Time is flying by. I am really enjoying my time here, and I am definitely gaining better insight on what type of career path I would like to follow within the National Park Service. The management here in the East Bay oversees four parks. Despite the fact that they are very busy running FOUR parks, they are always in great spirits and willing to stop what they are doing to help.

This week I set out on a hike on Mt. Wanda, John Muir’s 200-acre site of greenspace and trails. I was assigned to do a visitor amenities inventory, documenting everything the site offers to visitors. I used a GPS unit to plot the coordinates of interpretive signs, benches, panels, and even vista points. Eventually it would be really great to use this data to create an online interactive Story Map for visitors. I will be going back to Mt. Wanda next week to complete this task, which I am looking forward to because it gets me out of the office and into open space!

This week we also had safety day, which was surprisingly really fun. We gathered at Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, which is the home of America’s only Nobel Prize-winning playwright. I had never been there so it was exciting to explore a new park. It is in a beautiful area surrounded by open space, hills, oaks and cows!

Hope you are all enjoying this opportunity of exploration and connecting with your colleagues in a fruitful way!

Written by Ilianna Padilla
My name is Ilianna Padilla and I am a graduate student at Cal State Long Beach studying Environmental Geography. I love all things wild, being in the outdoors, and traveling. What sparked my interest in nature was reading literature that fed my imagination with beautiful descriptions of wild landscapes that seemed so distant for someone who grew up in a densely urban environment like myself. This is why I want to continue working towards connecting people with the outdoors because I believe that it is crucial to our own well being as well as the health of the natural environment. In the future, I hope to have a career in the National Park Service or run my very own nonprofit organization. This summer I hope to gain a deeper insight on all the great things the National Park Service foes as well as take part in their mission of becoming more relevant to all communities.