By: Kristina Beckham
My name is Kristina Beckham (insert arrow to the sorority posing girl all the way to the right). Over the next nine months feel free to accompany me on my journey working with the National Park Service and Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa. During this adventure I will tell you about what has been happening in my own life and what we have been doing in parks each month. As well as incorporate one National Park that we have worked with and their centennial information (sorry if it ends up being past its date, I see the fault in that now, oh well). But, before I go into all of that, let’s talk about that sorority girl accompanied by four boys and one other girl. From left to right we have Hayley, Caleb, Joel, Aaron, and Gabe. And yes, I may completely look like the odd man out in my crew, but I can hold my own against these guys. These five bring a very unique aspect to this crew. But, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade any of these knuckle heads for the world. I’ll get carried away talking about them another day though.
Over the past two months, since we have been working, we have already helped four national parks, completed over 71 hours of prescribed burns, and have cut down at least 100 trees (give or take, math isn’t my strong suit anymore. tehe). My crew is interesting in the sense that we work for Conservation Corps, yet we’re mainly contracted out by the National Park Service as their exotic plant management team-- so we’re based out of Wilson’s Creek in Springfield, Missouri. Specifically, at our “home base” we have helped plot bladderpod (Physaria filiformis) and will do more GPS things this week. Unfortunately, the last two months we have mainly been helping out at two of the other closer national parks in Arkansas (which you get to find out about over the next two months) preventing us from really working around Wilson’s Creek a lot. But, Wilson’s Creek’s main centennial celebration is the weekend of August 25-28 which we hope to be around for. If you ever find yourself this way, they have many other free celebratory events throughout the year. For a complete listing of what is going on at Wilson’s Creek feel free to follow the link below: https://www.nps.gov/wicr/planyourvisit/calendar.htm?keyword=&date_start=04%2F06%2F2016&date_end=12%2F15%2F2016#
Also since it is the centennial year for the national park service they have specific days with free entry days into the National Parks. The link below will show you the exact dates: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm
Until next time don’t forget to look up, down, and around (and wear your proper PPE),