National Park Service Experience
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
During my undergraduate and graduate years I spent hundreds of hours working underground with the Cave Research Foundation in central Kentucky. This began as work with Dr. Patty Jo Watson and the Salts Cave Archaeological Project but quickly evolved into several years in the mapping and exploration efforts there. I was privileged to be at the ridge in August of 1972 when the connection between Flint Ridge and Mammoth Cave was made, the "golden spike" for the longest cave system in the world. In the spring of 1977 I spent my first season with the National Park Service, guiding groups (sometimes in excess of 200 people) through the corridors of Mammoth Cave.
Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
In 1985, immediately following my years in the petroleum industry, I spent six months at the Marin Headlands in northern California. There I worked with NPS staff, the general public, and geologist Clyde Wahrhaftig in an effort to make the complexities of Franciscan geology understandable to the general public. Clyde, then emeritus at UC/Berkeley, had spent much of his career explaining complex geologic terranes in understandable terms; we were kindred spirits and became fast friends. In addition to conducting a variety of programs during those six months, I was responsible for staff training and the development of interpretive materials for the park. My time at the Marin Headlands, working with an extraordinary group of devoted people, opened my eyes to the potential for developing partnerships between the National Park Service and the geologic community at large.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
I spent the summer of 1985 working at Lehman Caves National Monument in eastern Nevada, just prior to its becoming Great Basin National Park. In the middle of one of the finest landscapes in the Basin and Range, the cave was only one of the fascinating geologic features there that merited interpretation. Hired as the spelunking ranger in charge of wild cave tours, I also developed programs and literature on local and regional geology and conducted groups through the main cave.
Grand Canyon National Park / North Rim, Arizona
For three seasons1986-88I worked as assistant district naturalist for the North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park. Ten miles from the South Rim as the crow flies but four hours away by car, the North Rim is a world unto itself. Reminiscent of a time when national parks in general were less hurried, less frantic places, the North Rim received a caliber of visitor far above the norm. I developed a wide variety of programs there: on the history of geologic exploration at Grand Canyon, the significance of the stratigraphic record at Grand Canyon, and the evolution of the Colorado River and the canyon itself.
Point Reyes National Seashore, California
The winter of 1986-87 was spent working in Bear Valley, along the trace of the San Andreas fault. During that winter season I developed an entire week of activities for local schools and visitors ("Earthquake Week"), on the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In addition to developing slide shows, exhibits, and training for NPS staff, I conducted guided walks along the San Andreas fault, where the offset from the 1906 quake remains clearly visible. Living in the old lighthouse-keepers' apartments at Point Reyes also provided an opportunity to became acquainted with the abundant marine life of the Pacific coast.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
I spent a brief winter season at Petrified Forest National Park in 1987-88. It was my opportunity to become intimately acquainted with the Chinle Group and the Triassic of western North America.
War in the Pacific National Historic Park, Marianas Islands
I spent a three-month detail in 1994 as management assistant at War in the Pacific National Historic Park, mostly at park headquarters on Guam, with occasional forays to NPS sites on Saipan. I was involved primarily in developing interpretive media for the 50th anniversary celebration of the reoccupation of Guam by Allied forces in the summer of 1944. Working in cooperation with several branches of the U.S. military, the government of Guam, local businesses, and NPS staff, I developed a series of programs, exhibits, and events leading up to a week of celebration and memorial in July 1994.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The bulk of my park service career was spent at Grand Canyon National Park, on the South Rim, where I served at writer/editor and interpretive planner from 1989 until 1996. Working closely with staff at Grand Canyon Association, I was instrumental in developing one of the largest free publication programs in the National Park Service, one that retains its viability today. I also managed, in cooperation with the NPS Design Center at Harpers Ferry, the largest wayside exhibit project ever undertaken (at that time) by the National Park Service. At a cost of $1,000,000 over a period of seven years, we wrote, designed, and produced over 200 exhibit panels, many of them devoted to the world-class geologic landscape at Grand Canyon.