Balancing My Job On and Off the Field

The Wayne National Forest is composed of three districts: Athens, Marietta, and Ironton. Since starting my internship, I have done work in two of the three districts. On the days where I go out in the field, I help survey forest land to catalog cultural resources. To do this, I walk along specific transects with a GPS unit to track my progress. While walking, I look for any features or artifacts that should be recorded. I am learning how to document sites by taking photos, tracking waypoints on a GPS, and keeping detailed notes. The landscape here in southeastern Ohio has lots of hills and valleys. I am also learning about which areas are more likely to have sites, for example, steep slopes will be less likely to have sites than a floodplain.

When I am not in the field, I work from home on various projects including conducting research on this region’s history, building predictive models of where potential sites might be using historic maps, and updating the Heritage database. I use the information gathered on the survey walks to build a more complete picture of the cultural resources on the Wayne. I am also compiling information to nominate a site to the National Register of Historic Places. All of this work has helped me understand the people who were living in this part of Ohio in the past. It has been fascinating to learn about what drew people to the area and the types of lives they lived.

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