Jane Larrabee

Janet Cheung

Jennifer Tran

Nkemdilim Okoli

Nelissa Timothee

Image of 2019 PLACE Fellows

National Parks of Boston

3.9.19 - by Nelissa Timothee

On the trip, we met different people who work in the National Parks of Boston. And learn a lot about the meaning of National Park of Boston and the importance of it. What I enjoyed the most were the stories because they gave you an idea of the reality of the job and how to get there. We met Joshua a ranger for National Park of Boston and he talked about his journey to this job and how it wasn’t straight forward, and how you can combine the things you love to do in your job. We met Celena the director of the program. She talked about the value of National Parks of Boston and its mission is to preserve historical parks, animals, and our landscape for the future generations. We talked about how they preserve those resources. Also, we had Mr. Bob Irish come in to talk about his work. He is law enforcement for National Parks of Boston. He talked about how different a job as a Law Enforcement Park Ranger is and how he protects the parks. I was surprised to learn that there are different types of rangers and they work with Law Enforcement to secure the lands, animals, and parks. We visited Museum Services to learn more about what they do. Their job is to preserve artifacts by keeping them at a constant temperature. We saw how they clean and organize things they find in the site and how they manage to preserve them by putting them at a constant temperature. It was interesting to see how the things I am learning in my biology class relate to how they take care of the artifacts and how they try to find out the story behind things they find. It is very interesting. Lastly, we took a tour of the Black Heritage Trail led by Ranger Shawn. We learned a lot about the history behind the houses, street, and status. He taught us about some important people who make a difference here in the world, who lived here in Boston. I really liked this tour because I believe if you want to move forward, you have to know your history. To sum up, I had a really great time because I really like environmental biology. So, I had the chance to listen to something I am really passionate about and to obtain better knowledge about the environment from an expert.

Cape Cod Wildlife Center and the UMASS Boston Field Station on Nantucket

3.23.19 - 3.24.19 by Jennifer Tran

On March 23rd to the 24th, we started our trip to Cape Cod. Our first stop was the Cape Wildlife Center where we spoke to Zak about all of the things that are done at this center. We learned about how the center takes in any sick or orphaned animals. They treat them and then when they are healed, release them back into the wild. It was interesting to learn about Zak’s view on how the center goes about their duties in 3 categories: 1. animal care, 2. research and policy changes, and 3. land trust to protect wildlife. Through visiting the center, I grew a deeper appreciation for the animals around us especially squirrels. I enjoyed that we were able to learn and see these animals on a different level. Normally, we don’t realize that these animals actually have an important ecological role. Later, we spoke to Zak and his coworkers on advice on how to proceed into college. A piece of advice I heard was that it was okay to be broad in choosing majors and always do what something I am passionate about. This idea definitely stuck with me. It makes me realize that not everything needs to be planned out but I should at least follow my passion. After the center, we took a ferry to Nantucket. In Nantucket, we stayed at the UMASS Boston Nantucket Field Station, we spent most of our time enjoying the nature around us. We watched the sunset and that night we saw the stars, it was one of the most beautiful nights I have ever seen. We also spent time appreciating the space we were in and spent time with each other. The next day, we watched the sunrise and we had breakfast together. That afternoon we spoke to a scientist that lived on the station and a trustee. We learned about how the station operates and about the opportunities that are offered in college that would allow us to come back to the station. I liked learning about the amount of ways that station could be used for and how broad it was. Where we stayed was so beautiful, it was very interesting that one place could be used for education, research, and even art. Staying at the Field Station was nothing like anything I have ever done before, the idea of the way it operated was very responsible and appreciative. It taught me to always appreciate and take care of all spaces I am in in the future.

Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site

4.13.19 by Janet Cheung

On our trip to the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, we spoke to different experts who worked at the site. We discussed the history of Olmsted and his significance up until present day. Frederick Law Olmsted was the first landscape architect. He created the career and field which previously was similarly referred to as landscape gardener. Olmsted created the field of landscape architecture with two main ideas; purpose and intentionality. He wanted parks to be designed with purpose. Some of his works include Central Park of New York which was created in 1857 and the Emerald Necklace of Boston. Olmsted was able to pursue this career with the assistance of his financially stable father. His father funded most of his passions which is why Olmsted was able to look into landscape architecture. Olmsted had much experience as a farmer, writer, sailor, and store worker. Using these skills, Olmsted successfully designed Central Park and many others.

I enjoyed learning about the impact that Olmsted had on history. It was very interesting to see the ties between his work and US history. Through this opportunity, I was able to gain experience and skills in the field of landscape architecture. I will be able to use this in the future when considering career choices. Afterward, we took a tour of Olmsted’s property and the yard that he designed. We then did an arts and crafts project where we recreated parts of the yard with different textured paper. We tried to keep Olmsted’s emphasis of intentionality in mind as we created our nature scenes. After lunch, we did a hands on landscape architecture project. We were put into groups and assigned clients to create a park for. Using our clients’ guidelines, we formed a park using trees, public works, and roads to their liking. In the end, we put together our different parks and created one cohesive park. We discussed the benefits of different parks tailored to communities. Communities benefit from parks because they have something to unite behind and enjoy together. In a park, everyone is entering equally with similar goals in mind. Parks create opportunities for people to come together. Through this opportunity at Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, we were able to gain experience and knowledge about both Frederick Law Olmsted himself and the field of landscape architecture as a whole.

