Greetings from Northern Virginia! My name is Katie Fiely, and I just finished up my first year as an MPA student with UNC Chapel Hill School of Government. This summer I will be interning with the National Park Service, specifically at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA. I would like to work with the National Park Service (NPS) post-graduate degree, so this internship is perfect for me. A little background on Wolf Trap (FYI this is what everyone calls the Park up here so going forward I will too). Wolf Trap is a unique park in the NPS system because it is the only national park that is dedicated to the performing arts. It consists of a major outdoor, open concept wooden theater, named the Filene Center, a smaller children’s theater and forested hiking trails. The theater has a variety of shows including concerts, plays, movies, comedians and more. The land for the park was originally donated by Ms. Filene Shouse. Ms Shouse donated the 133 acres of land to the federal government in 1966 and a portion of the money to construct the original theater (theater has burned down twice and had to be reconstructed, cue Smokey the Bear PSA). The Park opened with the first inaugural show on July 1, 1971 with several performers including the National Symphony Orchestra, United States Marine Corps Band and the New York City Opera. Since then the park has put on several shows averaging about 70 shows a season, which runs from end of May to the beginning of September. In addition to the Filene Center, there is a small children’s theater named Theater in the Woods, which puts on day shows for schools, and families with young children. Behind the theater is a vast forest that lays home to a 2.5 mile hiking trail. Unlike many other NPS sites, while most parks are closing come dark, at Wolf Trap most of the action is just starting.
My role with Wolf Trap is a bit different, however, I will be working in the headquarters office of the Park. The headquarters office is located in Filene Shouse’s old house. My office is located in what I believe used to be the living room area. I work the normal 9 to 5 hours, unless they need me to stay and support a concert at night. I work directly for the Park’s Administrative Officer, Robyn Podany, but also support the Deputy Park Superintendent, Ken Bigley and Park Superintendent, George Liffert. The first week was a lot of onboarding/orientation stuff as well as meeting the staff. My main responsibilities will be coordinating all activities for when the Secretary of Interior would like to use his reserved Wolf Trap box in the theater, and supporting the renegotiation meetings with the Wolf Trap foundation and the Park (Wolf Trap Foundation is a nonprofit organization that partners with the NPS and is responsible for booking the artists, ticket sales, concessions, etc.). When those activities are not taking place I will/have been doing many ad hoc activities. For instance last week I drove the government vehicle to Frederick, MD and visited Monocacy National Battlefield because a co-worker is doing a detail there; and took National Incident Management Training in preparation for a Fourth of July celebration in D.C. later this summer.
This is Filene Shouse’s old home which now serves as the Wolf Trap Headquarters
The Filene Center (theater) itself!