28 Sep Learning at the Wayne
Throughout the span of the past 13 weeks, I have been able to explore many field opportunities and have new experiences. Instead of explaining one, I will explain several new experiences that I have encountered throughout my internship! I genuinely have enjoyed and learned so much as I have been stationed here. Here are a few of my highlights!
AmeriCorps Team Manager
Although I have been apart of volunteer groups, I have never had the chance to be able to lead one. I had the privilege to be apart of a team of managers to a group of seven AmeriCorps members to help restore the trails on the Wayne National Forest – Ironton District. Everyone, ranging from 18–26-year-old, came from a different background, which was such a unique experience. From California to Rhode Island, each volunteer had such a diverse and interesting perspective, which was a great thing to learn from. I not only had the opportunity to be able to work with such hard-working individuals, but also being able to now call them my friends.
In my first week of being stationed at the Wayne, I was asked to be apart of a five person team of managers to help these volunteers to not only learn more about the environment, but to learn how to maintain these trails, learn more about trail safety, and being able to provide natural accessibility to the public. Throughout the seven weeks of them being here, they were able to maintain and restore twenty miles of trails, complete four differed trail projects that were in desperate need of assistance, inventoried 150 recreation signs that were dispersed throughout the entire forest, as well as completed mission critical recreation tasks.
Although we all started around the same time, I was able to help them learn about tool maintenance, trail maintenance, environmental restoration, species identification, Avenza/ trail map applications, and more.
Although they ended up leaving to go back to their homes, we all still connect with each other. They were such a joy to work with!
Here are some kind words from one of the AmeriCorps team members:
“I spent my summer volunteering at the Wayne National Forest, and it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had and I would not trade it for anything. We worked under the supervision of the Multi-Resource Crew and it was such an incredible learning experience. I am used to working in an office environment, so hiking in the forest every single day and working with hand tools and power tools was definitely a big shift for me. We helped to maintain the hiking trails along with other recreational areas of the forest by rebuilding tread, clearing trails of debris and weeds, and more. Our supervisors were always so supportive and appreciative of the work that we did everyday, and their energy really helped our team and myself personally to be motivated and keep working hard. It was a lot more fun than I expected to be. I know that although I would have gotten the work done regardless, my incredible team and supervisors made it so much easier to get past the hard work in the hot and humid days. I learned so much from everyone involved and I know that I have made some lasting and valuable relationships, both professional and personal, with the people that I met this summer. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity. I hope to have more opportunities like this, and I want to volunteer at a national forest or park again. It showed me how much work is put into maintaining these areas for the public, and my appreciation for the people who are behind it has grown. Anytime I go for a hike, I will know that there is a group of people working hard to maintain those trails and areas as safe as possible for me and other people who use these resources.”-A.K.
Forestry Fair Photography Assistant & Woodsy the Owl
The Wayne National Forest put on its first ever Forestry Fair on Sept. 16th, 2022. The Forestry Fair was a way for young students to learn more about the Forest that surrounds their hometown. I volunteered to help with photography since I love taking photos. I had the privilege to serve as a photography assistant with the Public Affairs Office and make a special appearance as the famous “Woodsy the Owl.” As having a minor in photography, I very much enjoyed doing this! I had never worked with a team of photographers before, and it was so interesting being able to see everyone’s perspectives. I was able to photograph the event through a safe and private approach. The other PAO assistants were so kind and gave me a rundown of what it was like working in Public Affairs and being in their position. I very much enjoyed my time working with them and then taking the time to share their experience with me. I am hoping to work with them again with more potential events in the future!
Here are some of the photos that I was able to assist with! Check out the Facebook page!
After submitting my photos from the Forestry Fair, I was asked to serve as the Ironton Content Creator! What I will start doing is assisting as a photographer for the Ironton District on the Wayne National Forest and help create content that would help promote the land of the Forest! Something that I have enjoyed doing is macro photography. I love focusing on the details of plants and species that are found in the Forest. I love doing this because an individual may not catch the detail right away from the naked eye. I hope that as I explore this new opportunity, that I will be able to learn more about PAO, the importance of its role, as well as find new/ creative ways to share the beauty of the Wayne National Forest to others!
Here are some examples of what I have been trying to capture! (These photos were previously taken by me)
Timber Sales Preparation
I was asked to help assist the timber sales on the Wayne. At first, I thought I was just going to learn how to sell a tree. Little did I know, that there is much more to this job than that.
To start off, I was asked to assist on the sales to gain more of a perspective on what the position is. I learned a lot! After learning more, I became more hands-on and have been able to perform tasks, such as:
Timber painting is used to mark trees to help the contractors of the sale identify which trees are ready for sales. We mark the trees stump with a special can of spray paint that will help the Feller (the person who saws down the tree) identify which tree to cut in order to prepare for the timber sale. I personally had a lot of fun with this. Although it was messy, I enjoyed my time doing so. I have been able to learn a lot about the trees shape, size, and species through this.
CSE Plots (Common Stand Exam)
One thing that I find very interesting and extremely beneficial to my career is CSE plotting. The Common Stand Exam helps determine the chose areas (plot) species (in this case trees), its height, diameters, class, and size of plot. Because of this practice with CSE plots, I have been able to better identify my trees and math skills.
NNIS Removal (Non-Native/ Invasive Species)
Although this can be a tough job, it is one of the most important tasks that need to be completed here at the Wayne. With a high increase in non-native/ invasive species in Southern Ohio, it has made it difficult to maintain a healthy environment for other native plants/ trees to grow. To terminate the NNIS, we spray the species with a chemical. Over the span of time, the NNIS dry out and die, giving the native species a higher chance to thrive. This can be a time-consuming task, as there are MANY NNIS in the Forest. But at the end of the day, it is very rewarding to know that you are saving the Forest’s species surrounding you.
Overall, I have learned a lot throughout the span of my internship and I am so excited to see how much I will learn overtime!