As my first week at the Olmsted Center is coming to an end, I have come to realize the intricate dynamics that revolve around the National Park Service. During our orientation week, I had the opportunity to meet all the other interns who are working in the Boston area, most of whom are working at the Olmsted Center with me but others who are working in Lowell, MA, as well as at Boston Harbor.

Boott Cotton Mill, Lowell, MA

We had the opportunity to both network with other interns but more importantly meet several employees of the National Park Service including the Regional Director of the Northeast Region! Throughout the orientation week we had several formal and informal team building exercises that helped us become closer. Also, we had the opportunity to explore Boston and its surroundings, and got to see a lot of the historic parts of Boston. We went to Charleston Navy Yard in Charleston, MA, and were able to go onto the USS Constitution, an old ship docked at the harbor. Also, we went to the top of Bunker Hill, which although it tired us out was an amazing view of the Boston skyline!

Orientation week provided the opportunity to view several historic sites in the Boston area. We visited the Boott Cotton Mill in Lowell, MA, a functioning historic mill that is still operating to this day. But I would say the highlight of my week was being able to visit George’s Island in the Boston Harbor, and having the opportunity to ride a ferry for the first time! I had never been on a boat before, and got an amazing view of Boston.

George’s Island, Boston Harbor, MA

On George’s Island we were able to learn of the significance of the region and why it is so important to the history of Boston. I also got a chance to see where Shutter Island was filmed, which was awesome!

I think this week helped orient me on what makes Boston so significant. To know the historical value of the area helps me understand the significant meanings it has and the cultural importance it has to the people who live there and the people who visit. This week reminded me why we have to preserve our historic sites, and familiarized me with the intricacy of the National Park Service and how it functions, the bureaucratic set-up and hierarchy of what is involved with making things happen in the agency. I’m looking forward to next week, when we will be visiting Acadia National Park, and I am extremely excited to see the natural setting of Massachusetts!

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