The Morning Report

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park (VA)
Battle Of Cedar Creek Sesquicentennial Commemorated

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek over four days in October. The Shenandoah Valley welcomed thousands of visitors to the park from October 17th to October 20th to commemorate the last major battle in the area associated with the 1864 Valley Campaign.

Partnerships were the key to the success of the weekend events. Behind the scenes, months of planning and contributions from all park partners and local, state, and national agencies lead to a successful commemoration.

As a partnership park, the key partners are the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Belle Grove, Inc., the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation, and the National Park Service. All worked together to plan and execute the event.

“As a relatively new and small park, the special event grew beyond our planned expectations into a remarkable community remembrance,” notes Site Manager Amy Bracewell. “Hundreds of visitors connected to this place through our ranger programs and activities. We are delighted with the outpouring of support and interest by our visitors and community.”

Event highlights included thirty-six ranger programs, walks, and tours, battlefield stations that provided public access to area normally closed, a commemorative ceremony on Saturday evening, living historians interpreting the Belle Grove Plantation, three battle reenactments hosted by the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, the placement of nearly 1,000 luminaries along the main street through Middletown, the dedication of a new Vermont state historical marker and interpretive wayside exhibit, and the re-dedication of the Stephen D. Ramseur monument. The National Park Service real-time programs, which starting at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, received unprecedented turnout for the park.

The park would like to thank the NPS family for their support and resources that made the event a success. Interpretive park rangers were utilized from Richmond NBP and Maggie L. Walker NHS, Gettysburg NMP, Fredricksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, George Washington Birthplace NM and Thomas Stone NHS, and the NPS Civil War 150th Social Media Team. Tents, vehicles, and other supplies were provided by Harpers Ferry NHP, Antietam NB, and Shenandoah NP.

[Submitted by Amy Bracewell,, (540) 868-9176]

Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
DOI Employee Commuter Survey Underway

One of the NPS sustainability goals is to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from employee commuting.  You can help us measure progress towards meeting this goal by participating in a survey on your commuting habits.

All NPS employees (including full-time, permanent, seasonal, term, and part-time employees) will receive a survey email on or about October 20.  The survey will be open until October 31, 2014.

Your responses to this survey will be used to estimate employee commuter emissions, which are part of the NPS annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Sustainability Data Report to the Department of the Interior.  The Department in turn submits a report to the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality.

For the first time this year, NPS will be able to use the results from this survey to estimate employee commuting at individual parks.  If your park is considering becoming a Climate Friendly Park (CFP), the first step is completing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, including a section on employee commuting.  If enough (70%) of your park employees participate in this DOI Employee Commuter survey, the data can provide the necessary information, and parks can ?avoid taking an additional CFP employee commuter survey.   

Your responses are completely confidential, and the survey should take no more than 10 minutes of your time.  For more information, contact  Julie McNamee (, 202-513-7182 or cell 410-507-0022)

[Submitted by Julie McNamee,, 202-513-7182 or cell 410-507-0022]

Fire Island National Seashore (NY)
Coastal Classroom Reaches Next Generation Of Park Stewards

Educators from across the New York metropolitan area participated in Fire Island National Seashore’s October 5th shoreline dynamics educator’s workshop.

The educators, many of whom teach earth science, discovered place-based science and conducted hands-on standards-based activities on Fire Island’s dynamic ocean shore. 

The workshop included an overview of Fire Island’s ever-changing beach features and presented three of the seashore’s newest activities, “Sorting Sand,” “Shape-Shifting Shoreline,” and “The Wind, Waves, and Wide Open Sea.”

Educators tested free equipment available for loan to enhance educational field trips, including sieves to study the composition of the sand, survey equipment to sketch a beach profile, and an anemometer to measure wind speed.  

“I learned what the park has to offer and the background information was really helpful for me in understanding this complex topic,” said a participant of the available lesson plans and materials. “The activities integrate science, technology and math and provide authentic information for students to learn about their local environment.”

Other recent strides in education at Fire Island National Seashore are the culmination of the past two years of working closely with local educators as teacher-ranger-teachers to develop additional inquiry-based lesson plans for students grades K through 12 and to enhance the seashore’s online field trip planning resources.  

Fire Island National Seashore’s activities and lesson plans will be uploaded to the NPS education portal and are listed in a newly developed downloadable Educator’s Resource Guide.

“We are eager for educators and students to pilot these programs and we invite them to use Fire Island as an informal classroom,” said Superintendent Chris Soller. “The seashore offers a wealth of natural and cultural features – rich educational resources and opportunities for real world applications for science and science-based decision making –for the next generation of park stewards to discover.”

[Submitted by Kathy Krause, Chief of Interpretation and Education]

Lassen Volcanic National Park (CA)
Darlene Koontz Retires After 31 Years Of Service

Darlene Koontz, superintendent at Lassen Volcanic National Park, will retire on October 31st with 31 years of service.

“The past 31 years has been the best adventure I could ask for,” she says.  “I have met and had the privilege of working with wonderful and inspirational people throughout my career.  The National Park Service is a special community which I feel lucky to have been a part of for so many years.”  

As superintendent at Lassen Volcanic National Park, Koontz oversaw the preservation and protection of cultural and natural resources, including designated wilderness, 150 miles of backcountry trails including a section of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Nobles Emigrant Trail, eight campgrounds, two visitor centers, 65 housing units, six water treatment systems, and 30 miles of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.

