National Park Service and it’s Legacy

Artist George Catlin has been credited with presenting the notion of a governmental organization to protect our wilderness and wildlife. His essays reflected anxiety toward the continuing development and its effects of the westward expansion over the natural wonderland. George Catlin expressed the theory of creating a policy or agency to protect the wilderness. The lands of Yellowstone and Yosemite received protection under specific preservation laws in the mid 1800’s. Later the National Park service had begun to be established.

The potential for a booming tourism market inspired many keen investors to band together and lobby for the creation of a National Park service. Most importantly supportive conservationist lobbying began for the preservation of wildlife and natural resources. President Woodrow Wilson officially signed legislation for the creation of the National Park Service on August 25th 1916.

Congress created the national park service as a chapter o the United States department of the Interior. The national park service has since grown to employ over 100,000 people and boast many thousands of volunteers. As a cabinet office to the executive branch of government the National Park service is run by a secretary elected by the president. The national Park service receives a yearly budget of over 2 billion dollars.

The national park service has been actively involved in caring for American monuments, historical properties and parks since 1916. National parks are a place of beautiful picnic spots equally dedicated to the conservation of local wildlife. National parks are available to the public providing spectacular natural scenery and a place to enjoy healthy family entertainment for a lazy afternoon or the whole summer long. The chief duty of the national park service is a commitment to the conservation of historical properties, scenery, wildlife and properties contained within a national park. The national park service promotes public education in reflection of the American landscape. Receiving millions of visitors to over 391 units per year the national park service is a flourishing society.

Yellowstone national park became the world’s very first national park under the National Park Service. Yellowstone was previously privately managed with sometimes uncertain success. Yosemite received some protection as a state park originally but was soon to join in under the protection of the National park Service with others soon to follow. Mount Rainier, Glacier, Crater Lake, and naturally, the beautiful Sequoia, all thankfully receiving protection and conservation under the care of the National Park Service.

It was soon recognized that parks not in the western states should also benefit from the care of the National park Service and Acadia National Park in Maine was also included. Philanthropist John Rockefeller Jr. was among others who assisted in the gradual acquisition of eastern lands. In 1926 the Great Smokey Mountains, Shenandoah and Mammoth cave were all to be included for protection from the National Park Service. In fact later the eastern states with their many historic sites such as battlefields and war memorials became an even larger area under protection from the National Park service.

The National park Service has sustained continual growth and expansion over the past few decades. Presidents agreed to the importance of protecting the American heritage and supported laws even including additional laws and clauses. The National Park service protects living history and educational opportunities as a legacy and shall continue to care and protect the environment for many decades to come by order of their mission statement. To “Conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Auckland’s Religious Legacy in Neo-Gothic Splendour at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral

Parnell is Auckland’s premier suburb and also its oldest. Commanding an impressive position on an elevated ground looking over the city and the charming port, Parnell is known for its scenic ocean vistas and its religious institutions. Home to several Church of England establishments, its core charities, the Diocesan Library and the residence of the Bishop, the picturesque hamlet is also home to a number of breathtaking churches of historic significance.

These include a number of Presbyterian and Wesleyan churches, St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Chapel and of course the neo-gothic wonder that is St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral. Reputed as the first church to have been built in the city of Parnell, the wooden structure is also renowned as one of the largest of its kind in the globe. Beautifully executed according to the design of B.W Mountfort, the church has a decidedly neo-gothic air about its form and architecture. Built in 1863, the church dominates its landscapes even today due to its iconic bell chimes and imposing facade. Having been relocated from its position on the other side of the road, St. Mary’s was moved to its current position next to the Selwyn Court and the New Holy Trinity Cathedral in 1982.

Devoted to St. Mary, this ancient religious institution has stood the test of time, remaining a focal point of the town’s many attractions and its community’s consciousness. With Venerable Archdeacon Kissling serving as its first incumbent, the church went through extensive renovations which included enlargements of its already monumental size under the care of its later incumbent Venerable Archdeacon Maunsell. Nearly 159 feet in length with a 32 foot broad nave, the church is approximately 48 feet in height from floor to summit. Complete with captivating screens and a pulpit contributed by Parnell resident M. J. Gay the two aisles within the church are 12.5 feet each.

Leave A Legacy – Post-Olympic Thoughts

The Olympics is over but what is the legacy of it that will be left behind? This was the big question in the initial planning and it seemed was the trite justification being trotted out when questions were being raised about vast sums of money going to fund such an event. Now, I’m not knocking the Games at all – I thought it was terrific to see such a variety of sport and for the first time ever became engrossed by the four-yearly spectacle. I do wonder though whether all the money spent will make any difference to the average British person.

Having said all that, what is legacy all about? Is it simply about the infrastructure and opportunities available to us in the future or is it related to how we have changed? One commentator suggested that maybe the legacy of the games would be that people now acknowledge the value of persistent and sustained encouragement and will put that into practice on a more local level, supporting those around them. Having watched the athletes do amazing things, they may also urge one another to be more self-sufficient and call on reserves of inner strength in order to achieve, even at a moderate level. “If Tom Daley or Ben Ainslie can put initial set backs behind them then surely we can too.”

