So, yes, here it is, the halfway mark through my 20-week internship here at the Olmsted Center and The Boston Harbor Islands. I am quite certain that ten weeks has never passed so fast before in my life. I could spend a very long time recapping everything I’ve learned, and been able to applied here, but the list would be much too long for a blog!
It was great spending this past week with Shanasia, Sasha and Kristi, I am so amazed at how the four of us have come together and brought a wide range of ideas, perspectives and talents to the table! I wish them each the best this upcoming school year–I know we will all keep in touch!
Another portion of last week was spent preparing materials for our Teach-Back to members of the Olmsted Center. Being able to hear my team-mates presentations really showed just how much we had learned from each other and the work we did together, such as the agricultural management guidelines for MAVA, as well as our own individual projects. It was great to see how we had each evolved in our understanding of cultural landscapes.
An interesting piece of last week came during my portion of the teach-back, when I was asked the question (and I paraphrase), of what my opinions were on a strategy for interpretation and management of the vast layers of historic, cultural, and ecological stories that are held on each island. More specifically,”what Island tells what?”. I thought a lot about my answer to this as we set sail with Marc, Margie and Russ on Friday to the Outer Islands of BOHA.
I thought about my answer, as it is a tough one to really commit to. Each of the 34 islands/peninsulas has its own individual story to show, and each has varying degrees of visual remnants of its story. The ability to uncover, discover and tell each is an overwhelming and pricey park management task.
So, what is my answer? Well, I do believe that several key themes must be taken advantage of, and certain islands which carry these themes heavily, be managed more intensely, but I also like to think “big picture”. The Islands are a large piece of the history of Boston and Massachusetts (and even the country!) as a whole and it has been interesting to hear that many “mainlanders” know very little of the islands themselves (even one bus driver I spoke with knew nothing about them!!). So, I think some logic behind my answer would definitely incorporate a way that the Harbor Islands can connect themselves to the mainland (not physically, but via interpretation or history sharing). They are a large piece of a beautiful and historic mainland park system, and have the potential to just extend that Emerald Necklace out into the ocean!
I think, as my internship continues, I hope to investigate ways to better answer this question, and perhaps find a technique to be able to visualize just how it might work in terms of cultural landscape management within partnership models of park ownership! (I may have just found a second thesis project…!)
Thank you for reading, stay tuned over the next 10 weeks!