As volunteers, Tom and I have specific duties we perform at the national park sites where we work. We do living history demonstrations and work in the Visitors Centers. But we also do other duties as assigned. These can run the gamut from cleaning the restrooms, designing a museum display, or working with a group of school children. We had a lot of extra duties at Fort Frederica this year. In this last post about Fort Frederica for 2018, I wanted to share some of our sundry duties.
One of the sundry duties was building a new garden for Fort Frederica. Hurricane Irma destroyed the last garden and the fence around the garden. The rangers decided to expand the garden and build a more period-appropriate fence. The decision was the rangers, but the building was left to the volunteers. Tom did a lot of the work, building all of the raised boxes. Tom and Phil built most of the fence. Gail planted the vegetables and Ranger Ellen planted herbs. By the time we left, everything was growing well and it looked like it would be an abundant harvest if someone remembers to water the garden.
Phil and Marcia invested a lot of their time and energy into another of the sundry duties. They created a butterfly garden. Marcia did the research, talked to local experts, and picked the plants. Then she and Phil designed and planted the garden. They also lined a walkway with brick and hauled the crushed oyster shells for the path.
Tom built several things for the park as part of our sundry duties. He built the bellows, which I already described, and found steel to use in the blacksmith program. He fixed the spinning wheel and made a bunch of bobbins for it. Tom finished the wheelbarrow that Randy started. I contributed by staining it. He also built a stand for a grinding wheel. The wheel was sitting in a storage building and Tom put it together so it could sit out and be tried by visitors.
Finally, we worked with kids in a lot of different capacities. There were school groups, homeschool cooperatives, and Jr. Rangers. We encouraged kids to dress up in colonial clothing and helped them learn to play colonial games. Some of the older kids put together a broken vase, demonstrating the skills an archaeologist might use. The children were my favorites: giving me joy at the same time they drained my energy!
One of the reasons Tom and I continue to volunteer for the National Parks is the variety of tasks we get to do. On any given day we never know which of many sundry duties we might be asked to perform. Every day is a new adventure.