This week our team worked at Saint Paul’s National Historic Site. Working on this project helped the park in many different ways. It helped to stabilize each monument, re-position leaning stones, and it also helped to fix bare spots around the headstones so new grass can grow. Most of all our work on these projects provided work to the parks that no one was there to do. These stones and monuments are historic sites and the maintenance of them shows visitors and people all around us why this project is important to us.
This park is important because it’s one of New York’s oldest churches and was used as a military hospital during the Revolutionary War. It is estimated to have had approximately 9,000 burials. There are many different types of headstones/ monuments marking the lives of people who once lived and called this place home.
This weeks education session was very interesting because we were exposed to many new skills. We learned how to calculate and measure the weight of different stones, restore and reset historic stones, use mortar to fill and replace old mortar in some of the headstones and turf rejuvenation. We also worked with and learned about new tools such as the tamper, tripod, cultivator, and a chisel. Our work projected this week focused on on resetting the head stones that shifted either by nature, gravity or animals. Other groups worked on turf rejuvenation. To do this, tools we used were a pointed shovel, spade, hand trowel, level, tamper, a two by four, wheel barrow, souls and gravel.
Our Technical Experts for the week were Denis Montagna and Francis Miller. Dennis is from Miami Florida and has an undergraduate degree in studio art and art history. That was his original calling. Years ago, he started working for the NPS and took a leave of absence to study architectural conservation. He is based in Philadelphia with New York as a part of his region. Francis Miller has a background in sculpture and got into his work through the Chicago Park district. He is a very hard-working man who runs his own conservation practice in Hanson Connecticut. Working with both our technical experts this week was a blast. We enjoyed our two technical experts very much this week and are very great full and thankful for all they have done to help teach us. We also want to give a shout out to Barry, who at Saint Paul’s National Historic Site. He helped up store our tools, fill up our water and set a really nice area for us to eat lunch in the visitor’s center. Thank you Barry!
Some of our highlights from this week’s work project was working as a team to complete the work we did each day. We worked really well as a team the day we did turf rejuvenation because we were able to use all the soil and fill in a lot of the dry spots on the cemetery lawn. One of our challenges that we faced this week was the heat and humidity but we made sure to drink water and stay in the shade as much as possible to stay hydrated. Another challenge was keeping away from the bugs being that our work site was a buggy area. Some of our favorite parts of this week was being able to eat lunch inside the visitor’s center in the air conditioning. As a team we also felt it was great to see the finish product and seeing all the work we accomplished in a short amount of time.