As a coach committed to people developing their potential, overcoming obstacles, becoming who they want to be and achieving their goals, I can only agree with these as being worthy outcomes from this major event. If people take up more sport in the next months and years then that would be great. However, if they develop and grow personally, then they will be the ones leaving the legacy for the people that come after them.

There has been, and I’m sure will continue to be, much talk in the media about the legacy of the Olympics; for Boris, for the monarchy, for the east end of London, for the nation. I am primarily interested though in what your legacy will be. It might be related to your sporting achievements or not. What great things will you leave behind you? For me there are three questions to look at:

  • What mark will you leave behind?
  • Who will benefit from it?
  • What are the foundations to lay and how is the building progressing?

What mark will you leave behind?

Often legacy is a word that is synonymous with money and possessions – it is that which is apportioned by the due legal process of will reading. This though is to constrain it as a word and an idea to the merely tangible.

Now, your legacy might well be stored in physical things. Buildings and monuments can well be a legacy left to your family, town or country; much like the Olympic stadium, it may be used for generations to come. This is especially true it seems in a country like Germany where the tradition of building a house and then passing it on to your children is stronger than in the UK.

Money

Maybe you will leave a whole pile of money behind when you are gone which might prove to be a legacy for people known to you or others further afield. Certainly the value of this legacy will not lie in the amount but in what it is spent on. Take for example someone like Bill Gates who has used some of his vast fortune to set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which, according to their website, aims to “help all people lead healthy, productive lives”. Consequently, money is spent, in the USA and further afield on mainly health-related programmes, such as Rotary International’s polio eradication scheme.

Buildings

Possibly your legacy will be a public building, maybe even named in your honour. I was hearing this week about ‘Clare Short schools’ in Malawi – the MP and Minister for International Development was responsible for arranging funding for building them and so she is remembered.

Ideas

You could leave behind an invention or idea that transforms life for people. Another Rotary International example springs to mind of Tom Henderson from Cornwall who created ShelterBox, a project providing crates for families in disaster areas that contains what they need for temporary rehousing when everything else has gone. Read all about it at http://www.shelterbox.org

Organisations

Could your legacy be an organisation or association that you have started, like Robert Baden-Powell did? I work with a sailing organisation that works with around 50 young people every year. After running for 65 years, it has impacted a lot of young people even though the original founder is now dead.

At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter what it is that you leave behind assuming you have done it from a sound value-basis and you, or others after you, finish what you started. What you don’t want is to build another McCaig’s Folly or similar bricks and mortar carbuncle to adorn our landscape that no longer has much function other than to remind us of the builder and their pride – I certainly don’t know much else about the aforementioned Oban resident.

10 Business Building Lessons – From My Dad’s Legacy

My knowledge on property construction and management comes from my late father (Elimon Tagwireyi Mapuranga) who was a handyman, an architect and construction manager. My father had not been to university but he single handedly built most of the classrooms and dormitories at the school that his own children attended High School. Of his twenty four children, only one son (David) caught the vision of construction and vocational work and to this day, even with no formal education on construction, David built has his own house in South Africa. I am among the twenty three who became more inclined towards academics. However, as I observed my dad doing his work, even as he built all the houses in my rural homestead, I noticed in greater detail how property management is as important as its construction detail. The advice I received, directly and indirectly is valuable for both a home owner and even one who is renting another person’s property. The goal of property management is to ensure the asset you have keep appreciating in value.

1. Build you property with the future in mind – I have watched how the structures my dad put together over thirty years ago still stand strong to this day. He would tell me the amount of cement and other input that would go into the construction process without compromise. I have watched house that have developed major cracks or where walls have actually come down owing to shortcuts by builders. If you are building a temporary shelter then you are exempt from investing in building strong and lasting buildings. If you are going to have someone else build for you then ensure that all the material you provide is used on the building.

Lesson – Businesses are not built just to meet today’s need but with generations in mind. Pay attention to all the critical elements of business and not “cut corners”.

2. Build according to the plan – every meaningful structure or building has to have a plan. A builder who sets out to build from him/her head is not only dangerous to those who will occupy the building but he/she will always be frustrated by what he/she comes up with. A plan must make sense and it must certainly answer beyond doubt any questions the owner of the house has. Based on the purpose of the building, an architect is able to emphasize parts of the structure that define the purpose of the building. My dad had plans of each dormitory and classroom block. This is how he managed to make them identical. He made simplified diagrams that any builder could interpret. He would say “Son, I know I may not have attained the highest level of education but I appreciate the importance of having a plan. No plan, no building”.

Lesson – A business is as strong as the business plan. If it does not make sense on paper, it may not be worth pursuing.

