Saturday, August 27, 2016
Hello my friends! I'm reporting from New Bedford, Massachusetts. New Bedford is famous for being an important location in the whaling trade. I know, whaling is so, so sad- but it's still important to learn about the history of the whaling industry.
This summer is an especially important time to visit National Park Service sites because this August marks the 100 year birthday of the National Park Service! My first park this August was New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. It's a really cool park! The park is in historic New Bedford, Massachusetts. There is visitor center and a bunch of buildings you can visit.
After picking up my Junior Ranger booklet, my parents and I began our walk around New Bedford. Just outside the visitor center, we encountered these two nice ladies! Their husbands are whalers and they told us what it was like to be women back in the whaling days. They were very vocal about women's suffrage- or the right of women to vote! I loved meeting them, but I'm glad I don't have to wear so many clothes in the heat!
One of the stops on the tour of New Bedford that Junior Rangers take is the New Bedford Whaling Museum! The first photo in this post- me with the white whale- is outside the museum. This photo is too! There is a giant squid climbing the front of the museum! Inside, you can learn all about the whaling industry and whales themselves. There are even really huge skeletons of whales! One thing I learned is that whalers were searching for whale products. Before electric power, many people lit their homes whale oil lamps! Whoa! Some women wore whale bone corsets. Finally, a third thing people used whales for was ambergris, which you can sometimes find in whale intestines (Yuck!) Ambergris was used in perfume and in wine.
The ships that carried the whalers were pretty large with lots of men and boys aboard. Women and girls only rarely came along. In fact, the only job a woman could do on a whaling ship was shout "There she blows!" when a whale was spotted! Whaling ships killed whales by launching harpoons at them from whaleboats, which were smaller boats carried along on the ship. The whale would pull the whaleboat along until the whale was exhausted- the process was sometimes called a "Nantucket Sleighride!" It was very sad, I think.
I loved seeing all the older buildings in New Bedford. I imagine that many of them were built with funds from whaling. I asked my moms to take me to New Bedford because of a song by my favorite band, The Decemberists. The song is called The Mariner's Revenge Song and it's about a young men seeking revenge for his mother's ruin and death.
I really loved going to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park! When I finished my self-guided walking tour, I headed back to the Visitor Center to receive my badge! (You can also take a guided tour, but we arrived just a bit too late for it.) After giving me my badge and helping me take an oath, Ranger Andrew and I posed in front of this whaling ship for a photo! I was so proud.
I think whaling is really sad, but in the past, I don't know if people realized how dangerous it was to kill so many whales. I'm glad we know now!
If you'd like to learn more about whaling and New Bedford's role in the whaling industry, check out their website at www.nps.nebe! What do you think, would you want to visit this National Historical Park?
Thursday, May 26, 2016
My biggest NPS adventure on my New Mexico trip was a day at White Sands National Monument! White Sands is a beautiful place, a desert made of white gypsum sand near Alamogordo, New Mexico. My family had a great time staying at Inn of the Mountain Gods the night before, so we were well-rested before we set out into the desert.
The sand is pure white and so soft! I live near the Atlantic Ocean and our sand is much grittier. At White Sands, you can climb and play as long as you don't disturb the plants and animals. The sky was bright blue with a few clouds. My family packed lots of water because it can get very hot at White Sands.
One fun thing you can do at White Sands is sled down the dunes! At the gift shop, you can purchase a sled, but I decided to do what my mama did as a kid- slide on a big piece of cardboard. It was so fun! I wanted to roll down, but my parents said "NO WAY!" and told me I'd end up looking like a sand dune myself!
I love this photo because you can see the ripples the wind made in the dunes. Isn't it a beautiful sight? I'm so lucky that I got to visit! You can see mountains behind me. The sand is in the Tularosa basin which is surrounded by the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains. The mountains are partially made of gypsum, so when wind and water brought the gypsum down into the basin, it formed the beautiful white gypsum dunes over time. In fact, the whole area used to be a sea in ancient times!
My mama, mom, and grandma joined me in climbing way up into the dunes. Just to be safe, we stayed where we could see the car parked below. The dunes, if you get lost, can be very disorienting! I loved sitting on the top of a dune and filling out my Junior Ranger booklet.
On our way out of the park, we stopped to do a little hike on a raised walkway through a biological crust area. The biological crust is composed of sand and lots of bacteria that secrete goo that makes the sand bumpy on top. It sounds gross, but it's really awesome. I saw bunny tracks in the crust, but I didn't see any animals other than birds at White Sands. I really wanted to see a lizard!
Back at the ranger station/ visitor center, Ranger Eugene checked my Jr. Ranger booklet. I did a good job, so he awarded me an official badge! He was really nice. We talked a bit about how I am a junior ranger at many different parks across the country.
If you want to learn more about White Sands National Monument, check out their website at nps.gov/whsa !
