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Ladybug Beetles: Park Leadership Goes Beyond County Lines

The professionals who staff our nature centers and historical sites are frequently called upon to share their expertise and experience with colleagues from across Virginia and the nation. This year is no exception, featuring a smattering of lively leadership activities for our highly respected park historians and interpreters.

In March 2004, Frying Pan Park and Sully Historic Site hosted a field trip for the Southeast Regional Meeting of the Association for Living History Farms and Museums (ALHFAM). Park managers and staff led guests on behind-the-scene tours that highlighted the unique features of their sites. They answered questions about protecting and interpreting historic structures and ways to make farming relevant to a suburban audience. At Sully, staff spoke with guests about the development of the Sully slave quarters and interpretation.

Also in spring, staff from Colvin Run Mill, Sully and Collections Management served on sessions and hosted colleagues attending the annual Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) Conference. Some 130 enthusiastic attendees were treated to a reception (featuring delicious treats made with the mill's whole wheat flour and cornmeal), followed by an evening grinding demonstration. A participant was heard to say, Seeing the mill made the entire conference worthwhile.

Park archaeologists organized and chaired a symposium and presented papers on recent contributions to Fairfax County Archaeology at the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. At the annual Small Museum Association, our pros from Collections Management and Colvin Run Mill presented a session on labeling historic collections.

But that's not all. A committee of Park Authority pros is helping to plan the educational programs for September's Virginia Recreation and Parks Society (VRPS) Annual Conference. Park Authority Heritage Interpreters and Resource Stewardship staff are also organizing activities to celebrate the 2007 Jamestown anniversary.

Lucky for us, we don't need to travel across the country to garner the benefits of our pros in the parks.

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