3. The Finishing touches are as crucial as the super structure – It is quite sad that sometimes a lot of investment is put into the super structure, the main pillars, foundation etc such that when the building is complete, there is not enough energy to “touch up” the building and make it look good. Wrong choice of paint, wrong quality of flooring, a shoddy quality of plastering are all reasons why one building would outshine the other even with the design being identical. My dad always emphasized that whilst the start was important, it is the finish that bring a “wow” effect hence the importance of that detail.

Lesson – the things that look insignificant in business are as crucial as the overtly big things. The color scheme of your logo may seem insignificant but it affects a whole lot more than you think.

4. Property Management is about managing risks – Buildings require safeguards from vandalism (theft), flooding and fire. When the building is put together, the thoughts which should be processed and questions seeking answers are “what is the worst thing that could ever bring the building’s value down? What are the major threats to the building’s value?” I noticed with great interest how my dad always emphasized that every building carry a fire extinguisher, drainage around each building was meticulously put in place to reduce the risk of flooding, To reduce the risk of thefts, every window had burglar bars. The building was put in place with the knowledge that the contents were at risk from intruders right from the onset.

Lesson – Building a business also entails managing the risk of losing it. You should always look at the threats that seek to decimate life out of your business and build the relevant safeguards. It is risky to be in business but there are rewards if one can only step out and do.

5. The garden makes the property even more valuable – My dad always emphasized the fact that the buildings were supposed to leave enough space for proper gardening and landscaping where water features and other garden enhancements would be put. He didn’t use to do the landscaping himself but he has an appreciation of it. Whenever I now look at a building, I don’t stop on observing the walls and roof strength; I am now cognizant of the way the garden is looked after. When you have neighbors’ who throw trash in the garden and leaving grass to grow tall, this actually affects the value of your properties around. When all neighbors look after their gardens including the area that people can see from outside, value is added to the houses.

Lesson – The seemingly small things in business do matter. Your business is probably not known for the big things it does but for the small things you do not do well

6. The way to build the first model is very important to your expansion – Each building is different in the sense that you encounter different soils, different obstacles, different slopes etc. When you are building a series of buildings which are identical, you use lessons from your first building as you duplicate or propagate the buildings. You will know what to avoid. It will actually get better as you build more similar buildings. As the contractor, you have to develop a learning culture such that experiences from one site are recorded as learning points for future projects. All the successes and even failures should be recorded to make the history of building. You will be able to tell a “before” and “after” on the sites you have built.

Lesson – How you build your first business has a bearing on your branch network. Your first project therefore becomes pilot project showing you how identical each of the new branches will be to the prototype created.

7. Consider safety and waste management of each building – The reason shelter is created is for the safety of the occupants. With each brick being laid, the builder must be focusing on the safety of the workers and of the ones to occupy the house in the future. Each building must have a sewerage management system as well as water and other sanitation issues hence it addresses hygiene and health issues as well. Each building has ablution facilities and bathing facilities.

Lesson – You cannot ignore the Safety, Health and Environment issues of your business. In what way is your business taking care of it employees’ welfare in this regard as well as that of the beneficiaries (your customers).

8. Make the best building within the budget given – My dad would tell me of the fact that sometimes he would be asked to stretch himself in as far as making excellent buildings even under budgetary constraints and challenges. His approach was to find means and ways of achieving excellence while managing the capital employed by the school effectively. In some instances I remember him having to use a strategy of focusing on one building a time than spread himself too thinly. He would find it hard to run the construction of 4 similar projects at the same time but considered running them in succession.

Lesson – Your excellence in building your business must not be compromised by the capital at hand. Managing costs does not entail compromising on the crucial matters of the business. You can be excellent without over spending. A firm grip on finances is important. Build one branch at a time following the pattern and lessons from the main building.

9. Maintain the buildings as appreciating asset – One thing my dad would do is maintenance of each of the structures that were there. Sometimes it meant bringing a fresh look with another coat of paint. In other instances he would take out pipes that were rusty and put new ones, he would attend to leaking tapes, blocked sewer pipes just to mention a few. The goal was to ensure that each building he had made was always looking new, fresh and valuable. The gardeners would bring different kinds of new flowers to decorate the exterior part of the building. Inside each building all broken glass would be replaced and old doors would be removed and replaced with new ones. You could always feel the school had a fresh valuable look and feel making it exciting and a marvel for parents who sent their children to receive education from there.

Lesson – Your business image is important; you must always re-look at the things that need maintenance or total removal from your business to keep it looking valuable to investors and customers. Your fresh paint can be re-branding which is necessary from time to time to ensure that you appeal to the market as an appreciating, more focused business.

10. Building efficiency relies on the construction procedures and systems – Every process that my dad’s team was following was documented. From the proportions of cement to sand for the mortar to painting guidelines. He had a construction booklet, written in not so complicated steps but something that was easy for his team to follow. My dad’s literacy was up to “Standard 3” which was almost primary school level and yet he could create and document systems centered on construction and property care. His thinking was that it would be easier to induct a new builder if the systems were in place.

Lesson – A business is as strong as the systems and procedures it creates and relies on.