The past four months at Fort Vancouver have certainly been full of excitement! We recently finished our year-end volunteer report and I’m happy to say that our volunteers have selflessly put in a total of over 57,000 hours. I want to give a big THANK YOU to all our volunteers for all their work – they really do make this place so special.
Since I started my position in June, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of such events as the Bioblitz, 4th of July, Campfires and Candlelight, Summer’s End Promenade, the Old Apple Tree Festival, and Lantern Tours. I have also been able to conduct outreach, tabling at many different local farmers markets in the Portland-Vancouver Metro area, as well as a trash cleanup of our waterfront. Another great opportunity I had was with the Northwest Youth Corps. For several weeks, we had a group of determined teenagers help with various projects including the harvesting of our apple orchard, the installation of over 1,000 feet of wooden fence-line, and the construction of a compost bin for our historic garden.
Getting back to the outreach, I have been able to show visitors what our Fort is about (and that we are their closest national park!). I designed a special booth which showcases our Historic Garden – highlighting the historic produce we grow and the volunteer opportunities therein. I’m always humbled at the many fantastic conversations I have with visitors about the fur trade, National Park Service, Pacific Northwest, and conservation related matters.
Oh yeah, let me talk a little bit more about that trash cleanup on our waterfront. I partnered with SOLVE, a non-profit organization dedicated to the environmental health of Oregon lands and watersheds, to put the first event together. We hosted the trash cleanup of our waterfront, removing over 1600 pounds of garbage, had media coverage by local news agencies, and we even had the Vancouver Police help us in the initial sweep. In fact, this November 19th, we will be hosting another event with SOLVE – an invasive species removal of our waterfront – so stay tuned for that!
Finally, myself and one of our longtime volunteers, Mark Dodd, have been working on a “Find Your Park” video. Mark did a fantastic job with the shooting and editing, and I even had the chance to watch him work through the post-process a little. And of course I have to mention Eileen Trestain, our lead costume shop volunteer. She helped me get fitted for all of the different outfits that I wore in the video. You’ll find the video below, so sit back, relax, and enjoy my acting! I hope you like my video, and find your park!