27 March 2023

Promoting the Allegheny: 100 Years of Growth

Written by: Alisen Hazeltine

Today, Friday March 24, 2023, marks the first 30 days of my Resource Assistantship with the United States Forest Service. I am a Public Affairs Conservation Education Specialist, Resource Assistant at the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) in Pennsylvania. The timing of my assistantship could not have been more perfect. This year, the ANF is celebrating its 100th year of establishment with exciting centennial events scheduled throughout the year. September 24, 2023, marks the official “100th birthday” of the forest and will celebrate with a big “birthday-bash” fit with food, live music, guest speakers, interpretive programming, giveaways and more. I am excited to have the opportunity to represent the ANF at these events and to design various promotional materials to support these efforts.

The first design project I tackled was the Centennial Passport, which is a small booklet containing specifics on a variety of centennial events. I also designed a custom stamp for ANF staff to mark guests’ passports with at each event attended, and if guests earn enough stamps, they win a prize! Also, I designed temporary tattoos, stickers, and canvas tote bags as promotional items to give away at our outreach booths. For my latest design, I created a sign to be placed on fire danger posts throughout the forest (my design is displayed on the table in the image, which was taken at today’s event).

I attended my first “on forest” event today, which was a ceremony to re-establish the ANF’s first corner marker. The ceremony included a brief history of the site, Corner 1 of Tract 1, as the official “point of beginning” of the ANF. The ANF’s Forest Land Surveyor set the new iron pipe marker with concrete and other attending surveyors placed rocks around the base. This week, March 19th -25th, was National Surveyors Week and this event was a wonderful way to celebrate all their work to establish the boundaries of the ANF.

Not only has this opportunity allowed me to put my design skills to work, but I also have been introduced to the world of interpretation. As part of my title indicates, conservation education is one of my key responsibilities. As part of another centennial initiative, I have been working with my supervisor, Public Affairs Officer, Chris Leeser (seen in photo with me), and other USFS staff to create information panels about Corner 1 of Tract 1. These panels will be placed at the three district offices in the ANF (Marienville, Bradford, and Warren) for hopefully another 100 years to come. In the back right of the image, the caution cones outline the site where the corner was reestablished.

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be an assistant with the USFS designing products and being the “face of the forest” at events, I wouldn’t have believed you. I have always had a passion for the outdoors, as well as wanted to pursue a creative career. What an amazing experience to be able to combine those interests and promote a forest near and dear to my heart, the Allegheny National Forest. I am excited to see what this assistantship has in store for me and my future!

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