Displaying items by tag: Rocky Mountain National Park
Friday, 24 April 2020 00:11

Jhulian Gutierrez

I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, but currently reside in Sunrise, Florida. 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 work 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 that I love and that will challenge me every day. As a first-generation college student, this has become a passion. I am now at Broward College where I am pursuing an associate’s degree. I then want to transfer to a university to obtain my bachelor in marine zoology and minor in education. This is my second season with LHIP, and I am very grateful and look forward to the opportunity to work at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. I plan to take all of the experience and to utilize the skills I acquire and apply it to my future career.

Published in Intern Bios
Thursday, 25 July 2019 14:54

Fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park

 

Hi, everyone! I’m Kassidy, EFTA’s writing intern here in Boulder, Colorado. I have been doing some rounds of site visits for our blogs and recently visited Alejandro, LHIP's interpretation intern at Rocky Mountain National Park. Continue reading to share my experience meeting Alejandro and to follow up on the work he's been doing with RMNP visitors!

On this warm summer day, I am meeting with Alejandro Ramos, Latino Heritage Internship Program’s (LHIP) Direct Hire Authority (DHA) interpretation intern, in Estes, Park Colorado. Having already completed an LHIP internship last summer, Alejandro couldn’t resist the opportunity to be back in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Last summer, Alejandro enjoyed educating kids on the surrounding environment and wildlife. His interpretation internship this summer allows him to continue doing just that. This afternoon, I am accompanying Alejandro on one of his informal presentations in the park where he will teach kids how to fish with play-toys and educate the visitors on fishing regulations in the park.

As Alejandro arrives at our meeting spot, he greets me with a big smile and I instantly notice a calming charisma about him. He welcomes me with many questions about myself, and then begins to passionately tell me about the interpretation program he’s doing with LHIP. The focus of the program is to provide the public, and specifically, Latino visitors, with information on fishing and wildlife. In addition to presentations in RMNP, Alejandro is also responsible for creating helpful handouts for the visitor centers in order to provide easy access for Latino communities into the park’s programs.

After our initial meeting, we drive to the National Park Services (NPS) Center where Alejandro can grab all of the resources he needs for the presentation. In the basement of the main office, Alejandro goes through boxes and collects handbooks, stickers, toy fish and all of the other necessary items. As he stores the junior ranger handbooks in his car, he says that the junior ranger program is truly making a positive impact on the community. The junior ranger program allows kids to learn about the RMNP environment and wildlife through fun activities and receive a badge when they finish. “It’s like planting seeds – maybe not all of them will sprout but it’s making a difference,” Alejandro says.

Once Alejandro has everything he needs, we drive to a nearby creek where he can set up his presentation. He continues to tell me about his love for the park’s interpretation programs as a way to get more people involved with the surrounding environment. Alejandro tells me that his favorite part of the interpretation program is when he’s doing a presentation and sees a group of Latino kids walking up. He says, “there are very few [Latino kids] but when they come I can talk to them in Spanish and really connect with them because of their backgrounds.”

Alejandro hopes he can encourage these kids to be further connected with nature in these programs. His own love for nature has been instilled in him since he was little. His dad took him fishing and hunting often, and he grew up on a farm with many pets. But it wasn’t until he got his own truck at 16-years-old, that he began to cultivate a deeper respect for his surrounding environment. Once Alejandro got his own truck, he was able to thoroughly explore his home state, California and search for remote areas where he could observe nature without distraction. “Nature is not artificial therapy. No matter what’s going on in your life, when you connect with nature your problems are much smaller,” he says. Now, Alejandro feels that it is important for other kids to connect to nature in the same way.

After Alejandro sets up his presentation on a park bench, he immediately starts inviting people over to talk about fishing in the park. At first, adults come by with fishing questions, to which Alejandro has all of the answers – along with fish identification cards or fishing regulation pamphlets to support his case. Eventually, families trickle in, and Alejandro has all of the kids try fishing. Each kid eagerly takes a fishing line and begins fishing out of the plastic bin at their feet. It doesn’t take long for the frayed string on the fishing line to cling to a metal hook placed in each of the toy fish. As the kids bring up fish, Alejandro holds a net to secure its landing. After celebrating the catch, Alejandro turns over the fish and has the little fishermen read the attached label. Depending on the species name, he tells them if they would be allowed to keep the fish or if they would have to release it back into the water. After explaining the fishing regulations and the concept of catch and release to the kids, he demonstrates how to safely return the fish into the water (or the plastic bin, in this case) because these toy fish “aren’t edible.”

Following the presentations, Alejandro and I pack up everything and do a quick walk up the creek – so I can see the view and so Alejandro can pass stickers out to the families along the path. Then we head back to the car, and Alejandro says we are going to make sure the dumpsters are closed properly so bears are not lured to campgrounds.

Then as we head back to the visitor center, Alejandro proceeds to tell me how passionate he is about the work he is doing with LHIP. He’s learned so much from last summer and continues to expand upon his knowledge each day. “I’ve really learned how important it is to work as a team. We all come from different places and backgrounds but we’re doing the same job and having fun doing it,” Alejandro tells me. After this summer’s internship and returning home, he hopes to get a job with the California Fish and Game Commission. Although he previously wanted to go into law enforcement, he has been inspired by what he’s learning in his internship and is considering someday “going the NPS” route. But whatever he ends up doing, there is no doubt he will be making a positive impact on youth and his surrounding environment.

