Monday, March 1, 2010

Slow Monday

I'm really moving slowly today. I've been at work for over 4 hours, and I can't remember anything I've done. I know I met with my boss (Fawn) already, to go over what she missed last week while out of town for training, and what I've been working on. And I finished a set of Plant Cards - visual aides for use while leading hikes (and a good training tool, if my replacement isn't familiar with the plants he/she will need to know here at Rainier).

I had a good weekend, but I didn't get enough sleep. I think that's it.

I must need coffee. ;)


Ok a couple of hours have passed since I wrote that...

I think I'm also feeling a bit overwhelmed. I just received a thank-you email from one of our park staff, thanking me for helping them last week while they were using one of the classrooms in our building. (I helped them set up all of their computers and made sure the network ports were working our building... a typical task for me. I sometimes feel like the local tech nerd, but still happy to help.)

Anyway, after the note, her email signature section contained this phrase:

Preservation and Enjoyment -- A Mountain of a Job

I think I'm going to notate that as Universal Truth #215.

One of our on-going projects here at the Education Center is a revamping of our whole operation. How we operate, logistics, program offerings, outreach opportunties on our part, website contents, etc. etc. etc. Anything that you can think of, basically like reviewing and updating our business model and products (to steal terms from the corporate world), is on-going these days since our former boss left. There were a lot of messes to clean up in her wake, but overall, I believe this program is better off now than it was before.

Nearly every day, Fawn or I come up with something that we (read: "the Education Center") should have been doing for the past 10 years or so. These involve:
  • training materials for new staff
  • process for teachers reserving dates/locations for their field trips
  • the types of programs we offer for field trips
  • processes for park staff to use our building/materials (second priority to classes visiting us)
  • outreach to local schools (many of which were hurt by said former boss)
  • materials for use in classrooms - bringing Rainier TO school children instead of the other way around
  • website resources (which we get requests for, but are somewhat unable to provide at this time)
  • materials to be used by rangers with students on hikes or inside Ed center (on days of bad weather)

I have 4-5 on-going projects at the present time, related to those things listed above. And every day, I come up with a few more things that would be useful/helpful. As I mentioned earlier today, I finished a set of plant ID cards to be used in the field. One of my next *small* tasks will be to put together the type of PDF/handout that we can email to teachers/students who request information for school projects. We will still send out the standard park brochures to students who send us regular paper requests (snail mail!) but for those that email, we'd like to have a set of links ready to go. I'm going to cheat and model ours after Yosemite's Cheat Sheet. In the near future, I will start putting together a training manual for those that come after me - something I wish I'd had when I came here (but, of course, the boss at the time didn't provide any training herself, so my fellow interps trained me as best they could - thanks Julia!!!).

Back to the phrase above.... It is a mountain of a job. Besides preservation and enjoyment, add to the list "education". Because that's what we focus on here in my office.

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