10 August 2022

Working on Capitol Hill

Written by: Anahi Pena-Neri

Hello everyone, my name is Anahi Pena and I am a Tourism, Interpretation, and Landscape Architecture Resource Assistant for the U.S. Forest Service.

I'm located at the Forest Service headquarters in Washington, DC on a hybrid work schedule. Working at the Washington office has been a really unique and exciting experience. As a political science major graduate, being at the Washington office at such an early time in my career, is like a dream come true. I have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a diverse and super talented group of individuals on really important projects. Even though I am working under two supervisors and they assign me projects, I am highly encouraged to reach out to other directors or managers and assist them with anything that interests me. 

I am currently working on a few projects including managing a SharePoint Site, continuing development of the Forest Service Explorer App, managing the official database for all of the departments activities, and furthering the development of the new National Recreation strategy. Through these projects I have been able to work with likeminded individuals who only want the best for our national forests and the public. I find myself really happy knowing that everyone I work with is just as much of a tree hugger as me. On the off hand, I have taken the time to write an article about some very unique work being done in the Forest Service's first Region. The article focuses on a revitalization group that works around the country restoring historic structures in the national forests. This article will be featured in the internal Forest Service newsletter, but it's also available to the public. I'm really excited about it as it'll be my first time writing a public article! I am also assisting one of my supervisors with some very impactful research. She is currently pushing the importance of Visitor Centers in our national forests as they have not taken precedent over the past couple of years. With this, I am gathering statistics and information on how impactful visitor service centers are on increasing diversity and inclusion. Anytime an individual needs assistance or guidance in a national forest, a service center is there to help in any way. These centers usually makes people feel welcome and accepted and in turn brings more people outdoors. This is the type of work I focus on with my supervisors, big picture thinking. How does the Forest Service need to operate at a national level in order to function better at the local level?

My first month has been a heavy learning month and I am just now getting started on projects. I'm really excited to see where this position takes me and I'll keep everyone updated with my work!! Thank you for reading.

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: Washington Office Region 1

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