As everyone settles in for the colder months out on the field, the offices of the Forest Service come to life. The Washington Office is a very good example of this. Once there is less work to do out in the forests, projects and meetings begin to really pick up. This is a time to reflect and look over information gathered over the warmer months. It's a time to brainstorm on what could be the next steps for the agency and any projects put on hold. This is especially true with the new Recreation Plan that I am currently partnering with other employees on. We have successfully carried out three Open Door Session two Q&A sessions. We have also began distributing an internal employee survey to garner even more ideas on what is needed in our forests. As of now, we have checked in at 400 plus responses! During these Open Door Sessions we are able to have conversations on what others feel should be included in the new plan. I'm very excited to see how this all rolls out within the next few months.
With this new election coming to an end, the Legislative Affairs office is also very busy in preparation for the new candidates. I have been able to complete a few projects with them including briefing summaries, transcribing hearings, and legislative bill summaries. These have been a nice way to keep in touch with the skills I learned throughout college, I did major in Political Science btw. Having the opportunity to work with that office has shown me all the background work that the agency does. There are so many laws that affect our national forests that I would not have been aware of.
As I have mentioned before, networking is one of the top benefits I have received from this position. Since I am interested in going into the field very soon after this position, I have made sure to connect with key people. Wildland Firefighting has been my calling for some time now and being able to talk to others in those positions has been great. I've gathered a ton of resources and will be starting some courses very soon. Since winter is approaching, there aren't that many opportunities to go out into the field for firefighting, but there are lots of courses! I'm very excited to get started on those. The past two months have gone by way too quickly! Perhaps it's the city life getting to me! With the year beginning to wrap up, I am also starting to investigate different academies to attend to next year. I've got a grasp on a couple I'd like to attend, and I'll keep you all in the loop. I've also set up a few possible field visits for the warmer months. Another amazing perk of this position is that we are given an allowance for travel that can be used to expand our career. I will definitely be taking advantage of this. I want to gain more hands-on experience before this position ends.
My photo captures a hike near DC that I went on. I love that photo because it highlights all the beautiful fall colors. I'll catch up with you all next month. Stay warm!