Last winter I searched the local National Parks for volunteer opportunities. Being an avid National Park camper and hiker, the thought of volunteering at one was a dream. Fortunately, just about an hour away, Stones River National Battlefield has an outstanding volunteer program. Scrolling through the listings I found “photographer” and about jumped for joy. I contacted the park, took some required online classes, got my uniform, and started shooting.

One year later, I’m remembering the days I’ve lingered there with camera in hand. I can’t express how fun it is to slither along the ground on my belly to shoot bike riders on the trails, or river side trying to capture floating leaves. It’s wonderfully fulfilling to pursue and capture shots in not only natural surroundings, but at a park with historical significance as well. Civil War era reenactments provide so much photographic interest. Finally, to be honest, it’s also just darn nice to do something I love, without interruptions.

Through the past year I gained a better appreciation for the Civil War, the land and river where the battle was fought, the cemetery, and the people who continually share its stories. I’m ever so appreciative for Stones River’s rangers and volunteers who work daily to keep that history and land alive for all passersby. I am delighted to share the stories through photography.

Check out Stones River National Battlefield for hiking, bike riding (they even have ranger led bike tours!), reenactments, and a peaceful, tidy cemetery walk. Follow them on Facebook and/or Instagram you might catch a photo or two of mine. If you get a chance to visit, give Ranger Jim a high five for his encouraging volunteer program too.

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