 mph! Nearing the end, as instructed I extended my arms outwards, like a plane or bird, to decrease the momentum. I was essentially flying from one mountain to another and it was an unreal sensation. My day at the park ended at 2 p.m. and I was starving, I went to a local restaurant and ate delicious plantain dish "Mofongo". This experience was not only insightful and educational but also fun; learning how to work and play. I am really grateful I had the opportunity to have such a great experience during these "interesting" times.

 

Published in EFTA intern blog
Monday, 29 June 2020 15:42

My first step into a larger world

Hello there! I have completed my first week officially as an LHIP intern for Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site! Training week! Well it has not been all fun and excitement- I have been doing a lot of reading (A LOT) about NPS and its network. I would have liked doing this at the park, but we all know due to recent events (Covid-19) most interns were limited in this years' experience. Many of us are working from home and only a handful just recently started to get to their sites. Nonetheless, this has not made me unenthusiastic with my work. To add to that excitement, I met my supervisor virtually! I can honestly say the interpretation and Education Division at Hopewell Furnace is in the care of an amazing supervisor, Neil Koch. He sent me a package in the mail, with many materials I needed for my first week of training. He even sent me a Junior Ranger badge that made me feel like a true park ranger! He has been extremely organized following a work plan and has provided me with the resources and much-needed guidance with my upcoming assignments. He also coordinated a call with the site manager, David Blackburn, an experienced supervisor, leader, and communicator. The takeaway from this first week: the importance of "small" but mighty park. From its history to the culture that it harnesses, Hopewell Furnace is a gem among others, its small community and "skeleton crew" preserve its main attractions including a small animal farm, charcoal making, natural resources and historic buildings. Hopewell is a snapshot of history itself; it is one of the first territories that helped Americas Industrialization process. 

You may think "its just history" and that's exactly what it is. I recognize an unexposed person like me could not see the actual value of a park like this. I appreciated it but did not have the tools to value the history, the people, and the experience. I have made it my new mission to relay what I have learned and reach out to smaller and diverse communities, offer the opportunity to spark the interest of history in the children of Latino communities. As obvious as it may sound, there's a lot to learn in Hopewell Furnace. I think now more than ever people should get out of their daily routines and explore what is often overlooked and taken for granted. I want to go out there and talk about the pillar of iron-works in America, about the village, the history of the Hopewell Furnace Historical Site!

p.s. This is my first internship and I would like to highlight the amazing support I've received from my supervisor. This has made a world of difference in my experience. Not only as a mentor, also in a spiritual level he has encouraged me to express myself and be the Educator I am destined to be. I am starting this journey with fresh eyes and an open mind and my primordial goal here is to learn. Learn about the system and how it works, learn about the people and how they manifest themselves, about the world and why are some wonders hidden from the conciseness of society. I am taking my first step into a larger world and I cant wait to let my presence be known with a guide like Neil. 

Published in EFTA intern blog
Friday, 24 April 2020 00:07

Yahel Delgado-Diaz

I would like to become a teacher, a coach and a mentor for kids like me. Show them the opportunities that I came to experience, sometimes late. I'm also planning on studying long-term with the goal of a Ph.D. in sports management. The reason behind all my efforts is my never-ending passion for education and hopes of creating a generation full of capable people with the potential to become athletes and to guide them to a better future. I believe we should all have the same opportunities to succeed and become what we want in life. I come from a long line of educators, and this is a calling for me. My goal is to be an inspiring educator in any environment, and I think experiences like this internship do that - prepare students, aspiring professionals, with the skill set needed to achieve that. I have never worked in an internship before, and I think this is a great moment for me to start. Puerto Rico's educational system does not encourage other methods of work but is a maintain and settle type of mentality. I aspire to change that.

