July 31, 2011
National Leadership Council of the National Park Service Visits San Diego via HPWREN
By Susan Teel, Director, Southern California Research Learning Center, National Park Service
On a sunny February morning, from the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean,
Tom Workman, Superintendent at Cabrillo National Monument, welcomes members
of the National Park Service (NPS) National Leadership Council (NLC) to San
Superintendent Tom Workman, Cabrillo National Monument
and Susan Teel, National Park Service, host a Sea to Shining Sea LIVE
demonstration for the National Leadership Council.
The National Leadership Council (NLC) in a computer
the University of Maryland takes a LIVE tour of Cabrillo National
The NLC is composed of the NPS Director, Chief of Staff, Deputy
Associate Directors, Regional Directors, and other Washington Office
staff which consult on major policy and program issues important to the NPS.
Susan Teel, Director of the Southern California Research Learning Center,
led the NLC members on a whirlwind Live Interactive Virtual Explorations
(LIVE) tour of the park, which included a quick dunk underwater in the tide
pools to search for sea critters. Within moments, the group was
experiencing the sights and sounds of waves crashing against the rock
cliffs adjoining the tidepools. Pablo Bryant, San Diego State University, plunged the "camera on
a stick" underwater and swished it around a tidepool for a few seconds
then Nick de Roulhac, NPS, switched the video feed to views from the
remotely operated vehicle (ROV) sitting on the rock cliffs.
A video "camera on a stick" was submerged to
provide underwater views of the tidepools and a Remotely Operated Vehicle
(ROV) was placed on top of the rocks were waves crashed all around. Pablo
Bryant braved the surf and operated both cameras.
After a minute immersed in high energy surf, the members of the NLC were
transported back to the bluff above the tidepools to "bump into" 16th
century Spanish explorers with weapons ready, arriving on shore. The last
segment of the Sea to Shining Sea broadcast was a sampling of the living
history program regularly offered by Cabrillo National Monument staff
Robert Munson and Tavio del Rio. Behind the scenes, Jim Hale, High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network staff, set up
and provided technical expertise to ensure flawless LIVE broadcasts and
Rick Jenkins, NPS, coordinated staff and equipment.
The SCRLC, HPWREN, and CABR staff worked with Computer Science faculty at
the University of Maryland (UMD) to conduct a series of four short LIVE
tours for the National Leadership Council (NLC). The NLC is composed of the
Director, Chief of Staff, Deputy Directors, Associate Directors, Regional
Directors, and other Washington Office staff which consult on major policy
and program issues important to the National Park Service.
After each LIVE tour, members of the NLC peppered Tom and Susan with many
inquiries about LIVE including what software is used, what equipment is
used, the cost of equipment, and how transportable the LIVE system is to
An inexpensive backpack system ($700), developed by the High Performance
Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN), allows park interpreters
and scientists to easily move about in the field while broadcasting LIVE
distance education programs. The instruction manual can be found at:
http://seatoshiningsea.org/news.html. The video conferencing software used was
Skype which is free, however Jon Jarvis suggested that the team try using
WebEx, as it is approved for use over the NPS network.