I & E News @ Golden Gate

JUNE 2015

Recent Successes

UN70 at Muir Woods

On May 19, Marcus Combs and Mia Monroe greeted delegates from the United Nations to mark the day, 70 years ago, when delegates walked to Cathedral Grove to start the proceedings to establish the UN (and honor the memory of FDR). The event at Muir Woods was part of the kick off celebration which continues through June in the Bay Area.

Nike Visioning Session

In early May, an interdisciplinary group of staff got together to develop a unified vision for the Nike Missile Site in the Marin Headlands. Staff from cultural resources, business management, interp and education, projects, planning and maintenance discussed how to improve the visitor experience, honor the history and set priorities for the future. Special thanks to Susan Ewing-Haley from Cultural Resources for planning and Marcus Koenen, Lynn Fonfa, Al Blank, Roxi Farewell, Andrew Felton and Lucy Scott for their participation.

International Migratory Bird Day

On May 9, Muir Woods celebrated IMBD. Special thanks to Lou Sian for coordinating the day which included partner led walks and activities and participation by community groups such as Venetia Valley School, Latino Outdoors and Girls Scouts, Additional thanks to MUWO staff, Conservancy Stewardship and Outreach staff for their


Alcatraz in a new Light

If you spend any time on Alcatraz, it will not be long before you dream of what lies beyond the waters edge. Those dreams may include thoughts of freedom, of escaping a horrid past or challenging times. For others those dreams turn to changing a societal wrong and living in a better world. Regardless of what you dream is, art has a way of bringing ideas to life in new ways. There is no doubt that ideas presented through art can change us. It can touch our soul in deep and sometimes surprising ways. It allows us to look at old ideas or preconceived notions in new light and even turn them upside down.

Alcatraz has a long tradition of celebrating art. Over the years, the National Park Service has hosted a variety of exhibits and performances, each one also started as a dream.

To name just a few:
Native American Art (Jose Rivera)

We Are Still Here (SF State)
Table of Voices (Richard Kamler)
Hamlet (Ava Roy/We Players)

California Prison Art (We Players/San Quentin Prison Art Project)
Life After Murder (Nancy Mulane)
Restorative Justice (Jim Breeden)
50 Years Since Alcatraz Closed (Devik Weiner)
Ai Wei Wei @large (Cheryl Haines/ForSite)

Each of these exhibits or performances has touched us in unique ways. To continue the tradition of Art on Alcatraz, two new exhibits will be presented during the summer of 2015: The Sentence Unseen and Prisoners of Age. Many thanks to Marcus Koenen, John Cantwell, Kathryn Daskal and all of the AZ Rangers that have helped make these projects happen over the years.

Welcoming New Staff

We have hit a new record within Interp & Education, hiring 24 new staff members in the last 2 months! With a mix of 6 terms, 16 seasonals and several emergency hires, we filled many vacancies, geared up for the summer, and launching Centennial projects. We of course have a few more vacancies to fill, but on a roll. MANY MANY thanks to Marcus Koenen and MARISOL Gutierrez and Supervisors Kay Wang, Theresa Griggs, Kathryn Daskal, Marcus Combs (MUWO detail), Andrew Felton (during MAHE detail), and Lucy Scott (current MAHE detail), for your extraordinary work recruiting, hiring and onboarding all of our new staff. Additional thanks to everyone else for making them feel welcome, supported and well connected to their sites and fellow staff members. Also want to that Matt Chepin, Seasonal in Presidio for his fine work as his season ends at the end of the month.

Below are a list of staff starting in June/July. As I receive bios, I will send them out.

Alcatraz- Helena Colindres, Kathryn Marcouiller, Stephen Cote,Kat Mcallister

FOMA -Stefanie Taunton(Centennial), Benjamin Austin (Digital App)

Outreach- Desiree Munoz and Courtney Balcer

FOPO - Frank Largaespada, Han Xu

Pres- Denise McEvoy,Sarah Merlau

MAHE- Andrew Duncan,Kit Krupp,

MUWO -Kelsi Ju, Nelson Zuniga, Jasmine Reinhardt


Highlights and Resources

An Interpretive Guide to the NPS Centennial

Here is a link to the new document An Interpretive Guide to the NPS Centennial. This beautifully designed booklet provides practical guidelines for interpreters, educators, and other communicators for commemorating the centennial. It features major interpretive thematic messages to use in interpretive programming. Use this tool to help refine messages, shape thinking about current programs, and guide development of new interpretive programs.

