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Redwood National Park's (Not So) Bald Hills

Cross-posted all over the place; my apologies to those of you who see this more than once.

Exclusive to park_rangers: my employment situation actually turned out okay in the end. More on that later, but for now, enjoy the following {|:D>

I suggest visiting California in spring; I suggest visiting the redwoods in late spring; and I suggest visiting Redwood National Park's Bald Hills Road right now.

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I began my first week of my third summer season as an interpretive ranger at Redwood National Park on Monday, and we spent Wednesday afternoon training in the field. For updates on vegetation and fire management within the parks, we began our afternoon at Lyons Ranch at the park's southern boundary. Ranchers burned the prairies on the ridgelines above the redwoods to provide more nutritious grazing for their cattle, just as the local tribes have for elk and deer over millenia, and as the park's fire management staff now does within its boundaries. Our main fire guy informed us that two years after such a prescribed burn, the purple lupine often respond with robust blooms; but in over twenty years on the job, he had never seen a bloom quite like this.

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If you can make the trip, visit now and take that extra time to explore Bald Hills Road beyond the redwood forest; you'll get a special treat that we just can't offer any old time!

Losing Hope

I learned on Friday that despite having taken on GS-5 responsibilities at GS-4 pay for two years, I ended up merely "highly qualified" for this summer's seasonal GS-5 position at my own park. "Highly qualified" may sound great on its own, but it proves a cruel euphemism, as about twenty "best qualified" individuals will have to pass on the position before I can get an interview. My experience, half of which I acquired "in-park," and impending degree couldn't make up for the fact that I rated myself honestly on the self-rated part of the application. My boss, nearly as frustrated by this bureacratic hamstringing as me, informed me that inflated self-ratings only come into play in firing people once they've already started work in the position and failed to perform at the levels they claim. If only I'd known before, I'd have told them I had x-ray vision and could walk on water, and I wouldn't have found myself jobless upon graduation - I found out that same night that the agency at which I began my career, after having worked there for over two years, wouldn't interview me, either. I have other applications outstanding, but I hold little hope for them now.

So, I might not get to call myself the Ranting Ranger much longer; and if that comes to pass, I will likely drop my lonely crusade to generate discussion in a community for park rangers and those with dreams of park ranging. I didn't have much energy to keep the community going once I started the last semester of this degree, and now that my experience and education seem to have amounted only to unemployment, I have even less. If anybody cares to take over as maintainer, I'll try to figure out how to make it happen, otherwise I'll leave things as you see them now for the foreseeable future.

I hope to bounce back and avoid ending up a bitter ex-ranger, but for now, good bye.

About Face

In the time since I suggested looking into a new look for the community, the rainy season has hit California's north coast, and my personal desktop and journal have both changed looks (to sunny Table Mountain, South Africa and coffee colors, respectively) in hopes of brightening my often dreary days.

The intervening time and change in weather have also changed my mind about not changing the look of the page, despite its glitchiness; LiveJournal brought out a ton of new looks, so I thought I'd give this one a shot. To my eyes, this layout loses the glitch, makes for easier reading, leaps off the page, hints at our worldwide aspirations and warms my mood.

So, how do you like it?

I apologize for the relative abundance of procedure- and aesthetics-oriented posts and absence of real content in the community thus far. I started the community with free time and energy back in January that I haven't had this month, and in my attempt to avoid making the community my personal soapbox, I seem to have spent too much time asking for involvement and not enough time stimulating it. I'll see what I can do, but I don't have too much pride to beg one final time - make this community your own! Post!

Post-ergeists? II

At least on my home computer, I have a problem with the text in replies disappearing from view (though they return upon refreshing the page); I use a different (boring) layout in my personal LiveJournal, and I don't have this problem there, so I presume the problem lies with a glitchy layout. Has anybody else had similar trouble here? Might something else cause this problem?

If the layout indeed causes problems, we may have to look into changing it {|:P> Please let me know if you feel strongly about keeping it or ditching it, and suggest an alternative in the latter case, bearing in mind that this community exists as a "plus" account - we won't have all the layout options at our disposal. I suppose I could try to design one based on suggestions as well, or somebody with more talent in that regard could move into a maintainer role.

Just reply with any thoughts or insights.

Some opening remarks

My intro.
I'm not  a park ranger.  However, I am a park ranger groupie.  It all began on a trip to Lava Beds in northern California, when I found myself attracted to people who are knowledgeable about nature.  Seriously, you park rangers should see about putting together a calendar, not anything inappropriate, just in your cool uniforms and awesome hats on a trail, with wildlife, and so on.  

I am a park enthusiast.   Once I am finished with my law career, much later in life, I aspire to be a park ranger.   Oh, and I was serious about the hats, I really think they're awesome. 

Running On Empty

As evident in my lack of activity here, illness (my own, my partner's, my infant's) and academia have sufficiently tag-teamed me in recent days to nearly have me tapping out. Additionally, the search for a new job as my student position at Redwood National Park comes to a close - along with the accompanying raising and dashing of hopes - continues to occupy much of my time and energy. I want to do more in here, especially because it beats homework and monotonous job applications (I have a résumé, please just take it), but I find myself with little in the way of energy or ideas.

So, as we begin our second month on a lull, I put it to all of you: what would you like to see from this community? From each other? From your maintainer? More of something? Less of something? Something that hasn't occurred to any of us yet? Anything? Take a walk, or a slog, or a snowshoe, think about it, and come back with your ideas, and let's get February off to a fantastic start.

Welcome, new members and watchers, and welcome back, old-timers!

As I've navigated my way to the journals of our newcomers, both to welcome them and get a feel for what they'd like to see from our community, I've noticed people popping up in different places, and can't quite decipher where the more cryptic LJers call home. I do know that we have North America pretty well covered, having attracted members from coast to coast in the United States and recently welcomed our first (?) Canadian. I got to wondering just how much ground we've covered so far in our quest for a great community.

If you feel comfortable doing so, please consider replying with your location and, if currently employed as a ranger-type, your jobsite. I look forward to your responses. I can't make any promises, but if you have any interest, I'll try to make a nifty map of our scattered locations in my cartography class.

We walking, talking, campfiring rangers sometimes get such a response when we refer to ourselves as "interpreters." Despite three years of French education, I found myself painfully monolingual upon arrival in Paris a few summers back. I speak English - well, I like to think - but can manage only the most basic of situations in French, Spanish or German. But I'd like to do more.

Especially as the job search intensifies, the utility of the polyglot becomes readily apparent in Rangerland. To those among us who have broken free of the monoglot mindset, I ask:

- How useful has it proven in your ranger-ish career?
- Where both you and an interested party share a few common languages, how do you handle the conversation? Do any real "rules of engagement" exist?
- How best can you learn a new language as an adult?

Feel free to ask other questions or raise related issues in your replies!

Formality

I've observed and joined a few communities since starting our community here, and found that most of them have ground rules posted right in their profiles. Nothing I've seen here has spurred me to create any, but with an eye toward growing our community, some preventive maintenance seems prudent.

I'll suggest the following, take any suggestions you may have, and put a complete version up for your approval next Friday, 19 January (of course, we can still haggle after that; I'd just like to have something more up as I try to bring new people into the community):

- keep all posts and replies on the topic of natural resource management careers
- keep posts "PG" and work-safe, or behind an LJ Cut indicating racier or non-work-safe content
- place any images behind an LJ Cut
- place any portion of a post beyond twenty sentences (about five paragraphs) behind an LJ Cut

As always, chime in with any thoughts.