Koontz led efforts in the construction of the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center, rehabilitation of the Lassen Peak Trail, and development of Lassen’s first wilderness and backcountry stewardship plan,  and worked to bring to fruition a permanent place for youth at the park, the Volcano Adventure Camp, which is slated to open in 2016.

During her career, Koontz served around the country in places such as Everglades National Park in south Florida as a backcountry ranger and Cumberland Island National Seashore off the coast of Georgia in interpretation and visitor services. She taught at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for four years in the Behavioral Sciences Division, was a Presidential appointed board trustee for the Valles Caldera National Preserve, and served as an NPS Bevinetto Fellow in Washington, D.C., assigned to the subcommittee on national parks, historic preservation and recreation and the NPS Legislative and Congressional Affairs office, where she was involved in reviewing, analyzing, and drafting bureau legislation.

Koontz, a graduate of the Department of the Interior Senior Executive Service, has been a superintendent for the past 15 years, first at Grant Kohrs Ranch in Montana then Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico and finally closing out her impressive career at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Koontz and her husband Chip Davis, himself a retired NPS employee, are looking forward to the opportunity to continue exploring our country’s special places, sailing in the islands, going on camping trips with their dogs, and enjoying good food and good friends.

If you worked with Darlene during her 31 years of service and have a story, a photo or just want to wish her the best, please send it to Lisa Wilkolak via email or mail no later than October 27th. Lisa can be reached at or Lassen Volcanic National Park, Attn: Lisa Wilkolak, PO Box 100, Mineral, CA 96063.

[Submitted by Lisa Wilkolak]

Saguaro National Park (AZ)
Green Banana Award Brings Out The Green

In an ongoing effort to improve Saguaro National Park's sustainability, the park has undertaken a number of simple initiatives targeted at getting the staff to go green.

One of the staff suggestions that the park has implemented is the "Green Banana" award. Staff throughout ten park buildings compete to reduce energy usage on a quarterly basis. 

The Green Banana award is presented quarterly at all employee meetings and celebrates the staff at the facility with the highest energy percentage savings per quarter over the previous year. 

The Sonoran Desert inventory and monitoring network and multi-agency fire management facility have reduced energy consumption a whopping 52% from last year as a result of both facility modifications and best behavior changes.

The park has reduced its entire energy bill by an average of 26%, allowing the park to reallocate those funds and hire the equivalent of a seasonal employee.

[Submitted by Brad Shattuck, Chief of Facilities Maintenance]

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (DC,MD,WV)
Scouts Improve Outdoor Firearms Range

On Saturday September 27th, sixteen Boy Scouts from Troop 14 of Smithsburg, Maryland, led by Eagle Scout candidate Harrison Brown, completed improvements to the National Park Service’s Four-Locks outdoor shooting range. 

Improvements included removal of overgrowth, installation of a weapons clearing station, construction of four portable barricades for tactical courses of fire, and installation of shelving to the range pavilion.

Brown is the third person in his family to have earned the rank of Eagle Scout, with his older brother Connor completing his project at C&O Canal NHP in August of 2011.

Financial support for this project was provided by the park’s official nonprofit partner, the C&O Canal Trust.

[Submitted by Leigh Zahm, Park Firearms Instructor]


Pacific West Region
GS-0025-14/15 Superintendent

Dates: 10/14/2014 - 10/27/2014

An announcement has been issued for a superintendent for Death Valley National Park.

Please click on the link below to access the job opportunity announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

This announcement closes on October 27th.

[Submitted by Martha Lee,, 415-623-2106]

 More Information...
Park Facility Management Division
GS-1601-15 Facility And Asset Management Officer (Division Chief)

The Park Facility Management Division in the Washington Office has issued an announcement for a division chief.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

It closes on November 17th.
 More Information...
Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL,MS)
GS-1640-11 Supervisory Facility Operations Specialist (Detail)

Gulf Islands National Seashore is seeking qualified candidates for a detail assignment to a position as supervisory facility operations specialist in the park’s Florida District.

This detail opportunity is expected to last up to 120 days (November 2nd to February 28th), but it may be terminated sooner depending on management needs.

Duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Directs and oversees a diverse maintenance work force of 12 employees who provide maintenance, repair, operation, preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of facilities, roads, and equipment.
  • Plans weekly and monthly work schedules and sequences of operations. 
  • Establishes deadlines and priorities. 
  • Selects workers and assigns tasks to be performed. 
  • Reviews work in progress or upon completion. 
  • Investigates work-related problems (e.g. low productivity, etc.) to identify causes; implements those corrective actions. 
  • Maintains production records and reports. 
  • Evaluates maintenance operations for cost effectiveness, conservation of resources, and compliance with established objectives; and makes recommendations for changes or deviations. 
  • Inspects shop area daily for cleanliness, sanitation, and safety conditions; secures shop at the close of business, and ensures all areas are free of fire hazards. 
  • Adheres to occupational safety and health standards. 
  • Resolves informal complaints and grievances through discussions with employees.
  • Certifies accuracy of time and attendance records and approves requests for leave.

In order to apply, applicants should submit the following:

  • Resume
  • Copy of the latest SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action)
  • Copy of most recent Employee Performance Appraisal
  • Letter of approval from their supervisor

All interested candidates should email their information to by October 27th.  Questions regarding the position can be directed to him at 850-934-2610. 

Government housing will be provided and Gulf Islands will cover all travel and per diem, including two trips for holidays. The home park will cover employee base salary.