A huge part of being a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador is drawing new people in to serve at the National Park where I now work. Yet, it was cool that when I started my position, I heard all about the exceptional volunteers that already work here! I’d like to chronicle some really cool aspects of our volunteer program that were already in place before I arrived!

Here at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, I found that a significant number of our volunteers are involved in what is called historical reenacting. They may take part in an actual reenactment of a battle, demonstrate arts or trades of a historical era, act in scenarios or small skits, or teach about history or artifacts. Below is a picture from the January 2016 commemoration of one of the battles that took place here in Monroe, MI in January 1813, during the War of 1812.


A handful of volunteers also help prep, plant, and harvest our small garden every year. It includes plants that would have been grown here during 1812 and 1813. I was not present when our VIPs planted the garden this past spring, but was able to reap the benefits during harvest. The melons from this garden are AMAZING! (The squirrels like them, too.)


We have a pretty committed group of volunteers who just like to build. Once our Battlefield officially became a National Park in 2009, the old sign became outdated. This past spring, some volunteers actually built and installed a brand new sign for us, and it is professionally done. This really blew me away!


A few weeks ago was Terrarium Day! We have this fantastic family of volunteers who do everything from setting up and tearing down an event, walking in parades, maintaining gardens, and planning programs. A terrarium is a sealed, transparent bottle, jar or globe in which plants are grown, and during the program, they helped children plant their own terrariums with supplies that they furnished. Thanks guys!


Lastly, we have had numerous artists paint pictures for us, and Fran Maedel donated this, and many other, beautiful painting of a historically accurate Wyandot Village. It is entitled “An Unfinished Work” because she passed away before completing it.


A huge shout out to our wonderful friends and volunteers who have paved the way at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park!