A couple of months back at Joshua Tree National Park, we posed the following ethical dilemma: What do you do when you see someone walking out of a national park with stolen treasure in hand? The responses were feisty, from calls to civic responsibility to snarky comments about being a snitch.
Petrified Forest National Park (PFNP) doesn’t hesitate to answer that question. Upon arrival, every guest is handed two pieces of paper: one is a park brochure and the other is a green card urging you to turn in anyone who might be stealing from the park. The card doesn’t miss a detail… When did it happen? Where did it happen? Who did it? What were they wearing? How old? Describe their vehicle. License plate number? This message of “turn thieves in” was repeated at every ranger tour and on every sign in the park.
Because it’s so easy to steal petrified wood or crystals and because the park went unprotected for so long, PFNP is probably the most looted of all the parks. The orientation video stated that one ton of petrified wood and rocks are stolen from the park each month. Craziness. For those of you who want to check out Petrified Forest, don’t wait too long or there might not be much left!
Our first stop at PFNP was the visitor’s center, where I befriended a sweet dog named Lily. We struck up a conversation with Lily’s owner who shared with us that she has MS and that Lily is a service dog. Lily goes everywhere with her (a right protected under U.S. law). The dog assists with keeping her balance and even somehow reminds her when she is too tired and pushing herself too hard. I remember reading an article on the increasing prevalence of service dogs for all sorts of reasons, including military veterans battling PTSD. Amazing.
Finally, I have three cool finds to share with you:
1- Check out this incredible TED talk on the re-purposing of Google streetview… for art. Only 5 minutes long, but wow.
2- I played around on Sparked.com this week, a quasi-new website built around the idea of micro-volunteering. It connects non-profits who need help with branding, fundraising, programming, designing, whatever with professionals who might be too busy to volunteer in the flesh but can spare 15 minutes to do some good online. The opportunities are still being built out, but it’s worth taking a look.
3- Take five minutes and visit Playspent.org, where you will become part of a powerful and educational game that raises awareness about poverty and the underprivileged.
That’s all for now! Beautiful photos of PFNP to come.
posted by ayo