Building Stewardship through Internships Report

The Institute at the Golden Gate recently released the publication, Building Stewardship through Internships. The report pulls out key recommendations to help park staff establish strong, effective internship programs that engage a range of communities and help to build long-term stewardship in our parks. Thanks to Terry Kreidler and Kay Wang for their input and expert contributions.

“Bear Sighting” according to James Osborne

Last Sunday, a visitor at the Presidio reported a small bear, in the woods below Washington and above Arguello. My first thought was that we jokingly call squirrels “minibears”, but the fuzzy photo on her phone showed something bigger. I told her there had been no bears here for over a century, but I would check the area. I walked up a path through the trees to Washington, and back down another social trail, and about 50 yards down I spotted an adult coyote, which was about 10 yds off the path, but got up and walked behind more trees when I stopped to photo it. The path wound down to the Infantry Terrace Quarters/Thomas Avenue, and at that trailhead there was a sawhorse sign that the area was Coyote Habitat, with dens and pups in the area, so I concluded that the visitor had seen a pup. I later left the visitor that message. Jonathan Young, Trust Wildlife Ecologist, confirmed that a breeding pair with at least four pups is in that area. He sent me this picture.

Diversity & Inclusion

On the 112th anniversary of when John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt camped in Yosemite and birthed the national park idea, I had the wonderful opportunity to discuss the future of our national parks and outdoor spaces. 30 inspiring participants including Sangita Chari, who is spearheading the Office of Relevancy, Diversity and Inclusion in WASO, and staff from over a dozen organizations including Forest Service, BLM, CA State Parks, Center for Diversity and the Environment, Sierra Club, Latino Outdoors, NPCA and Foundation for Youth Investment, generated ideas on how to make diversity, equity and inclusion take hold at all levels of the organizations and in the outdoors. High Country News reported on the event if you would like to read more about it.

Safety Message of the Month

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Art Exhibit: The Sentence Unseen

Monday, June 1st, 8am to Monday, Aug. 31st, 5pm

Band Room and New Industries Building, Alcatraz Island

Celebrated documentary photographer Ruth Morgan and visual artist Deanne Morizono have curated a site-specific installation of compelling large format photographs, video diaries, and two- and three-dimensional visual art on Alcatraz that challenges assumptions about people behind bars. The exhibit reveals the unrecognized impacts of incarceration - the sentence levied on children and families when a loved one is imprisoned. Much of the exhibit features testimony from children of incarcerated parents and art created by men and women in prison. But it is Morgan’s poignant and uplifting portraits—larger than life—coupled with the stories of young people with only vague memories of their fathers or who wonder what it would be like to spend Mother’s Day with their mother that leave a lasting impression. The exhibit is produced by nonprofit Community Works West and hosted by the National Park Service on Alcatraz Island. The art will be displayed in both the Band Room (May - August) and the New Industries Building (May- June)

Prisoners of Age

Wednesday, July 1st, 10am to Thursday, Dec. 31st, 2pm

New Industries Building, Alcatraz Island

Prisoners of Age was originally exhibited on Alcatraz over 10 years ago. The award winning photographs now return to Alcatraz July - Dec. 2015.

Prisoners of Age is a haunting series of photographs and chronicles of elderly men and women, taken over a period of 18 years, at prisons and prison-wards for geriatric offenders in the United States and Canada. Brilliantly designed by Michael Wou of Origami Branding, the exhibition features 60 large-scale photographs in cellblock environments. Accompanying the photographs are revealing narratives from conversations with the inmates of age, guards and prison officials.

Senior inmates comprise the fastest growing age group in the United States. One-in-ten inmates is 55 or older. A decade ago, that was one-in-twenty. As Federal and State prisons begin to look more like high security nursing homes, the people who manage North America's prison system worry about how to handle the imminent explosion in the geriatric population.

Interp Get Together (IGT)

Thursday, Aug. 20th, 1-4:30pm


Please mark your calendar for our 2nd IGT of the year. We will kick off the meeting with a meet and greet with our new Superintendent Chris Lehnertz where you can learn more about her vision for the park and ask her those burning questions .

Afterwards, we will further our work on infusing the Relevancy Standards into interpretive programming. Hear from fellow rangers about their success and challenges during this process. More details to come as we get closer to the date.

To find out more with what is happening in the park, check out other upcoming Park Events page on the Parks Conservancy website.

Michele Gee

Chief of Interpretation & Education
Golden Gate National Recreation Area

National Park Service

Fort Mason Building 201

San Francisco, CA 94123