Thursday, March 16, 2006

How to volunteer in the parks

Seems I lost the thread of why I started this blog in the first place...Its a resource for folks who are thinking about joining the Volunteers-In-Parks (VIP) program of the US National Park Service.

Its very simple. Locate a national park that suits your interest and go to www.nps.gov. There'll be a drop-down menu of all the parks and each will list who to contact for volunteer opportunities. Please note that NPS is chronically understaffed, so it may take a little while for them to get back to you. please don't interpret this as a lack of interest on their part (like I started to), be patient and follow up with a reminder call. If all parks are anything like Antietiam, they'll be very happy to have you and will find flexible ways to match your interests with their needs. Though keep in mind...it is about the needs of the Park, that's why we do what we do.

My boss at Antietam is always on the lookout for professional development opportunities for her volunteers. On March 4 another Antietam VIP and I were selected to attend an all-day living history workshop at Harpers Ferry. It's a perk!, it's fun!, and...you can claim your mileage!

Questions:
- Do paid staff have a good working relationship with volunteers?
Oh yes, a very good relationship. They're very happy to have your help.
- Do you get to wear a snappy uniform?
Rest assured, ranger wannabees, there's plenty of official USNPS volunteer hats, shirts, jackets, and patches for everyone -
also VERY cool NPS name tags. Your insignia will be distinctly different from the rangers' to avoid any confusion among
visitors
- Will I increase my chances of being eaten by bears?
I'm with Steven Colbert on this one...


Soon, I'll be posting phots of Antietam, the C&O Canal and other NPS treasures in this region.

Best wishes!

Mannie

1 comment:

steelboy28 said...

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