Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bonnie vs CLIDE

Meet Bonnie Ciolino: Museum Curator at Everglades National Park
Meet CLIDE: A Cumbersome, Large Item Damaged Extensively. (aka Map Storage cabinet)
The South Florida Collections Management Center was in a crisis.  Two of their map storage cabinets were malfunctioning and needed to be replaced.  When the new cabinets arrived, how was Bonnie going to replace the existing cabinets that are positioned 5 feet above the ground in tight quarters?  By the way, each cabinet measures 4’ x 4’ x 2’.  The answer, Bonnie needed volunteers.
Last August, 3 volunteers joined forces with Bonnie and the Volunteer Coordinator to remove the old cabinets and install new ones.  Working diligently, they moved storage boxes from atop the old cabinets, installed the tricky handles onto each drawer, and then wheeled the drawer less cabinets into position.  Although it sounds easy, there were complications.
On moving the first cabinet, a wheel broke on the dolly. Next, portions of the cabinets became unfastened and made transportation awkward. Lastly, minor adjustments had to be made in order for the drawers to fit properly.
In the end, two new cabinets were installed and Bonnie’s crisis was over.  Appropriate, safe storage was available to protect and preserve historical maps and other documents as part of Everglades National Park’s legacy. Additionally, the VIPs continued to work, but assembling and installing a credenza in the Interpretation offices.  This, however, was accomplished without any issues.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Alexander the Great

Paul Alexander has been dutifully volunteering for over 6 years. He is reliable, punctual, and never been a minute late for his shift in the Visitor Center.  Volunteering three times a week at four hours each, Paul provides a most valuable resource, his time. His time to interact and engage with visitors, and his time to allow employees to catch up on collateral duties, office work, and prepare for special events.  Paul is a dependable individual and truly helps out the Interpretation Division, not to mention a wealth of knowledge for all his visitor interactions.
Mr. Alexander’s background is what bestselling books are made of.  A veteran of the Vietnam War, Paul returned home and purchased and managed a gas station.  He has also been a Chief Law Enforcement Officer, a commercial deep sea diver, and owned, operated, and guided a fishing lodge in Idaho.  Most recently, he has perhaps contacted a person from every country in the Visitor Center.
As of May, Paul has decided to tackle other pursuits on his bucket list and resigned as a volunteer.  He has volunteered over 3,000 hours, the equivalent to 1.5 full time employees! Paul is a polite, humorous man, and many of us owe our Visitor Center Everglades spiel to his perfected script.  We will miss you.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

BioCorps Interns Capture Lizards, Count Fish and Survey Turtles in the Everglades

Two interns working in Everglades National Park (ENP) this year with support from the South Florida National Parks Trust (SFNPT) have been catching invasive lizards, counting fish and tracking sea turtles. The interns are considered volunteers, and work closely with many scientists in ENP.  The Volunteer Program, and ENP, are thankful for the support of the SFNPT.
Here's a report received May 14 from ENP Ranger Larry Perez about the two interns: "Marcella Cruz and Emma Hanslowe are both recent graduates in herpetology. They have spent the past four months working with the USGS Invasive Species Branch in Everglades National Park on a large-scale interdiction effort against the invasive Argentine tegu. And their contributions have been quite noteworthy: this has been a record season for tegu captures. As of last week 45 had been removed from the area! This week they are transitioning duties and will begin gathering creel (fish) survey data and conducting sea turtle surveys. Their assistance will allow the sea turtle work to proceed seven days a week through the summer. I cannot say enough about the wonderful work these two are doing and the quality of the contributions they're making to important programs in the park!"

Pictured: Marcella Cruz works with Bryan Falk of USGS to take blood samples from a captured Argentine tegu.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

June Artist in Residence, Brenna Dixon

For the month of June, we welcome Brenna Dixon, a Florida native, but currently living and working in Iowa.  Ms. Dixon is a writer and plans to use the residency to finish the collection of short stories -Sawgrass and the Broken Heart - that she drafted while earning her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University.

In her fiction writing, Dixon addresses the ideas of excess, loss, and monstrosity, as well as the nature of invasives in the Floridian environment. “I often look to craft elements of magical realism to tell a compelling story while engaging readers on the subject of Florida’s complex environmental issues,” she explains.

“My stories work to dispel the media-driven caricature of perfection in Florida’s environment and its inhabitants and express them, instead, as full-bodied and inseparable from one another,” says Dixon.  “The degradation, complications, health, and well being of Florida’s peoples and its environment are dependent upon one another.”

The residency will allow Dixon to reacquaint herself with the environment and represent it even more accurately in her work.  She will come home to the sawgrass, swamps, and salt flats that have shaped her writing.

Learn more about Brenna Dixon at