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Who’s in those NPS kiosks?

By Katie Collins
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.