The long awaited new level walker report forms have been completed! Work on them seemed to progress at a turtle’s pace, but they were finally sent to all active and authorized level walkers in early July. Initial feedback from level walkers who have used them has been positive.
The forms were sent in MS Word format, unless I knew the level walker had a preferred alternate format. They are also available in Apple Pages or as an Adobe Acrobat form. Please contact me if you haven’t received your new form or if you want an alternate format.
As always – thanks for all you do for the C&O Canal NHP!
The following announcement is from the NPS. The July VIP Speaker Series will be hosted by the NPS on Friday, July 29, 2022 at 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM.
This summer the park is hosting an international volunteer from Chile. For our July VIP Speaker Series, Josefina will be talking about her experience volunteering at Great Falls and about the national parks in Chile.
Josefina will be showing a slideshow with beautiful photos of Chile, so please join via Teams if you can. There is a phone call-in option for those who are not able to join via computer.
If you are an active level walker you have probably received an email from me recently that updated your volunteer status. Most of you responded promptly and completely – thank you for that! As I noted in the email, I will get back to you when any follow-up activity is required. Please be patient; I have over 100 people to contact.
Also – the NPS has updated the link information for the VIP Speaker Series event on April 28. Please use the following information instead of the information I sent on April 13.
I am receiving numerous spring level walker reports from all parts of the canal. Thanks for your support!
NPS Message: For April in our VIP Speaker Series, Join Cathy Ball for a presentation about her most recent research and discoveries at the Abner Cloud House!
The presentation will take place Thursday, April 28th @12 PM on Microsoft Teams. There is also a phone call in option for those unable to join via Teams.
Two announcements from the National Park Service follow. If you are interested, the meetings are hosted on Microsoft Teams. The links are provided below. Note – I will not be able to assist you if you have a problem with Microsoft Teams.
I will be contacting all Level Walkers individually over the next few weeks regarding some administrative matters. Please be patient, as there are numerous volunteers to contact and processing emails takes a bit of time.
Quarterly Volunteer Call: Thursday, January 20, 2022 from 1:00 – 2:15 PM. In 2022, we will be holding quarterly all-volunteer calls to provide you with information and updates about the park. The meetings will be recorded and shared with you afterwards so that if you cannot make the scheduled time, you will still be able to get the info. Our 1st quarterly call is scheduled for Thursday, January 20 from 1-2:15pm and will be held on Microsoft Teams. There is a phone call-in option if you cannot join via computer, however, please note that there will be a slideshow presentation so we encourage you to join via Teams if possible. During the January 20 call, park engineer Joe Reed will be presenting on some of the major projects currently taking place or scheduled in the park. Christiana Hanson will also provide updates from the Division of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers. Please try to get into the meeting 5-10 minutes early to allow for any troubleshooting or issues. If you are not familiar with Teams, here are some instructions – You do not need to install Microsoft Teams or have an application to access the virtual meeting. Just before the Teams call on January 20, Join on your computer or mobile app by clicking – Click here to join the meeting Or call in (audio only)202-640-1187 Phone Conference ID: 320 503 473#
VIP Speaker Series: Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM. Announcing the 2022 VIP Speaker Series! Join us on January 27th for the first of several presentations that will take place throughout the year. Log on to learn about fascinating topics such as special programs within the National Park Service, Lyme Disease awareness, C&O Canal historical research and more! These sessions will be recorded and available to watch later if you are unable to make it. Stay tuned for information on future presentations.
Preview for VIP Speaker Series #1:
Interested in International Relations and the NPS? Join Becky McCarty to learn about the Office of International Affairs program as she highlights the International Volunteer In Parks program and some of the NPS “sister parks” in Ireland, South Africa and around the world!
The NPS has issued the following advisory for volunteers.
Dear Volunteers, With the wintry weather forecast, the volunteer program is suspended on Sunday, January 16 and Monday, January 17. The park will be open to the public, but volunteers are not authorized to work in the park. This is to ensure your safety during the inclement weather event. All staff in the division of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers will be teleworking and only emergency staff will be onsite. If you choose to visit the park on Sunday and Monday, you must do so as a private citizen. For updates on any park closures please check the park website or the park Facebook page.
Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event – The NPS sent the following update on the volunteer appreciation event: Dear Volunteers, We have set the date for our Virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event for Thursday, October 21 from 5-7pm. Please RSVP for the event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can add your name to the guest list and send you the Zoom link. Even if you previously RSVP’d for the picnic that was cancelled, please email us a new RSVP for the virtual event. For planning purposes, please RSVP by October 1. We will also be sending you details on where to pick up your appreciation items and goodie bag prior to October 21. If you have any questions, please reach out to your volunteer program coordinator. Thanks, and we hope to “see” you on October 21. – Emily Durán Hewitt
Level Walker Volunteer Hours – The end of Fiscal Year 2021 is September 30 and is rapidly approaching. I have to submit all FY21 volunteer hours for the Level Walker team to the NPS. I intend to send my report on Sunday, October 3rd. If you have any reports up to and including September 30th, please at get the hours to me by the end of the day on Saturday, October 2nd. You don’t need to do your full report if you need more time, just let me know what your hours were.
The NPS advises that at the present time volunteer activities are still suspended. Please note the following emergency guidance.
Message from Safety Officer:
As you know, the watershed for the Potomac River received a lot of rain yesterday and the Potomac River is rapidly rising. We expect minor flooding in many sections of the park.
Please do not let the sunshine and mild conditions today reduce your situational awareness. There are many hazards out there.
Many trees are damaged and the ground is soaked. As a result, some trees may fail suddenly and without warning and many trees may fall over due to root ball heave.
One of the biggest dangers today will be the rapid river rise. The Potomac River at Paw Paw rose 16 feet in less than 12 hours!!! As you know, many sections of the towpath will flood on the upstream and downstream portions and it is very easy to become stranded due to rapidly rising waters. The river is near crest level at Paw Paw and is expected to crest at Little Falls on Friday around 6 PM.
The Chief Ranger of the C&O Canal NHP has directed that all volunteer operations, including level walking, be temporarily suspended on the park on Wednesday and Thursday, September 1 and 2. Please follow this guidance. I will advise if there are any changes to that status.
The C&O Canal is resuming their annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnics this year after a year off due to COVID 19. These are excellent opportunities to meet park staff and your fellow volunteers. The announcement from the park volunteer manager, Emily Hewitt, follows. Please contact the park per below for more information or to make reservations. Note – there is not a set alignment of which picnic you should go to related to your level location – pick the location and time that is most convenient for you.
We are excited to announce that we will be hosting Volunteer Appreciation Picnics this year! There will be two locations, one for the east district and one for the west district. Please see details below and RSVP. Thank you!
The following request is forwarded on behalf of our VIP chair, Jim Heins. Jim is asking for your help to identify broken tables on your level, or anywhere else on the park. Please help Jim by reporting damaged tables per his request below.
The C&O Canal Association will be refurbishing picnic tables throughout the park. Although there are a number of groups and ways to get them repainted, the Association plans to replace any boards that are rotting, broken or otherwise damaged that make them unserviceable.
We need help in identifying those tables in need of some TLC. To help us, we ask that, if you find any table that appears to fit this need, that you do the following:
1. Take a picture of the area of need up close enough for us to assess the degree of the problem.
2. Step back and take a second picture which would encompass the entire table which might show additional problems.
3. Note whether it is a 6 foot or 8 foot table (most are 6) – we need to know what size boards to use.
4. Accurately describe the location so we can easily find the problem table.
Dear Volunteers, Spring is ahead of us and the park is getting busier. Staff would like to take this opportunity to remind you that, while our volunteer team is very knowledgeable, we do not expect our volunteers to know everything under the sun. If you are volunteering in the park and a visitor asks you a lot of questions you do not have the answer to about a specific topic, please feel free to refer them to either the park’s main phone line (301-739-4200) or to the park information email (email@example.com). If you have questions, please always feel free to reach out to your program supervisor. It is time to submit photos for the 2022 C&O Canal calendar! Photos of all parts of the park, through all four seasons will be included in the calendar. So if you have photos of historic structures, flora/fauna, visitors, volunteers, or just about anything else in the park, please submit them! Once again this year, we ask that you submit your photos via Google Drive firstname.lastname@example.org. To do this, compose an email and hover your mouse over the plus sign next to the attachments, click on the drive icon (resembles recycling logo), upload the photos you would like to share, and send to email@example.com. If you have any issues with this, please feel free to attach photos to a standard email sent to the same email address. Please label your photo files with the location and name of photographer. – For example: BigSlackwater_Jane_Doe. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 7th, 2021. If your photograph is selected, you will be contacted and credited in the calendar. Thanks! Emily Durán Hewitt