With a calming ocean breeze, glass window stained blue skies and screeching of seagulls was how I was greeted by nature when I reached the shore of Cape Cod. I had never even heard of the Cape before this trip so it was great to add another destination to my traveling map.
This was a joint organization trip with interns from Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, Gateway National Recreation Area, Minute Man National Historical Park, and many more. We had a whole week planned out for us with site seeing, hikes, cultural landscape work and talking higher ups in the National Park Services. Although I was greeted with what felt like vacation weather, it was time to get down to business. Our groups first stop was to visit the modern homes of Cape Cod that were under the Cape Cod Modern House Trust . The houses were absolutely beautiful and something that I had never seen before. It was amazing how many similarities there were between the men who built these homes; whether it was how they built their homes, the style or their occupation at the time.
Only a few hours into being at the Cape I noticed something completely terrifying to me: There were insects EVERYWHERE! I am a pretty calm girl but when it comes to bugs I turn into a mad woman and lose it. At the end of our last modern house tour, we discussed their importance with Mr. Peter McMahon and also introduced ourselves. While talking I noticed everyone had at least 2-3 gypsy moth caterpillars just chilling on their bodies. I happened to look down at myself and their were two right on my shoes, on the outside I’m remaining as calm as ever but on the inside I’m going bonkers! I quickly, shook my legs to get them off only one flew off but another still remained. I made the executive decision to just stomp on my foot (that’s where it was), because who wants a little furry creepy crawler just lounging on your shoe. My co-workers began to notice that I wasn’t too fond of bugs and pretty much let me know that I better get acquainted with these critters now because I’d be dealing with them the whole trip. Oh boy.
The next day we visited some more modern homes that were in not so good shape, which baffled me because these were homes that the National Park Service wanted to acquire yet they were in such terrible condition. One home that struck me was the Kuhn house, It upset me because Mr. Burke spoke so highly of the home in its hey day when the Park Service acquired but it looked awful.
I voiced my concern to Mr. Bill Burke and he explained how it was hard to keep up with a home when no one is living in it and there are no available funds to keep it together. That just made me wonder even more, why acquire a property without considering those probable situations. I knew it was a concern I had to raise to park management when we would meet with them towards our last night.
Later we all went to the Baker Biddle property and did some mapping, narrative notes and matched old photographs with new conditions.
After a long day of hard work, we had a beach bonfire and made S’mores which was great because I only ever made mine over the stove. It was a great way to end a of day of hard work and learning experiences. By the next day I had gotten into the swing of things like measuring, bugs being on and flicking bugs off other people. We went to the Pamet Cranberry bog and it was a beautiful site for a place that hadn’t been touched in years. Just as before, we were broken up into teams and did some more condition mapping and narrative notes I was a lot better at it this time and even felt confident enough to pick up the roller and track the distance of the groups hike.
I was amazed that I was doing something like this because back home I would never. It’d be considered blasphemy to my mother! But I did it and I’m glad I did because once we hit the top there was a beautiful breeze and an even better view. We were looking over another part of Cape Cod’s beaches and many other elaborate homes.
Our second to last day was most exciting to me because we got to speak with park managers and asking them any mind boggling questions. We did not get to go through everyone’s questions because we had limited time but there are still a lot of questions I had that were not related to the Cape. Like, what is the National Park Service doing to attract more workers of color? Are they looking into acquiring more diverse historic monuments? If they need more help with research, preserving landmarks, providing education; are they actively reaching out to schools (high schools or universities) all over the nation to see what can come from it? I do plan on finding the answers and solutions to these questions/issues by the end of my internship and hopefully have something to bring back.
On the last day we took our final walk/hike through Fort Hill, which I discovered was my type of nature. It had flat terrain, many trees and water around and it seemed to be gypsy moth free; heaven.
Shortly after our hike we headed home and the ride back was bittersweet. I was happy to have experienced a different environment and detach from my phone for a while. It felt amazing learning so much more about the company I’m interning for and the extra mile they go to produce great work, in all it made me want to become better at what I do and excel even higher in the internship and life.
‘Til next time!