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Bringing Parks to the People When People Can’t Get to the Parks

Serving as a Fellow with the NPS Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program in Washington, D.C., Ember Rensel researched stories and interviewed individuals to prepare visual materials and other content for their Communications team. While Ember is proud of every accomplishment over the course of her service term (and there are too many to list), she highlights her contributions to the staff's internal site for housing resources, tools, and tips, as well as developing the team’s social media planning calendar. It was a huge effort to compile all the program resources under one internal roof, and managing the communications calendar allowed her team to become proactive in their communications and navigate the global pandemic without skipping a beat.

WASO_2020_RTCA_Rensel_Ember_Midterm-report_photo-1.jpg#asset:1368Ember sitting at her desk in the Main Interior Building in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the course of her internship, Ember consistently contributed to the mission of the National Park Service. She researched and translated incredible stories conveying the necessity of the RTCA program, especially in the time of COVID-19, when access to parks is even more limited. According to Ember, our local recreation and conservation efforts are incredibly important, and the NPS has needed an audience for these stories of what they do and how they do it. Ember directly helped reach that audience to communicate this message: “We extend the Park Service mission to communities across the country. We bring parks to the people when people can't get to the parks.”

WASO_2020_RTCA_Rensel_Ember_Midterm-report_photo-3.jpg#asset:1369Ember's telework set-up as she quarantined in Harrisburg, VA.

So what’s next for Ember? Thanks to this fellowship, Ember knows exactly what kind of work she wants to devote her life to, and she has met lifelong friends in the process. Ember recently started attending graduate school for a master's degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication, accompanied by a partnership-based graduate assistantship. She’s planning to write for the RTCA program again next summer and apply for a full-time job after she earns her degree. We cannot wait to see her again!

WASO_2020_RTCA_Rensel_Ember_Midterm-report_photo-5.jpg#asset:1370After a tour of Capitol Hill, the RTCA Fellows walked to the Lincoln Memorial to take professional headshot photos.

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