Thursday, November 2, 2017

Manhattan Project National Historical Park: Los Alamos Site

Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

Hi everyone! It's me, Inky! I'm reporting from Los Alamos, New Mexico.  Los Alamos is the home of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park because it's the birthplace of the atomic bomb.   Atomic bombs are nuclear weapons, which get their power from nuclear reactions.

Nuclear weapons are terrible, terrible things.  The United States exploded two of these during World War II in Japan.  "Little Boy" was detonated over Hiroshima, while "Fat Man" was in Nagasaki. Many, many people died and suffered from serious injuries and illnesses as a result.  In fact, I want to be very clear that my trip to Manhattan Project NHP was not to celebrate nuclear weaponry, but to learn from it.


Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

The Manhattan Project park is actually made of three different sites. The one I visited is in New Mexico, but there are two others- in Hanford, Washington and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The part of the park in Los Alamos is called Project Y.  I went with my Mama and my grandma, Chi'i.  I learned a lot about how the scientists and their support teams lived.   The lodge in this picture is Fuller Lodge, which was used as a community center during Project Y.

Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

Near the lodge is an old cabin, the Romero Cabin, which represents the settlers in the area of European descent.  It's one of three homestead cabins still standing.  However, the first inhabitants of the Los Alamos area were the Ancestral Puebloan people.  Mama, Chi'i, and that side of my family are modern Pueblo people! If you want to learn more about the Ancestral Puebloans from the Los Alamos area, click on this link to read about my visit to nearby Bandelier National Monument. There are remains of an Ancestral Puebloan site right next to the Romero cabin, but I didn't pose next to it out of respect.

Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

This is me in front of the Hans Bethe House. Hans Bethe and Edwin McMillan, who each won a Nobel Prize, lived in this house! It's going to be a museum soon. We didn't go in, but I posed in front of the flowers in the yard!

Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

Here I am posing with statues of J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves.  Dr. Oppenheimer was in charge of the scientific part of the Manhattan Project, while General Groves was the commanding general.  Their work was very important scientifically, but again, we have to remember that tragedy that atomic weapons brought. 

Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

Across the street from the statues, there is a little Visitor Center for the park. Whenever I visit a new park, I try to participate in the Junior Ranger Program.  I got straight to work on my booklet! It was really fun to learn about the Manhattan Project.

Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

When I finished my booklet, Ranger Kirk and Volunteer Jackie posed with me for this photo and gave me a badge. They were interested in learning more about my family's Pueblo culture, so we were able to share knowledge between rangers and visitors! Cool! I recommended that they go down to Albuquerque and visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Meeting rangers and Parks volunteers is one of my favorite parts of visiting NPS sites!

Inky at Manhattan Project National Historical Site

Junior Rangers at Manhattan Project NHP have the choice of a badge or a patch. I chose a badge, but the patch is awesome too! It features an atom and the names of all three sites in the Manhattan Project.

Thanks for learning about the Manhattan Project with me! Remember- while atomic weapons are powerful, peace on Earth is the way to go!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mount Rainier National Park II

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

The same day that my family hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail at Mount Rainier National Park, we camped at the Ohanapecosh Campground with my friend Brooke and her family!  The Ohanapecosh River also runs through the campground, so Brooke and I decided to play on the rocky shores.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

It was out first camping trip together! Brooke lives in New York City too, so we see each other fairly often. Still, it was really fun to see her in a new environment.  We wore our matching Camelbak backpacks and carried binoculars so we could look for wildlife.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

Brooke and I had a great time climbing around and exploring until our parents called us back to our campsite.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

I was pretty excited to pitch our tent because it was a brand new tent! It was also Brooke's first time camping, so she was excited to learn how to put the tent together.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

My family brought our camp stove and camp cookware! The speckled blue chocolate pot has been in my family for a long time.  I loved helping to warm up the pot of cocoa from our campsite overlooking the river!  Brooke seemed to be having fun too.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

I was happy to bring Brooke a present to celebrate her first night sleeping in a tent - her own headlamp! It's the same one I have. I love mine and I hope Brooke loves hers too.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

That night, we slept really well! We were tired out from climbing and playing outside.  Brooke and I have a great time together when we hang out.  It even turned out that we had identical pajamas! The next day we had more adventures, but that night, we dreamed good dreams.

Have you ever gone camping? Where did you stay? Did you sleep in a tent, an RV, or under the stars?

Mount Rainier National Park I

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

Hello my friends! Even though I have been home from my trip to the Pacific Northwest for a few weeks now, I love looking at the photos my family took. Today I am going to share some photos from a hike my moms and I took at Mount Rainier National Park. We hiked the Grove of the Patriarchs trail in the Ohanapecosh section of the park.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

The Grove of the Patriarchs trail is special to my family; my Mama hiked this trail with her summer camp when she was only a little older than I am now! I have heard a lot of about this sacred place and I was very excited to hike there. The Grove of the Patriarchs is a grove of very, very old red cedar trees along the shore of the Ohanapecosh River. The trees are called patriarchs because they are elders. The area is sacred to the local Native people, so it is important to be respectful there and not make a lot of noise.

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

Summer is a beautiful time to visit Mount Rainier! The Ohanapecosh area is green and peaceful.  One of my presents for the trip was a special backpack that holds water.  I was able to sip the water through a tube as I hiked. So cool!

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

Part of the hike goes along the banks of the Ohanapecosh River! The river begins as runoff from the Ohanapecosh Glacier, so the water is very, very cold. My Mom stuck a toe in and warned me not to do the same, so I didn't! The river is very clear and blue and you can see the stones so clearly at the bottom. It's beautiful!

Inky at Mount Rainier National Park

Along the rocky bank of the river, you can sometimes see cairns. Cairns are stacks of rocks that guide hikers' way.  Aren't they beautiful? I made sure not to knock them over as that would be very disrespectful. One of the things a Junior Ranger always remembers is to "take only pictures and leave only footprints."

Our hike lasted about an hour.  I'm glad I had some time to spend with my parents! After my hike, I met up with a friend to camp at Mount Rainier! That's a story for my next blog post.

Have you ever gone for a hike in a forest? What did you see?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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!

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

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

White Sands National Monument

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

Women's Rights NHP

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Martin Van Buren National Historic Site

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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.

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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.

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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!

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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.

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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!

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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!

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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.

Inky at Martin Van Buren NHS

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?
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