Recently I was in Washington, DC, to facilitate a meeting with the National Park Service Partnership Office. The day-long meeting assisted the office with its goals for the next several years. The meeting allowed me to work with our executive director, Steve Wolter, and to help lead Eppley's specially designed facilitation program. It was also a great chance for Eppley to work with Deputy Director Mickey Fearn and Assistant Director Rich Weideman.
The meeting went well. All the participants offered substantive comments and suggestions that were discussed by the larger group. At the end of the day, we got enough information to compile a long list of actions that the NPS can pursue over the next two to four years. It looks like Eppley will continue to work with the Partnership Office throughout the next year. We are planning another meeting, tentatively set for early February, to help carry out changes and move the office in the right direction.
The meeting, luckily for me, coincided with the lighting of the national Christmas tree on the National Mall. The lighting is always in the news, but there are some details about the tree that I did not know. First, it is surrounded by several toy trains that run constantly. It's a nice touch that reminds me of my aunt and uncle's house. Second, the national tree is surrounded by pine trees from every US state and territory. Each tree features ornaments decorated with representative images of its state.
The national tree is also placed with a great sightline to the White House. I have seen the White House several times, and took a tour when I was a kid. However, I had never seen the White House decorated for Christmas, and so the wreaths and lights made this visit something special.