Wednesday, August 5, 2009

DI-1s and In Service Visits

The last few days have been spent preparing for our teacher in-service presentations. Lauren and I spent a bit of time earlier this summer calling, faxing, and then visiting School Superintendents so that we could come share our information about education programs at the parks with the teachers. To prepare for that, we spent a lot of time polishing what we had worked on all summer. This included information sheets on the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program at Chickasaw, advertising for a Teacher Advisory Board, a listing of all ed program offerings, and how to find Chickasaw NRA ed info online. And thanks to Eric yesterday we got these items up on the park's website as well!

I have also been learning about government spending and DI-1s. I'm not sure what the DI-1 stands for but it's the way to purchase things...which is a pretty long process. It was our goal to write out the DI-1s and then when they had worked their way up the chain, things are ordered and voila! Goodies arrive! This is an incredibly simplified version of the process. But this week Lauren and I have done a lot of DI-1 writing and investigation for education kits for the lesson plans that have been developed. It's really interesting to see and learn about this behind-the-scenes action.

Well, as you can imagine....a lot of work also yields some fun times.

Yesterday morning Eric went outside to put the flag up just before opening and he came back and got me, telling me to bring my camera. Just outside the front door, were great sets of probably raccoon tracks. It appears that the little guy, in an attempt to get to the trash under the cigarette extinguisher area jumped in the dust, scattering it on the floor. When he jumped off of the container later, he left not only his footprints, but also his tail imprint (we think)--see the picture up below.

Later that afternoon we caught Dakota having a moment with our foxy friend (we have a variety of skins in our office).

And then Lauren modeled our new safety bandannas for us---hot off the runway.

This morning was show time! Our first stop was our local school district: Sulphur. Mr. Tony Duck set us up with a table in the hallway so that we could greet teachers as they entered the cafeteria for their meeting. We had all of our flyers ready--neatly displayed on the buffalo.
We seemed to reach a lot of the teachers. Special thanks to Mrs. Krug, the wife of one of our Law Enforcement rangers, who helped us meet some of the teachers. Our fingers are crossed that we will hear from them this school year!

After almost three hours at Sulphur, we drove down the road to Davis and set up in their cafeteria. We had a table where teachers could stop by and pick up information. The goings were a little slow at first--my hypothesis is that they were hungry and beelined for the free pizza. But as the lunch hour went on we had more and more people. I believe some solid contacts were made. It was definitely fun to meet the local teachers and to tell them about the park.

I'm now sitting here, listening to the pounding rain and booming thunder. We have severe thunderstorm warnings in effect. This storm seemed to come out of nowhere. Lauren and I went to headquarters and came out 20 minutes later to a sky that looked like this:

Ominous but beautiful. Hopefully it broke some of the 115 degree (with the heat index) temperatures.
It's been a fantastic week so far!