 

Published in Intern Bios
Wednesday, 31 July 2019 18:34

Crayfish Corps at Valley Forge

Today I was able to work at Valley Forge National Historical Park (Hopewell Furnace sister park) with their Natural Resources staff and Interns. They invited me along to help with a seasonal program they do with the Crayfish Corp. What is the Cray Fish Corp you ask? It is a group of people who help with the removal of The Rusty Crayfish. In 2008, the rusty crayfish invaded Valley Creek in Valley Forge NHP and members of the Crayfish Corps joined National Park Service staff in the removal of the rusty crayfish populations by physically removing them from the creek. Their long-term goal is to maintain a ratio of one rusty crayfish or less for every four native crayfish present in Valley Creek. The rusty crayfish are considered a non-native, invasive species in the park, and throughout Pennsylvania. Originally, from the Ohio River Basin, this crayfish has been transported to new environments throughout the northeast primarily by bait fishermen, biological supply houses, aquaculture, and the pond and aquarium trade. The rusty crayfish is bigger, more aggressive, and eats up to twice as much as native crayfish in Valley Creek. They are able to eliminate all other crayfish species through direct competition for food and shelter and increasing the vulnerability of native crayfish to predators. Rusty crayfish also may cut the amount of aquatic vegetation, reduce aquatic insect populations and ultimately negatively affect large predators such as trout. We started our day by putting on waders and heading to the creek where we then used our nets to catch the crayfish. In order to find them we had to lift up rocks and place our nets directly in the opening so the crayfish could flow in. When we found a cray fish, we would then check if it is native or invasive and keep count by using the corresponding clicker. To tell if it its invasive, you would check the crayfish’s claws and back, if it had black bands around the claws and red spots on the back sides then its invasive. This was such a fun experience, I was able to learn about something completely new and have my office be the outdoors for the day! Who can complain about that! I am glad VAFO offers this program not only to staff but to the community too. It is a great way to get people out doors and take part in an activity that helps their local National Park.

 

Published in EFTA intern blog

Latino Conservation Week (LCW) has finally come! Since the beginning of my internship, I have been looking forward to this week and our LWC event at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. I partnered up with a fellow intern here to create an event to support the Latino community getting into the outdoors and participating in activities to protect our natural resources.

I am sure the other interns would agree that planning and hosting an event is not easy! Having absolutely no experience in event planning, there have been a few bumps in the road. However, working with the Hopewell team has enabled me learn the ins and outs.  The first step was coming up with activities to conduct during the event. Then we created an event plan where we added details, which our team members and future staff can refer back to. After dealing with all the logistics of the event, we started promoting it. I went to local communities and establishments to pass out our event flyer and spread word of our LCW event in person, in addition to promoting it via social media (a bit less personal, but it's a larger platform that is easier to share events quickly). Furthermore, we sent out a press release out that published in the local news! Check it out! 

https://www.berksmontnews.com/news/hopewell-furnace-hosts-bilingual-events-for-latino-conservation-week/article_670269f0-a1c8-11e9-8fc9-8b57631561c0.html

When planning an event, all should know that obstacles can get in the way of its success, such as weather. This is exactly what we are dealing with for our event. Today, I was informed that it could be too hot (dangerously high outdoor temperatures) to throw our event on July 20th. Therefore, we had to come up with ideas on how to move the event indoors. Unfortunately, we had to cut out some of activities that could not be done inside and shorten a few programs to accommodate staff and visitors. However, we will still be able to host activities that teach our visitors about our park and give them an educational experience.

Although the event will not go as originally planned, I am grateful to still be able to do it and appreciate that I was able to plan this event with the help of the Hopewell team.

Fingers crossed for a successful day!

 Wishing good luck to the rest of the interns with their LCW events!

 Stay tuned for my next post on updates on how the event turned out.

 

- Jhulian

 

P.S   I hope you enjoy that cute picture of our sheep!

 

Published in EFTA intern blog
Saturday, 06 July 2019 21:04

Trips and 4th of July fun!

It's been a month now since I packed my bags and moved to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. It's crazy how time flies when you are having fun and doing something you love!

 For the past month I have been able to learn more about the park, work on some events and take a few trips with my co-workers around Pennsylvania. Last week we took a mini field trip to Philadelphia where we got to visit the Museum of the American Revolution and Independence National Historical Park. We walked around the city for a little, embracing its beauty and the smell of greasy street food, which by the way, I had my first Philly cheese steak and oh my gosh it was amazing! We also went to Gettysburg for a day and explored the park and town. I appreciated being able to visit different National parks because I was able to mentally take notes on how they did things differently than us and how we can approve our park better by doing those certain things as well. 

