I am Hilary Grabowska, a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador for the National Park Service at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Monocacy National Battlefield, C&O Canal National Historical Park and Catoctin Mountain Park.


Before I arrived at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, a group on their Alternative Spring Break helped out by clearing a 100x200ft section of non-native, invasive bamboo. They were a group of ten and it took them a day and a half to clear it. Inevitably, the bamboo grew back and we needed a group of motivated volunteers to help us clear it again. We got exactly what we needed when the senior class from Doane Academy arrived on September 15.

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Photo: Hilary Grabowska

Each year, the higher grades of Doane Academy go on a week-long trip that is appropriate for their age group and what they are learning in school. The senior class has been coming to volunteer at Harpers Ferry for a number of years now and they’ve helped to install wormwood fencing, build trails and install waysides. This time, they helped to re-clear the 100x200ft section of bamboo.

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Photo: Hilary Grabowska

The students were divided up into groups: one large group to cut down the bamboo, one group to clear out the cut bamboo, one group to load the bamboo into trucks and one group to unload the bamboo from the trucks and into a dumpster. The plan was to work through the morning, break for lunch and finish up around 3pm. The group of 35 volunteers was done by 12:30.

We were amazed! These seniors knew their Harpers Ferry history and they were incredibly hard workers. We needed them and they came at the perfect time. We look forward to when the next senior class volunteers at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Doane Academy 16Sept2015 collage

Photo: NPS