I don’t have any job changes to update you on, but I will update the status of my current job. I’m still working as an interpretive park ranger for the Bureau of Land Management at the California Trail Interpretive Center in Elko, Nevada. When I began work on September 30, 2019, this temporary/seasonal job was set to last until the end of March, 2020. However, my manager was able to extend it until mid-July. The manager has left now, but, primarily because of the COVID-19 shutdown, the acting manager has been able to extend me until sometime around Thanksgiving.
Even though the center has been shut down since March (and still is, as of the writing of this post), I have to say that I have enjoyed this job as much as any I’ve ever had. It gives me the opportunity to teach and learn and research, all of which are things that I am well-equipped for. The job is still classified as a temporary job, and I’m hoping to get the opportunity to be hired on a permanent basis here, but the wheels of government action are slow. Without going into detail, the center has lost most of its staff and is operating with a skeleton crew of “acting” replacements. The permanent positions are tied up in bureaucratic red-tape and I don’t have any indication of if/when they will be posted or if I’ll be able to apply for one of them.
Meanwhile, with the center being shut down, it has given me the chance to complete (and continue improving) the primary project that I was given shortly after I was hired – to create and maintain a mobile app for the center. I investigated this from the outset to see if I had the programming skills to do that, but quickly found that I don’t. However, I was able to locate a service that is pretty good that enables me to drag-and-drop content into an app builder without needing coding experience. That enabled me to build the app and do the research and content development using the skills I already have.
Check out the app (it’s free) by downloading it to your mobile device (phone, tablet, etc.). Search the Apple Store or Google Play for “California Trail Center”. The app includes a complete virtual tour of our museum, as well as lots of background information about the artwork on display, links to primary source documents for the 100+ quotations used in the center, “tours” of the California Trail as depicted in the outdoor plaza but also tied to actual geographic locations and emigrant diary references. You can also view the app on any web browser at https://ctic.oncell.com/en/index.html, but the content is optimized for and best viewed on a mobile device.