Published in EFTA intern blog

 

“I promise to protect Rocky Mountain National Park and all my neighborhood parks!” These are my favorite words out of the Jr. Ranger pledge here at Rocky Mountain National Park. Every time a child fills out his or her Jr. Ranger Book, they come in the Ranger Station to earn their badge. My job as an Interpretive Ranger has been to review the Booklets with children and award them their badge. It has been an amazing experience for me to have children pledge an oath to protect the environment, and become responsible stewards of conservation

Before this season I had my sights set on a career in law enforcement or policy with the National Park Service. Now, a month into my internship, I have realized that I really enjoy working with kids. I am considering getting my teaching credentials to work with children in the future. I think it is important that we plant as many seeds as we can in the minds of today’s Junior Rangers. Sometimes all it takes is a simple sticker or stamp to inspire a kid to want to come back to the park.

While working a shift at the Ranger Station, it is not uncommon to have visits every 10 minutes from children who have finished their Jr. Ranger books. Sometimes they are very nervous and won’t speak to the Ranger behind the counter; I totally understand because that was me growing up, I was very shy. I have learned to adjust to the different levels of enthusiasm in the children that come in. Some kids are happy to talk to a Ranger, while others may be more shy and need an extra sticker as incentive.

I feel really lucky to be that Ranger behind the counter passing on the message of conservation to the children who visit the park. These Children are the future generations who will ultimately become the next law enforcement, research, and interpretation personnel of the National Park Service.

Published in EFTA intern blog
Thursday, 20 June 2019 21:27

Fish are Friends not Food

This season I will be taking on an interpretation project focused on fish species and fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Within the park you can find Brown, Rainbow, Brook, Lake, and various types of Cutthroat Trout. There has been a lot of confusion in the past due to the diversity of Cutthroat trout found in this part of Colorado. An overwhelming variation of genetics was discovered in 2012 through genetic testing which led to more questions about native drainages and why some fish ended up far away from their native streams. It is believed that previous fish stocking and hybridization have rearranged the populations of fish in many waters. The Greenback Cutthroat trout is one of the species that was of concern because it is currently threatened and it is also the Colorado State Fish.

With such endless fishing opportunities in the park and extensive restrictions on waters, visitors often have questions that may be difficult to answer. I will be gathering information from researchers in order to develop an informational interpretive program that will inform visitors and anglers about the regulations in the park. I aim to facilitate the experience of visitors who are interested in fishing but may lack the knowledge of regulations to successfully enjoy our public waters.

Growing up fishing in my home state of California, I have a deep passion and appreciation for fishing. My parents got me hooked on fishing when I was about 5 years old and I have been going to the water ever since. In my project I will incorporate kid’s activities and the Junior ranger fishing badge to promote conservation and hopefully spark an interest in kids about fishing. I will also provide hands-on instructions on how to safely land and release a fish. I feel very lucky to have been introduced to this awesome way of connecting with our environment, and I wish to share my love for nature with future generations!

Published in EFTA intern blog
Thursday, 13 June 2019 19:28

Settling into the Llama House

This summer I will have the privilege to call Rocky Mountain National Park my home. Rocky Mountain National Park or Romo for short, is made up of 415 square miles of protected federal public land that supports a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Surrounding the east side of the park, is the town of Estes Park. I am excited to begin this season and learn new things. The scenery in this part of Colorado is amazing! On my first day at Romo I saw moose, elk, and mule deer. Everything around me is green and some mountains are still covered with snow. The diversity of plants in Romo is overwhelming, there are more than 100 plant species that I will try to Identify this summer.

I have hiked  the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California before, but the Rocky Mountains are giants! I will be living at 8,000 feet of elevation, which is a drastic difference from my hometown of Manteca located at 36 feet above sea level. Going out on my interpretive hikes will definitely be a workout. I should have super strong lungs by the end of the season. Despite being 90 minutes away from Denver, I was lucky to find that Estes Park has a Safeway and various stores are within reasonable distance of each other. I can totally understand why 4.6 million people visited the park this past summer of 2018. There are beautiful mountains, a grocery store, and hotels all within 15 minutes of each other.

I will be staying at a newly built facility we nicknamed the Llama house, because our next door neighbors are 3 Llamas. I have 6 awesome roommates and I can’t wait for the season to officially begin!

Published in EFTA intern blog
Friday, 29 June 2018 15:09

When Can I Start!

Hi everyone, my name is Alejandro Ramos and I am an intern this summer at the legendary Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Coming from the small town of Manteca, California, exploring the Rockies has always been a dream.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 28 November 2018 19:52

Alejandro Ramos

My name is Alejandro Ramos, and I will be an intern this summer at the legendary Rocky Mountain National Park! The San Francisco Bay area is my birthplace, and Manteca is my hometown. Located in California’s Central Valley, Manteca is a place rich in opportunities to enjoy nature. Being the oldest of four, I was lucky enough to have amazing parents who nurtured and inspired my love for nature. Both of my parents are from Mexico; my dad is originally from Juchitlan, Jalisco, and my mom from San Juan, Zacatecas. Growing up, my parents would frequently take us on camping and fishing trips. Now I frequently go on camping trips all around California, and have developed a deep appreciation for wildlife. I am currently attending Modesto Junior College, with a predicted transfer date to UC Davis in May of 2020 for B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation.

 

Published in Intern Bios