Office Day

4.20.19 - by Nkemdilim Okoli

On April 20th, due to weather we were not able to go to Boston Harbor Island National and State Park, so we went to the NPS office on State Street. There we did an interview workshop where we worked on our interviewing skills, and talked about the things that people can expect when going into interviews, and how to be prepared. We went over things like talking about our strengths and weaknesses in a way that made it sound like we would still be good candidates for the job. We also went over good interview behavior, and all the small, little things that interviewers are looking for. Doing this really helped us get a sense of what interviews will be like in the future and how to get ready for them. After that we had a resume workshop. Copies of our resumes were passed out randomly, and each person reviewed and marked up another person’s resume. After that we shared what was good, and what could have been improved. Next we worked on using action words and our experiences in the Fellowship thus far to come up with sentences that can go in our resumes when adding the PLACE Fellowship to them. Next we had a speaker named Andrew talk to us about what he does with Natural Resources. We talked about urban ecology which was very interesting, and will probably be a very pressing issue a little further into the future. We also talked about sustainable development and learned what it meant, especially to urban areas. After that we were given time to finish adding the PLACE Fellowship to our resumes, and then we planned our trip to Acadia National Park. I enjoyed learning about sustainable development and urban ecology as these are things that are very important to think about, especially in today’s society. There are so many terrible things that we have done to this planet, and it is now really important to think of ways to save our environment, especially in busy cities. We learned about what to plant in cities, where to plant it, and how it will be beneficial for the earth. For example, by doing things like this we could save fish from nitrogen runoff (from excess fertilizer) into bodies of water. I will definitely be using interviewing skills later on in my career. Along with resumes, those two things consist of many employers’ first impressions of you, meaning that it is really important to have good experience in interviewing and resume writing to be able to get a job. Those are skills that I found, and can apply in future careers.

Acadia National Park

5.3.19 - 5.5.19 - by Jane Larrabee

On the first day we met at the Marine Barracks and got new PLACE water bottles and purple sweatshirts. Once everyone arrived we packed the car and Sophia drove us to Acadia. It was a long 5 hour drive, but we had lots of food and drinks to get us through it. Most of us slept in the car, but when we woke up we could tell we were in Maine because of the beautiful scenery and deer we saw along the way. Later that night we arrived at the lodge, on Schoodic Peninsula, where we stayed for the night.

The next morning we made bagels with cream cheese and hot chocolate for breakfast. After a nice night of sleep and a nutritious breakfast we packed and got ready to go to our first destination. We visited Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park. Although we weren’t able to see it, we learned about the buildup of pressure that made the waves to shoot up, called a geyser, and created a thunder sound, hence the name Thunder Hole. Watching the waves roll into the rocks, feeling the cool breeze blow through our hair, and soaking up the warm sun as we sat on the boulders was not only mesmerizing but also very relaxing to be surrounded by the beauty of nature. Next, we biked on the Gorham Mountain Trail. The five of us fellows were not prepared for the strenuous experience of biking up multiple steep hills, which we did slowly and with lots of difficulty. However the best part was going down hills and just gliding as we were surrounded by trees and mountains. When we were not going up or down hills on our bikes we could sometimes hear the sounds of woodpeckers along with other birds chirping off in the deep forests. We took many breaks including our lunch break by a road with a perfect open view of the mountains. There we ate our sandwiches and clementines, before more strenuous biking. Once we got to the top of the mountain trail we were able to look down and see the water and the Egg Rock lighthouse. After a long, tiring, and fun day of biking we went to our campsite where Cathy and Amelia taught us how to build a tent and start a fire. Kristina made us hot dogs and burgers for dinner and everyone made s’mores for dessert. We gazed at the stars while Cathy told us about the mythological and astrological stories behind them, such as the story of Calisto and the big dipper. After we were stuffed with s’mores we bundled up in our tents and slept to the sound of crickets.

The next morning we had eggs and bagels for breakfast and prepared our lunches for our hike later. We packed everything up once again and headed out for our last activity in Acadia. It was another beautiful sunny day as we climbed up the hiking trail and learned about the most important things to have on a hiking trip. Our list of things consisted of food, water, flashlights, whistle, knife, raincoat, compass, map, and more. These items are important to have in case of any emergencies, such as getting lost or hurt and not being able to make it back before dark or even the next day. Along the way to the top, we saw many various plant species. That’s when Cathy told us about the app called iNaturalist, which is an online social network and database where you can upload pictures of the plants you find and ask for help from others to identify them or put any input of a certain plant species you may know that someone asked about. You can also take pictures of different parts of a plant and enter it into the database where experts can identify it for you. Once we reached the top we saw an overview of the trees and the water. After our victorious moment of reaching the top and having our small break, we headed back down to the car. Sophia led stretches to prepare for our yet again, 5 hour car ride, back to Boston.

Overall everyone enjoyed the Trip to Acadia, because we got to be amongst the beautiful nature and appreciate the wonderful National Park and what it had to offer. We learned many skills, such as biking, hiking, how to start a fire, how to build a tent, how to cook camp food, and the most important items to have when hiking. As we developed skills, this trip has made us bond and become closer as a group, especially during our adventures of cleaning the dishes, struggling up hills with bikes, 5 hour long car rides, and filming our capstones for future fellows. It was definitely a fun, eventful, social, and educational experience that I wish could last longer! This fellowship and overnight trip has taught us many things and has left a big impact on our interests in career paths, as well as giving us an enjoyable and memorable experience!