Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
USE OF RECORDED SCIENTIFIC DATA
RECORDED SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION AND ITS BEARING ON THE GENERAL PARK ADMINISTRATIVE PROGRAM
By Dorr G. Yeager
Establishing new projects: It has been brought up several times during the conference that the park naturalist should take an active part in an advisory capacity when new projects are being undertaken, such as roads, trails, etc. Two educational features should be kept in mind when a road or trail is constructed.
(1) The utilization of scenic features
(2) The protection of scenic features
Had a list of scientific assets been made in Yosemite the glacial polish on the Wawona road would have been utilized instead of destroyed. It is highly important that we utilize our scientific information of the park in the establishment of new projects. This includes not only roads and trails, but educational projects such as museums, shrines, etc., which can only be placed at advantageous points when we utilize to the fullest extent our recorded scientific information.
Care for Park fauna and flora:
If our park fauna and flora are to be maintained in the best possible conditions we must utilize our scientific information concerning them. For example, if a certain animal is on the decrease in a national park, certain definite information must be known before relief measures can be undertaken.
1. Is the animal native to the region?
2. What was the original status of the animal in terms of numbers?
3. What was his original range?
4. How does that range compare with the present range?
All of these things must be carefully considered and in answering them we naturally turn to our recorded scientific information.
Before beginning work on a predatory animal problem it is necessary that all the known scientific data concerning its life history, natural enemies, natural food, etc., be carefully accumulated. I think it is easily seen from the above brief statements how important it is to accumulate all the known scientific information in order that it may be immediately utilized when a problem arises.
In the discussion following Mr. Yeager’s paper, it was brought out that the Park Information Manual offers park naturalists an opportunity of preparing a digest of information obtained through reference to scientific publications. The importance of definitely recording references was again stressed. These digests in the Manual of Information are particularly valuable where the original publications are rare or out of print and not available in the park library.
The Information Manual makes readily available in accurate and condenses form data on subjects related to the park. When once mimeographed this information is not only available to the educational staff, but to other park employees as well. The suggestion was made that bound copies be available in the museum libraries for reference for specially interested visitors.
The Park Information Manual may contain discussions of methods used in educational activities, check lists of birds, trees, flowers, etc., bibliographies pertaining to the parks, and if possible, maps, diagrams and illustrations. The Manual is a key or encyclopedia to the information available about the park.
The Information Manual is especially valuable to the new men on our educational staff and lightens the task of the park naturalist in the field of instruction at the beginning of the season.
There are some articles, especially those pertaining to history and archeology, which may be more complete than are the cumulative records of the natural sciences. Perhaps these may be advantageously filed separately from the Manual, but reference should be made to them in the Manual.
The Manual of Information should briefly describe types of natural phenomena and it is also important that it refer to the places in the park where such phenomena can be found.
Under the present circumstances there does not seem to be any way of making this material available to the public, but it is hoped that as the Manuals are brought closer to completion the most important sections can be published.
Methods of preparation of the Information Manual will be discussed in detail at a later session.