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
On my trip to upstate New York, I also had the chance to visit a very important National Historical Park- Women's Rights! I had been hoping to visit this park for years, but it's a long drive from New York City so my family didn't go until this trip. Are you ready to learn about the park? Women's Rights National Historical Park commemorates the 1848 Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls. The convention was organized by five women- Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martha Wright, Mary Ann M'Clintock, and Jane Hunt.
Here I am with some of the statues from Lloyd Lillie's The First Wave. It shows the organizers of the Women's Rights Convention and some of the people who attended it. I really liked wandering around the statues and looking at the different people.
Can you tell who the man in the middle of the group of statues is? That's Frederick Douglass! He was a very important Black orator and statesman. He was present at the Women's Rights Convention and signed the document that was created during it- The Declaration of Sentiments. One of the organizers of the convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was the primary author of the Declaration of Sentiments.
Here I am with a really cool podium. It was in the Wesleyan Chapel. In fact, it may be the very podium used at the Women's Rights Convention of 1848! Historians aren't sure, so I decided to pose with it just in case. Even if it wasn't present at the convention, it's still old and awesome!
The Visitor Center at Women's Rights National Historical Park has tons of exhibits and artifacts. I really like this banner. It's hard to read because the focus in the photo is on me, but it says "Women Vote in Our Native Lands." One of my favorite exhibits in the museum portion of the Visitor Center lets visitors imagine themselves in different professions. Park ranger was on there! So was President of the United States.
After I had explored the museum and filled out my Junior Ranger booklet, it was time to receive my Junior Ranger badge from Ranger Brock! Ranger Brock was very nice. In addition to giving me my official badge, he also showed me where to stamp my parks passport and sold me some souvenirs. If you ever go to Women's Rights NHP, make sure to say hello to Ranger Brock!
After I earned my badge, I went outside to explore the area near the Visitor Center. The Wesleyan Chapel is where the convention took place. It was closed by the time I had finished my Junior Ranger booklet, but I enjoyed seeing the outside! I was proud to pose with my badge next to it!
The park next to the Visitor Center has a beautiful wall with the words of the Declaration of Sentiments carved into it, with a waterfall coming over the wall. So cool! If you would like to read the text of the document, check out this link.
Before my parents and I left the park, I posed for a photo in front of the reconstructed Wesleyan Chapel. Can you see where the original walls are? They are a different color than the rest of the walls. I loved visiting the park. I hope to come back someday soon to visit the homes of the different organizers of the convention!
We spent the night in Ithaca and on the way there, my family stopped at Taughannock Falls. The waterfall is amazing! You can walk all the way down from the top of the gorge to the bottom where the water flows into Cayuga Lake. I was impressed; it is so beautiful!
Upstate New York is beautiful. I loved seeing the waterfall, the historical park, and all the changing leaves. Have you ever traveled around different parts of your home state or province? Was it very different from where you live?
Labels: women's rights nhp
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Hello hello my friends! I'm sorry I haven't posted on my blog in so long- I've been pretty busy with school and the different groups I belong to. However, this past weekend, my family took a little trip north of NYC. Our first stop was Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook, New York.
The historic site offers tours of Martin Van Buren's home. That's his house behind me! The site is doing some work on the front of the house; that's why there's all the construction. My family was lucky to join a tour of the house given by Ranger Dawn! The visitors met in front of the house, where Ranger Dawn gave us an introduction to President Van Buren. He was elected to be the 8th president in 1836. He was called "Old Kinderhook" because of his hometown.
The inside of the Van Buren home is fun to visit. It was originally a lot smaller, but the home was expanded at the urging of one of the president's sons. I loved seeing all the old furniture and reproduction wallpaper. Did you know President Van Buren was pretty short? He was!
Here I am in the president's bedroom. The sleigh bed in the photo is original to the house! Cool, right? Here's a fact: President Van Buren was the first president to be born a citizen of the United States.
After the tour of the house, my parents and I walked around the outside of Van Buren's home. His estate is called Lindenwald after the linden trees that grew on the property. This photo is of me on the mounting block that was used to get on horses!
Here I am with the big National Park Service arrowhead. Someday I hope to wear a patch of it when I grow up and become a park ranger. It was pretty cold in Kinderhook! I should have worn a fleece. Brr!
Soon it was time to receive my Junior Ranger badge! Ranger Dawn gave me the badge and we posed for a photo together. She's an excellent tour guide; if you're lucky, she might even be giving a tour when you visit! She taught me quite a bit about Old Kinderhook. Now that I'm home, I want to do some more reading to learn more about him and his presidency.
Here's one last photo of me. I'm standing in front of the Visitor Center! I enjoyed my visit to Martin Van Buren National Historic Site. If you'd like to visit, check out the site's webpage for more details.
Have you ever been to a president's home? Which one was it and what was it like? If you haven't been, which president's home would you like to visit most?
