Alaska, known as the last frontier, conjurers visions of adventure and captivating landscapes. I am excited to be living the dream while participating in the VetsWork program while here with the Chugach National Forest supervisor’s office in Anchorage, Alaska. I am interning with Fleet, which manages field support of vehicles, boats, ATV’s, UTV’s, heavy equipment, snowmobiles and a range of other tools to adequately support the Chugach National Forest and it’s ranger districts in Glacier, Seward and Cordova. It is the northernmost National Forest in the United States and with an area of 26,500 square miles or 700,000 square miles. The artist and photographer in me is in awe of the majesty and raw beauty of this landscape. There is a unique quality of my experience which I was not anticipating which is very hands-on and very tech driven which is quite an interesting experience to me. On one hand, I have been in the field at our site locations, searching for summer tires for the right make and model of our fleet vehicles to be changed out with previous winter tires, then annually inspected and oil changed while building relationships with the staff at our local garage. And on the other, I have been immersed in learning data entry and processing. Of course, my internship is a taste of the bigger picture and has allowed me to understand the fleet manager’s responsibilities. The purchasing of vehicles and getting them properly equipped for the field, then transferred to our ranger districts. There is a standard life cycle of the Fleet vehicles and equipment. It is a specific and strategic process as well as very challenging, especially if time sensitive. During my short time here, I am glad to be a part of the process and a part of the team. “Caring for the land and serving the people.” This is the motto the National Forest lives by! Lastly, as far as my plans after this AmeriCorps opportunity, it is simply too soon to tell. I will have a better idea in the Fall. In the meantime, I will continue to happily live the dream!
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