 Besides taking trips, The Hopewell team have been preparing for our Independence celebration that happened on the 4th of July. Fortunately it was a huge success and we had many people attend our 2 o’clock program, where our friends group presented our annual commemoration of the Declaration of Independence. We had Molding and casting demonstrations throughout the day and fun crafts for the kids. Even the local news came out and recorded our programs! So overall we were so grateful for how it turned out.


Our next big event is Meet the Farm Animals Day so keep a lookout for updates and posts of cute sheep pictures!

 


Till next time!

-J.G

Published in EFTA intern blog
Thursday, 06 June 2019 23:12

New adventures with the Hopewell Team!

My first official week here at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site is coming to an end, and I can't tell you how excited I am for these next couple weeks ahead. After this extensive and productive week of introductions, a walk-through, and training, I have been able to see how special Hopewell and the team is.

I don't want to spoil too much of what I will be doing here in Hopewell, but one of the many projects I'm going to be involved in is getting to work closely with a young group of Latinx kids!

Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos ( CCLU ) is a bilingual, bridge-building organization, committed to enriching the lives of Latinos and others by embracing diversity through cultural, educational and recreational programs in the greater Pottstown area. The kids will be coming down to Hopewell and getting to spend some of their day here, along with their parents. I will be taking them on a walk, giving a small tour of the park,  all while doing  hands on activities with the children.

Getting to work with the Latinx community is obviously very important to me, so naturally I am happy to be able to share my love for the NPS with these kids and show them what it's like to be a part of a great team. Besides that, I will be helping the park with a few social media projects, updating signs and creating Interpretive Programs!


Stay tuned for my future posts about those projects! (:


¡Hasta la próxima!

Published in EFTA intern blog
Saturday, 01 June 2019 00:25

See you soon Hopewell!


Hi Everyone, my name is Jhulian Gutierrez! This summer, I will be participating in the 2019 Latino Heritage Program as a Visitor Services Intern at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. I was born in Miami, FL and was raised in both Florida and Texas. although I spent most of my childhood in the small town of Katy, TX. I am a Freshman at Lonestar college, where I am pursuing my AA to then transfer to a 4 year University to earn a degree in Marine Zoology. Growing up, I was always drawn to nature, animals, history and all things science! My parents always told me I was a hyperactive child with such eagerness to learn. Now, in my early adulthood, I can say I have chilled out a bit, yet I still possess the same keenness to learn.


This summer it will be full of many firsts for me! This will be my first road trip on my own, my first time being in Pennsylvania, and my first internship ever! As I count down the days to the beginning of my program, you can imagine the excitement and nervousness that I am feeling. I am beyond honored to have the opportunity to work at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. I will not only get to learn, but teach visitors about the park and its many amazing recreational opportunities, park facilities, and  interpretive services. I will get to research for the park and learn about the large diverse group of people who used to work there and the many jobs they had, to run an iron plantation.


As I approach the day where I will begin this new adventure, reality is starting to hit. I am realizing how truly blessed I am to have this opportunity to work with the amazing program LHIP and the NPS. I would like to say thank you to everyone who has helped me get here! In addition, I would like to wish my fellow interns good luck to all the other interns and hope everyone has a great summer!


Stay tuned for the upcoming blogs I will be posting this summer detailing the many exciting experiences I will have with the Hopewell Team.


Until next time!

Published in EFTA intern blog
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:13

Jhulian Gutierrez

I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, but currently reside in Hempstead, Texas. Ever since I was a young boy, I have been fascinated with zoology and wildlife conservation. Growing up, my aunt, who is also my mentor, would tell me stories of her career in environmental science and working as a park ranger. These stories left me in awe, as my love for wildlife conservation grows stronger every minute. I dream to one day have a career which I love and that will challenge me every day. As a first generation college student, this has become a passion. After I graduated high school, I moved northwest of Houston, Texas and began taking courses at Lone Star College, where I am pursuing an associates degree. I then want to transfer to a university to obtain my Bachelors in marine zoology. I am very grateful and look forward to the opportunity to work at Hopewell Furnace national Historic Site in Elverson, Pennsylvania. I plan to take all of the experience and to utilize the skills I acquire towards my future career.

Published in Intern Bios