On the morning of June 4, 326 volunteers descended on the Gettysburg battlefield for six and a half hours and they accomplished a HUGE amount of work. The event was Gettysburg National Military Park’s biggest volunteer event of the year: The Friends of Gettysburg annual volunteer work day. The volunteers reported for duty from 21 states across the nation.
Rebuilding historic fences is usually the big job for these volunteers and 90 of them built 1.1 miles of Virginia Worm fence on the first days’ battlefield. Another 30 volunteers reconstructed hog fencing across from the Sherfy House.
At the George Spangler farm, 50 volunteers cleared brush, trees and grass and cleaned out the inside of the barn.
If you want to find out more about how you can get involved go to: http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org/66/volunteer-at-gettysburg
Volunteers are the life blood of the National Park Service. Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site literally could not exist without our volunteers. Let’s take a look back at the volunteer numbers for 2010…
Gettysburg National Military Park had 3,123 volunteers donate a total of 50,485 hours. We use volunteers in Park Watch patrol; living history programs; Adopt-a-position; the park library; care of museum collections; the cannon carriage restoration shop; visitor services; and more.
Park Watch – The volunteer Park Watch program started in 1996 after a rash of vandalism on the Gettysburg battlefield.Last year, 115 volunteers donated 8254 hours. Park Watchers serve in highly visible roles, sporting Park Watch jackets, hats, and car decals, and sometimes they are covert, quietly serving as the eyes and ears of park protection rangers. They have been awarded the Governor’s “Citizen’s Crime Prevention Award” on seven occasions. Park Watch has also received the Gettysburg Adams Chamber of Commerce “Someone Special Award” and the National Park Service Northeast Region’s “Protection Award for Excellence.”
Living History Programs – In 2010, we offered approximately 27 weekends of living history presentations to park visitors utilizing all-volunteer units. The units represented every aspect of the Civil War including infantry, artillery, cavalry, medical, signal corps, and 15 different civilian units. These 1,400 volunteers donated over 23,000 hours to our program with an estimated 82,000 visitors attending 330 formal programs. Another 9,000 visitors toured the living history encampments and explored Civil War life in an informal setting.
Adopt-a-position – One of the park’s biggest volunteer programs, the purpose of the Adopt-a-position program is to engage volunteers in helping to maintain the historic setting of the battlefield. Volunteers by perform maintenance and labor that otherwise would not be completed due to budget and/or staffing restraints. The areas on the battlefield that benefit are the regimental positions including battery locations, many of which are marked by cannon.
At the Eisenhower National Historic Site, 707 volunteers donated 15,337 hours last year. They build and paint fences, convert oral histories to digital format, scan historic photos, tend the Eisenhower vegetable garden, provide interpretation at the show barn, assist with special events and more. Some of the groups involved include the crew of the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) and Elderhostel programs.
To find out more about park volunteer opportunities go to: www.nps.gov/gett/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant
Thanks to Ashley Wright, Gettysburg Foundation, for the photos.