After a year and a half of construction, the new administrative office at the park headquarters is ready and in use. Centrally located between the Restaurant and Visitor Center, the office provides space for our team to work and gather. Until we finish the Visitor Center next year, the Office also serves as the first stop for visitors to the park, where they can chat with secretary Joan Calaf and learn more about the project. Below, an interview with Joan about her life as much-needed support for the whole park project!
Q. How long have you worked for Conservacion Patagonica?
A. I’ve been working here for almost four years. I started in 2008 and stayed on for two years. Then, for personal reasons, I went back to my home in La Serena. At that time, the office was where the restaurant is now. I returned in March of 2012; at that point, the office was housed in what used to be the “Casa Principal” (The Main House) of the estancia. The office was in the living room and had a cozy chimney and I had my desk, the same one I’ve had up until we changed [offices] a few weeks ago.
Q. What are your duties as secretary?
A. My duties as secretary are varied, but lie principally in Human Resources. I work closely with all of the workers from the point that they first arrive: welcoming them, working out their contracts, dealing with permissions, vacations, working on salary statistics every month, paying their salaries, and any kind of solicitation, doubt or coordination, all of which is guided by my supervisors. Also, I’m in constant contact with the Puerto Varas office of “Conservación Patagónica Chile S.A.,” which helps us as well. At the same time, I welcome all those who come to the park: visitors, tourists, volunteers, and passing travelers that come across the project. I give them information that they need in order to continue their travels or to get to know the place, let them know what we’re creating and give them informative materials. Many times, I end up chatting with them about the wonderful experience I’ve had with my eleven year old son, Diego, who’s grown up here in the Park. These are all things that they find interesting and like to hear about.
Q. Can you tell us about the architecture/design of the center?
A. The new office follows the same aesthetic as all the constructions here in the Park, architecture that is both beautiful and cozy with predominately wood interiors and stone facades which we obtain from a rock quarry. These constructions are very well-insulated to optimize heating, in this case with a wood furnace, radiator systems and warm floors, all of which makes it very nice to work here.
Little by little the Park is taking shape, which means that everything is in order and the construction follows a similar aesthetic. When people arrive, many are interested in finding out more about our installations. Now, when they arrive [to the new office], they’ll be able to understand the rest [the other buildings] right away.
Q. What is your favorite part of the new office?
A. When I arrive every morning, I immediately feel the difference in temperature, which is really nice! I also like having a lot of space and a place to have all of the documents I work with organized. [The office] is very pretty and comfortable; through the windows you can see the entire place. Although it’s large, here we’re closer and in better communication with those that we work with.
Q. What does the office offer visitors?
A. Apart from a warm welcome, we can offer orientation, information, Park brochures, and maps for some of the hikes we have. We also have various books that can provide information on other parks such as “Monte León” and “Corcovado” and a recent publication, Carretera Austral, all of which will provide information and help you to better understand the beautiful work here.