Labels: martin van buren nhs
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Hello my friends! I had a wonderful time at Jacob Riis Beach the other day. The beach is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, which makes it part of the National Park System! I earned my Junior Ranger badge at Gateway several years ago, so the pressure was off for this visit.
My family usually goes to the beach over Labor Day weekend. This year, we went on the Sunday before Labor Day since Labor Day is usually really busy. I love Riis Beach because it is full of two mom families like mine. When we got there, I put on my little floaty thing and ran into the water. I love the beach in September because the water is finally warm!
After I tired myself out swimming, I decided to build a sandcastle. I like to build a lot of little towers using my pail. Another fun thing I used to do is dig a giant hole, but the lifeguards don't let kids do that anymore because sometimes the sand caves in and kids get hurt! Be careful in the sand, okay?
I also like to walk up and down the sand looking for cool shells. Of course I forgot to take a photo of the shells I found! My real goal is finding beach glass, but I haven't found any for a long time.
Finally, as the sun was setting, I got Mom to play catch with me! We have a big, colorful beach ball. It's kind of hard to play catch with it when it is windy, because it will blow off to the side instead of where you want it to go.
When it was time to go, I felt pretty bummed. It was probably my last beach trip of 2015. I love going to the beach. I have been in other seasons, but it is not quite as fun since it gets pretty cold! I'm glad we got to to the beach a few times this summer! I had tons of fun playing in the sand and water.
Have you ever been to the beach? What was it like?
In this post I'm wearing: swimsuit and hair accessories by American Girl.
Labels: gateway nra
Friday, July 17, 2015
Hello my friends! One of the best things about living in New York is that the beach is only minutes away. My family likes to go to Jacob Riis Beach because there are lots of families there like ours. Today was a sunny day with just the right temperature, so we drove to the beach! The beach is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Of course, I had to bring a friend with me! Since most of my friends were busy at day camp or lessons, I brought my Shellington! Shellington is a scientist and an Octonaut. He explores, rescues, and protects the animals of the ocean in a series of really fun books. Anyway, I really like Shellington. He went to Costa Rica with me this past winter too!
Beaches are really fun and this time, I got to try something really cool- windsurfing! First I had to practice my stance on the beach with an instructor. I was pretty nervous, but still, I wanted to try something new. My moms were really encouraging me too!
Before long, it was time to actually windsurf! I had to stay close to shore since I'm a kid, but that was fine with me! There have been reports of sharks farther along Long Island, so I was fine with being near the lifeguards with my instructor nearby! Look at me! I was flying! It was really hard to hold the sail up; I'm glad my arms are strong!
It was so so cool! I was flying along the ocean like a flying fish! I felt like an Octonaut myself.
Before I knew it, the sun was starting to get lower and my lesson was over. I slid onto the beach happily. I'm really glad I tried windsurfing!
I think windsurfing is awesome! I love the beach! I'm so glad my moms brought me. Have you ever tried something new and exciting that made you a little nervous?
To learn more about Gateway National Recreation Area, visit: nps.gov/gate
Labels: gateway nra
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
On my trip to the Four Corners, I went to three different park service sites. The last park I saw was Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico. It's a really cool park! The rangers and volunteers are knowledgeable and friendly. Plus, the park is fascinating. I started out in the museum, where I worked on my junior ranger booklet. It has a lot of cool artifacts and displays that teach visitors about Ancestral Puebloans. Then it was time to explore the Ancestral Puebloan structures!
I loved exploring the park. There were several parts where you could actually go into and onto the structures. In fact, there is a gorgeous reconstructed kiva too! Aztec Ruins are not really Aztec, but rather Ancestral Puebloan- just like many of the other parks I have visited. In fact, the people who lived at Aztec Ruins may have visited Chaco Canyon.
Doesn't this series of doorways remind you of the doorways from my trip to Chaco Canyon in this post? I really liked going into the buildings and imagining what it would be like to live there. Wouldn't it be cool to live in an Ancestral Puebloan great house with lots of other families? I would eat corn and turkey and maybe even swim in the nearby Animas River.
Once I had finished exploring the different structures with my family, it was time to turn in my Junior Ranger booklet and be sworn in at Aztec Ruins! The volunteers were nice and very sweet about the questions I didn't answer correctly. They gave me my badge and then it was time to make the long drive through the mountains to our hotel.
I loved visiting Aztec Ruins. I just wish I'd had time to stay longer and explore more. One of the neat features of Aztec Ruins National Monument is that you can do their Junior Ranger program online and earn a patch! If you'd like to learn more about the park and participate in the online Junior Ranger program, click here! To learn more about the park in general, check out their website at http://www.nps.gov/azru/!
Thanks so much for reading! Would you visit Aztec Ruins if you had the chance? Is there a National Park Service site near you?