June 15, 2011 —
The National Park Service has hired 16 seasonal employees this summer at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River to aid in implementing the importance of park safety.
A mix of people from college students, to a husband and wife team, to a local teenager and more, all volunteer their summer to keep the park safe. NPS staffer, Ingrid Peterec, an education specialist, is tasked with their training and supervision. Peterec has been at the UDSRR since 1993 and she says the park service’s internship program and other seasonal job opportunities are great because they offer a chance to gain knowledge. The real benefit to the experience though is, “you’re giving them the opportunity to really learn what the park service is all about from the bottom all the way up,” Peterec said.
Jobs vary, depending on where staff are stationed. Some days they may be patrolling the river, working at a river access, or teaching children about the environment at local summer camps and various public locations. By the end of the summer, staff leave with new strengths, and have better paddling and public speaking skills.
All new interns receive orientation about the park, interpretative training and learn first aid basics, CPR and river craft skills. The interpretative training helps the interns develop educational programs. When hiring, Peterec looks for people who are outgoing and can work “independently without much supervision.”
This summer’s interns come from Wabash College, Unity College and East Stroudsburg University. The intern’s majors tend to focus on parks and recreation, environmental sciences, criminal justice and numerous others.
According to Chief of Interpretation Loren Goering, the internship program and the seasonal employees are “the backbone of the park.” Without the seasonal employees, who he calls “our voice,” the NPS would not be able to meet as many park visitors as they do. The interns and seasonal workers are “the eyes and ears of the park,” because, “they really are the life throughout the park.”
Along with interns, there are also volunteers. There is Bob and Barbara Hare who live in Florida during the winter and come to the UDSRR to volunteer for the summer. They started volunteering four years ago. Bob tends to patrol the river and likes the “beautiful country side, being on the river and helping people.” His biggest challenge is getting people to wear lifejackets.
Each month, the staff works with the National Canoe Safety Patrol, a group of volunteers who patrol the river to ensure safety and to enrich their skills. “We could not do what we do without them [NCSP], because they’ve got the skills, the experience, the years and they’re absolutely wonderful,” Peterec says. Additionally, the staff goes to Promise Land State Park in Greentown, PA for workshops to improve their educational programs.
Adam Lawrence is a seasonal employee who started volunteering after he graduated college. A lifelong resident of Honesdale, PA, Lawrence volunteers because of his interest in the National Park Service and his goal to gain more experience with the service. Lawrence says it has been a challenge developing solid educational programs with topics that he is familiar with, but not expert on.
Lawrence says the job is fun because, “we’re never in the same place day in and day out. We’re constantly moving, changing locations, constant rotations which adds a lot of excitement and adventure.” Because of the hiking trails, shade and because Ten Mile River stays relatively busy, it ranks as Lawrence’s favorite place to work.